Thursday, June 19, 2014


Vulnerability: allowing ourselves to be hurt. The word comes from the Latin able to be wounded. In the bridge card game, the situation of vulnerability gives one the chance to make more points or increase the chances of being penalized. When we continue to wear  armor that prevents us from being hurt, we seem to be at peace, but possibly we are missing the opportunities to grow and be more human.

A priest in the Catholic Digest writes about an experience he had while in the army. He was responsible for the store at the shooting range, and  for the goods bought and sold. One of the biggest sellers in the army stores is usually raw rice wine. It was the custom to add water to the wine which increased the profits of the store and selling wine with less alcohol  was good for those who  bought the wine. However, his conscience would not allow him to do it. Actually, it was not a big item in his unit for outside the army base, there were all kinds of wine shops. He sold matches to take care of the losses he incurred.

One of the soldiers in his company always seemed to be out of money, whether he had accidents that he was paying off he didn't know, but he would pester him to  sell on credit. He had a serious exterior appearance, although he had been in the army for some time, rank was low, he was a loner and not one to go out to others. In order to avoid confrontation the writer would just laugh. The soldier would get angry, but in time the anger would cool, and he would withdraw.

One evening the soldier came into the store asking for credit, and he responded with his customary forced laughter. The soldier continued pestering him and finally with his fist hit the table and yelled: I am down in the dumps and all you do is laugh, and he began crying. The writer mentions how surprised he was and began to apologize, and they began a deep conversation. The soldier felt so shunned and empty that he was looking for a fight with anyone who would  break the loneliness he felt. He wasn't able to find anybody. His outrageous behavior was to engage another person, and he was greeted only with laughter, which made matters worse, and he continued to cry.

Dealing with the soldier in the way he did he felt great shame and sorrow. In the future when he came the laugh was from the heart. They  came to be good friends. His serious demeanor also was appreciated as his dignity. He was transferred to another army base, and the writer found the address and continued corresponding with him. Even after discharged from the army the friend visited him.He concludes the article telling the readers he doesn't know what happened to him, but in his heart, he remains a friend.  

This experience the priest had during his army days would remain with him and the lesson that we all know so well, when we take time to reflect, not all is what appears on the surface. If we had the patience and good will to see other possibilities than those, we are programed to see, we would be better for it, and be an instrument for peace and reconciliation.

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