Instead Of Fixing, Offer Space To Share

I didn’t realize until I was the person who needed comforting how unhelpful and sometimes painful my own past comments were to my suffering friends and family.

There are many important and necessary conversations going on right now about how we talk to and talk about our fellow humans.  I’m thankful folks are learning that words are rarely (ever?) neutral.

They build up or tear down. 

And we are responsible for them.

I wish that along with other areas, we would consider how we discuss and address those who experience painful life circumstances.  But we rarely do.

This is one place where the right words can make such a difference.

Instead of shutting down the broken heart or lamenting soul, we can choose to invite them to share and then stick around to listen.

We can create safe spaces instead of closing the door to further conversation.

We can participate in healing instead of perpetuating the pain.


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The Importance of Silence: Holding Space so Hearts Can Speak

We do it all the time in the physical world-leave the shopping cart in line with the admonition to the person behind us to “hold our place” while we run to get that forgotten item.

We leave a gap for that minivan to pull in just where the construction cones narrow a highway from two lanes to one.

We open a door and step aside so the elderly lady with her hands full can manage to get through without dropping the load.

But most of us are not as good at it in relationships.

Read the rest here:  Holding Space

Grace and Space

It didn’t take long after Dominic’s leaving for life to ramp up and obligations to pour in. We had two graduations and a wedding within two months of his funeral.

Then there were thank-you notes to write, dishes to return and every day chores necessary to manage a home and family.

No escaping what must be done.

It took me a little while to realize that if I was going to survive this lifelong journey I had to make some changes in how and when I responded to requests to do something, be somewhere or participate in outside events.   Because no matter how worthy the request, there was only so much of me to go around and I was forced to spend nearly all my energy and time and effort on figuring out how this great wound was impacting me and my family.

I cannot overemphasize how much strength and energy is needed to do the work grief requires.

At first, turning down a request or asking someone to reschedule was relatively easy-the loss was fresh in their minds and they were gracious and understanding.  As the weeks and months and now YEARS have passed, it is harder.  Not always because they don’t understand but because I sometimes hold myself to an untenable standard that says I should be better by now.   I should be able to do all that I could once do.  I shouldn’t be so sensitive to the date on the calendar or the place we might meet for lunch or the rainy weather that brings my mood down.

But I’m not able to ignore all those things and sometimes I just can’t do what someone else would like me to be able to do.

So I keep repeating the mantra, “grace and space” to myself.

I need grace-from my own heart FOR my own heart– I must cut myself the slack I would be happy to extend to others.

I need grace from friends and family. I cannot help you understand exactly what it’s like to be me.  You can never know all the ways I ache for the life I had before Dominic ran ahead to heaven.  You could never imagine all the daily pinpricks my soul must suffer as I walk in this world and am reminded of what I’ve lost.

So you will have to take it on faith when I say, “I just can’t do that”.

I need space.

I need space between me and the noise of the world and the shouting urgency of “to do” lists and project deadlines.  So much of the work I must do is silent, solitary work. It takes hours and hours of thinking, talking to God, reading Scripture, journaling and just being alone to sort this all out.

I’m not rejecting YOU-I’m trying to preserve ME.

It isn’t selfishness, it’s love for my family.  I refuse to add to their burden by running myself into the ground.  I won’t choose to make life harder for them by creating an unecessary crisis.

I don’t know when I might (or IF I might) return to the busy bee I once was.  Right now I can’t even imagine it.

I think I will need grace and space for a very, very long time.

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