When one is feeling vulnerable, little things like a comforting bowl of homemade potato leek soup can be a tremendous comfort. But the thing about vulnerability is that even though it may make one feel exposed and a bit sensitive, it can also help to create more compassion not only towards ones self, but towards others as well, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Lately, I feel like a big walking ball of vulnerability.
The pores of my “skin” are wide open, taking in all of the color, flavor and texture that the world around me has to offer, allowing life to penetrate into the very center of me, shaking things up.
After having had a poignant “farewell” with our son fairly recently (you can read more on that here), and having had a little health scare with the furry little canine member of our family, Lola, shortly after that, (she’s perfectly fine now, thank goodness), I was left feeling a little foggy-headed, a little emotionally and physically drained, and quite vulnerable.
And even though I would never ask to be placed into positions or circumstances that would elicit a state of vulnerability, or the feeling of stress or of life being a bit too much, those moments come anyway, without being invited; and then they wonderfully break any hidden monotony in life and bring me into a state of present moment, or greater consciousness.
And that is always a good thing.
It seems that when I am most burdened, most weary, or feel the pressures of life bearing down on me most acutely, that is when I ultimately feel most alive; and it is then that I am kindly reminded, often in the stillness of the night, that all of it is an opportunity to practice this art of “faith”, and remember that I am loved by the One who made me.
I am reminded that I am alright, that I am capable, in each and every moment, no matter where I find myself on this road that is my life.
And the beauty of vulnerability is that it strengthens my empathy, creating in me a greater sensitivity to another’s fragility or soft spot; and this only strengthens the bond that is between me and another, because I understand what it feels like to be a little “out of sorts”, or, well…vulnerable.
And this is truly what life is all about.
It gives me a sense of unsure footing, yet also generously provides me with an opportunity to go deeper with life, to explore what is happening to me, and to embrace the notions of relinquishment and openness to the unknown.
And while the slight sting of vulnerability can gently be tempered by another’s kind words, or a hug or sweet kiss, or a lovingly prepared and soothingly-hot bowl of potato leek soup, or an open and real conversation—a prayer—with my Creator, its essence must be felt in order that the lessons that it brings with it can be tasted and experienced.
Vulnerability sharpens me, it keeps my eyes and ears open to what the world around me is whispering, to what God is whispering; it comes in and shows me the areas that I need to continue to work on, the areas that need some strengthening.
But it also comes in and gently pulls back the curtain on that softer, more tender part of myself, the part that needs a good cry every now and again (don’t we all?), and reminds me that I am not alone in my humanness.
We’re all together in this thing called vulnerability, as none of us are immune to it; but it’s when we embrace it that the magic happens, and we become better people.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Potato Leek Soup with Smoked Sausage
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4-6
• Avocado (or olive, or canola) oil
• 1 (14 ounce) package smoked Kielbasa (or smoked beef sausage), sliced into circles
• 3 leeks (white and pale green part only), rinsed and sliced thinly into semi-circles
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• Black pepper
• 4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced into small, bite-size pieces
• 6 cups chicken stock, hot
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
-Place a large soup pot over medium-high to high heat, and drizzle in about 1-2 tablespoons of oil; once the oil is very hot, add in the sliced smoked sausage, and leave it undisturbed for a couple of minutes, to allow for it to caramelize and get some good color; then stir, and allow to caramelize some more for several minutes.
-Once the sausage is browned, drizzle in a little more oil if the sausage is not too greasy, and add in the sliced leeks, and stir; it may seem like a lot of leeks, but they will cook way down as you allow them to also caramelize and get golden with the sausage, about 10 minutes, or so.
-Once the leeks are golden-brown, add in the garlic, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and stir just until the garlic becomes aromatic; then, add in the potatoes, along with the hot chicken stock, and bring to the boil.
-Reduce the heat, cover with lid just partly askew, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until your potatoes are tender.
-Finish with the lemon juice and the parsley, and serve with some good bread.