top of page

Shaking hands with my weaknesses; and why it's so necessary during a pandemic.

For the last month or so, the concept of vulnerability has been pulling at my heart, or rather, what it means to embrace vulnerability in the midst of chaos, a broken nation, and a year that plenty of us wish we could leave at the curb. Collectively, I believe that the entire world is experiencing a merging of inward-focused energy. The idea of being forced to rest, reflect, and worst of all, wait for the next season to finally reveal itself from the ethers is akin to torture for those of us that have grown far too used to the fast-paced, technologically driven planet that we were born into.

At least, it has been for me.

Of course, there have been silver-linings along the way; time spent with my husband, animals, family and friends… But being shooed away from the library, my haven, for over eight months has been tough for this writer. Don’t get me wrong; I love my office, but even my safe space is beginning to lose its appeal after having spent nearly three quarters of this year confined to it. The paintings on the walls have become a sort of prison for me, reminding me that the deadlines I’d wanted to reach this year have not been met and the plans I’d once so looked forward to are simply visions of a future that never even occurred. (Disclaimer— I do not desire anyones’ pity. I encourage the reader to always filter my words with the same sort of dark and twisted sense of humor that I tend to lace into just about every aspect of my life).

What makes my own understanding of this year even more overwhelming is the concept that every person on earth has experienced the same sort of frustration that I have; in some way or another. (I don’t wish to diminish the pain of those who have lost someone, and if you have, I’m so sorry for your loss).

Still, I feel encouraged to know that despite differences of political viewpoints, religion, background, race and circumstance, that we all have and will continue to remain connected in some way. As individuals, we all share in the struggle of releasing expectations we had for this year. With breath held, we wait with great anticipation for the next phase to find us, and when the time comes, my great hope is that we all embrace the simple act of being able to shake a strangers’ hand and exchange a smile with an unmasked face.

Now: back to vulnerability.

Brené Brown… what a woman. Her Ted Talk on vulnerability has been a huge source of light and inspiration in my life, as well as in many others. Every time I find myself sinking back into the old habit of feeling sorry for myself or wallowing, I remind myself to “Get Back in the Arena.” It doesn’t matter if inspiration to fulfill my purpose finds me or not on any given day. The important thing is to sit myself in the chair, take up my pen (or rather, my keyboard), and get to work. Or, on days when I’m feeling particularly weak, I've turned to my little AHRTIST blog, to vent out my insecurities.

And somehow, the act of just releasing my fears and giving them away to even just one person that reads this, helps me overcome the fear itself. Like staring my doubt in the face, I choose to relinquish any power it has on me by simply acknowledging it, speaking about it, and using my greatest joy (and, greatest mortal enemy) of writing to squash the doubt beneath my boots.

In 2012, my parents gifted me a bible for my birthday. Having turned 21 that year, I was expecting a different sort of celebratory gift; possibly something involving alcohol. But my faith had really turned around that summer, and it was a faith I’d come to completely on my own volition. I looked for the Lord with all my heart, and he met me, shattered, on the floor of my childhood bedroom only days before I left for my senior year of college. The bible was bound with green leather. It was weighty and large. I wrote my name in the front of it, Mary Little, in my most beautiful cursive, and then blanked when the title page asked me to write down my favorite verse.

I was fresh to the concept of Christ. I didn’t have one.

With trepidation, I flipped to the New Testament, randomly picked a verse, and hoped it would resonate with me in some way.

2 Corinthians 12:9.

“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you. For My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s strength can rest upon me.”

I had no idea of the magnitude of that verse; what it actually means. It just sounded nice at the time. As the years have passed, the verse has given way to deeper and deeper understanding for me. Like a song I keep coming back to, this verse continues to reveal the magnitude of my own inequities, and yet, it also reveals the power that lingers behind them. I’ve learned that Jesus delights in my weakness, because he can do His best work through it.

I’m reminded of when an artist gets up to sing for a crowd of thousands, (or millions, if it’s being televised), and instead of blowing through the song with gusto, they crack. Or, they cave to the emotion of the song and cry. What usually follows?


The heart of humanity responds favorably to weakness. When revealed authentically, vulnerability sings volumes louder than even the most powerful voice in the world.

I once genuinely believed that blogging would be a place to boast of my artistic endeavors. Consequently, it’s become the exact opposite; a place to mourn and grieve, a place I come to when I need to remind myself of what really matters.

Vulnerability matters. Connection matters.

The matters of the heart matter.

Which is why I keep picking up my pen day after day, month after month, year after year. I hope that you too, dear reader, pick up your purpose and run with it, despite circumstance, despite doubt, despite business closures and even pandemics.

You’re not alone.


bottom of page