The Power in Vulnerability

Judith Snow

We often think of human life as residing in individual bod ies. We think about each other as if I were a Thing and you were a Thing and we two Things interact now and then, all the while remaining separate entities. This is not a very powerful model for describing how our lives are sustained or how we in fact develop our capacity to contribute to each other and to our society at large.

I believe that it is more powerful to think about human life as if it were a thread floating between and connecting bodies -giving each body the capacity to be a person. Alone I am alive but not revealed or fulfilled. In relationship with one person I am able to become the qualities that the relationship allows for. For example in relationship with my mother I am enabled to be a child, a student, a loved one, a potential caregiver as she becomes older, and much more. When I come into relationship with two people I acquire the capacity to become more than twice of what I am with one person. The presence of both individuals to each other creates possibilities that don’t exist with each alone with me. For example my mother and my mother’s fnend each see me as a very different person, drawing different capaci ties from me. My mother and her friend together create their own new possibilities in the world and, connected with me, we create yet even more possibilities of me, more than either one does with me alone.