|The red sculpture is constructed of |
324 bistro chairs and on display
to commemorate 125 years since
the Eiffel Tower was built,
June 24, 1889.
The folding bistro chair is also
125 years old.
Events like these remind me we’re all extremely vulnerable. Logically I knew growing up that accidents, illness, and tragedy happen, but I don’t think I truly absorbed that knowledge until it touched me or people I related to personally. My first jarring lesson was one day before my 17th birthday when I was in a head on car collision with combined impact exceeding 110 miles per hour. That accident was through no fault of our car or driver. The next lesson was my mother’s sudden death in a plane crash when I was 23. The NTSB found the probable cause of the crash to be an in-flight fire for an undetermined reason. The Columbine shooting was the first national event that personally rocked my security. Most of my youth I lived a few miles from the school, and my youngest sister was attending a neighboring high school at the time of the massacre. And then the terrorist attacks of 911 stunned us all. I didn’t know anyone who was personally harmed or lost a family member, but my heart ached for each individual affected. At the age of 38 my MS diagnosis shattered my belief that my healthy lifestyle protected me from disease. No longer did I just understand that death and injury could happen to anyone, I learned firsthand that we can do everything right but health is sometimes still beyond our control.
The attacks in Paris bring these feelings to the surface again.
We’re all vulnerable. I’ve learned any amount of safety I feel is an illusion, and feeling safe allows me to go about my life with confidence. However, there’s a strength I feel in accepting my vulnerability. I don’t want to be hardened. Protecting myself shields me from possible pain, yet it prevents me from experiencing greater connection with people. Anyone taking advantage of weakness reveals their true colors, not inadequacies on my part.
I’ll never succeed if the game is hatred and judgment. I can only focus on my strengths and values. I can contribute to society in a positive way and live with sincerity and acceptance. I choose vulnerability.