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By Christian Schwab

Vulnerability is hard.  It leaves you naked and exposed.  It destroys every front you have ever put up and uncovers all the masks you have ever put on.  The process is excruciating.  However, the discomfort is worth the reward.  The reward of the overwhelming support that backs you up.  That is if the vulnerability is expressed in the right context with trustworthy and gracious people.  Then, at that moment, the anxiety that was once present in your soul has now been overcome and replaced with an overwhelming sense of peace. 

So, this weekend all of the Denver Urban Semester (DUS) students went on a retreat to Winter Park, CO.  The purpose of the retreat was, yes, to refresh our souls from the busyness of the summer and our internships, but more than that, it was to take us on a “7 story” journey. Each of us would tell our life story beginning with our birth narrative and ending with our calling and an encouraging word or phrase from others in the group.  Each session besides the first one, we would share two of the seven stories.  Saturday night was a difficult session.  The two stories in that session were entitled “Arrows” and “Shadows”.  Arrows dealt with difficult things that happened to you.  Not to be mistaken by something that you had done, but rather a bad hand that you had been dealt.  The shadows are the effects of that arrow and how you handle the pain from that situation or an unrelated one.  Needless to say, it was a hard night where many tears were shed.  It opened up a new side of people that had not been discovered by many of us until that night.  Even though it was a heart wrenching night, it was necessary.  Necessary because now we are able to be so much more gracious towards each other because we know a more intimate part of each other that we did not know before.  This graciousness allows us to be more patient and understanding towards one another.  Allows us be more self-less and less sensitive, not taking offense to things because we know there is a past history.  Thanks to that night, we were forced to expose ourselves, which might not have happened otherwise because vulnerability is hard.      


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