The strength of vulnerability

I have a virus. I won’t share the symptoms. It is never helpful to place blame, but a sick two-year-old who loves to curl up with a good book may have asked me to read.


I’m excited to share that Family Promise of Juneau has reached seven months of serving families without housing. Three families have “graduated” from the program. Volunteers have provided more than 1,000 bed nights and more than 3,000 meals. We currently have 18 congregations and community organizations (and room for more) that support the program in a wide variety of ways: opening their buildings to take turns hosting families; providing meals; assisting at the day center; driving the Family Promise van; and most importantly, opening their hearts and ears to listen to stories and build relationships with love and compassion.

These seven months have been no small undertaking. While I know the child without stable housing is far more vulnerable than our volunteers, many of us have felt the sense of emotional and physical exposure that serving with Family Promise can bring. It is my faith that in this process something special happens; some of us would find it holy. When imperfect people with imperfect buildings share imperfect meals with imperfect guests we have the opportunity to be transformed into better versions of ourselves while participating in the healing of the world.

As I reflect on what has been accomplished in seven months, I know lives have changed, relationships have been built, and people have felt love and joy. Each of these is true for both volunteers and guests. I look forward to more of the same in the new year.

Despite my symptoms, I’ve decided I’m going to hug that two-year-old again, because as Brene Brown says, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

If you are interested in Family Promise of Juneau, you can check out our website Or call me at 500-3032. Thank you, Juneau!

• Shannon Fisher is the executive director of Family Promise of Juneau. “Living & Growing” is a recurring column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.


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