I am thinking of vulnerability today. I am thinking of how, in fact, the world and my own life interweave varied vulnerabilities. My greatest invulnerability now comes from my sense that things are astonishingly bad in general. Worse things may happen but wrapped in a cloak of relative hopelessness and misery one is not able to be suddenly very downcast.
It reminds one of the possible mercy in the sign Dante puts on the gates of Hell “Abandon All Hope You Who Enter Here”. CS Lewis wrote that if in fact Hell is the worst place in the Universe then more or less by definition it is a floor of mercy avoiding everlasting free-fall and a tourniquet that stops the bleeding of a wound it cannot heal. Wrath and Compassion joined in infinite intensity may be the Christian view of Hell.
I look around the world and my life and see a lot of hell. I remember decades of endless hell and yet of the vulnerability that hope brings. In recent decades I have learned to find some good moments with only trace amounts of the virtue or feeling of hope. There has been more joy, Faith and Love proportionate to hope in the good. But mostly there has been the assent to the creator of the Simpsons cartoons earlier strips point of view. When I was in college I read his strips depicting and describing life and school in hell and as with many people found a resonance there. The world has the war with Libya, the nuclear crisis in Japan, the thousands dead and a tiny hidden few likely still dying horribly and never to be known as still alive in Japan. The world has all manner of political conflicts and environmental problems and cultural conflicts.
However, for each of us we find the amount of hope we can stomach personally. For me that has been almost none for a very long time. Yet beyond hope I find I still have a few things to lose and so remain vulnerable.