Jennifer Garner crying on the Today show matters. Click on the link above if you haven't seen it! We cannot relate to an actress who makes millions of dollars and is on tour promoting her new film. We can relate to a small town southern girl who happens to be an actress. Who starts crying when she talks about her mama. Who is surprised by her tears and who fumbles awkwardly in the moment of, "Oh my word I am crying in front of people I don't know!" We get that person, because that person is me. That person is us. That is being human.
We aren't so different after all. In fact we are all so much alike at our core. Jennifer Garner reminded me of my humanity this morning. Her tearfulness reminded me of the power and bravery of vulnerability. The power of allowing ourselves to be seen. I love Brene Brown's quote on vulnerability: "Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It's tough to do that when we're terrified about what people might see or think."
During this interview on the Today show, Savannah's list of questions fell softly to her lap, and she entered into a real, authentic human exchange. She showed true delight in reaction to Garner's exposed heart. The exchange transformed itself from an interview to a visit between girlfriends. At that moment, the set could easily have been a front porch with two rocking chairs and a pitcher of sweet tea. Hollywood became small, and discussing relationship, family, story, and matters of the heart became the hot topic.
Garner showed us what is so lovely about a woman's heart; The perfect balance of delicacy and strength that embodies femininity. Being a woman is beautiful, and we desperately need to see more examples of real femininity in a world where women often suppress their authentic selves in efforts to even the playing field. We can have one without losing the other. We really can.
Tearing up is not a cue to rush to the ladies room, to hide, and to reapply eye make up. In her book, "A Million Little Ways," Emily Freeman talks about paying attention to what makes you cry and how that points us to our hearts' desires. Tearing up is an invitation to authenticity, allowing others to see what makes your heart, as Freeman puts it, "come alive," and giving yourself permission to be awakened to the God planted desires and hopes of your very soul.
Garner's weeping on the Today show matters, because seeing other women embrace true femininity and practice vulnerability in real life opens up the desire to experience it for ourselves. I had dessert and coffee with a dear friend of mine this evening. Time is lost on us each time we visit. As we sipped our coffee and nibbled on cake, we chatted about our joys and hopes as well as our deepest fears and pain. Because we gave ourselves permission to be vulnerable with each other, fears were exposed and courage was birthed.
Two women with different life stories left the dessert cafe this evening stronger than they were when they entered. All because, like Garner, they weren't afraid of being seen.