My spiritual director reminded me that my vulnerability will only grow as the disease progresses. She expressed the hope that the Eighth Day community could not only see the vulnerability but also see the richness and opportunity in it. It’s not exactly the biblical aphorism (“He who loses his life for my sake will find it”) since the Alzheimer’s is a natural phenomenon that I did not decide upon. But I am deciding to show my vulnerability and that is a conscious decision. In freely sharing my diagnosis, I am acknowledging it and baring my vulnerability before I would actually have to. If that turns into a positive experience for the community, we may be able to learn something about the sharing of our inner realities.
Acknowledging one’s own and others’ vulnerability is itself essential to community. Claims of human invulnerability are always lies that damage the possibility of truly human relationship. The hope is not only that the importance of vulnerability will become clearer as the disease progresses but also that we could begin to share that gift with one another. For that I would be very grateful.