The people in my life are bright and competent, certainly able to care for themselves. But my insistence on caring for them anyway hasn’t subsided. In fact, as I get older, it only seems to get more intense.
If I’m honest, my obsession with caring for others isn’t really altruistic. It’s a safeguard. There’s a certain amount of security that comes from being a caretaker, from being the kind of person that everyone can come to. Feeling needed is a kind of insurance.
If I relaxed my obsessive worrying over the people in my life, it would make space for them to care for me, to worry about me. To allow that would mean having faith that people would show up for me.
Vulnerability requires courage. It requires honesty. To be vulnerable means being strong enough to show another person all the places where you’re weak and trusting them to support you anyway, to care for you when you can’t care for yourself. It’s an assumption of grace.
This message is an excerpt from “On fish and fragility” by Abby Accettura in the December 2019 issue of Gather magazine. Today we remember Anselm, bishop of Canterbury, who died in 1109.