holding space

We’ve been through a lot.

I have, at various times in my life, experienced someone holding space for me—as I experienced tremendous sorrow or deep joy, when I was going through seasons of transition or times of confusion. Sometimes the one holding space has been a friend or family member, other times it has been someone I didn’t really know prior to that but who, for whatever reason, met me in that sacred moment. And it has been my honor and privilege to hold space for others in the course of my lifetime.  Each time it is like being on holy ground.

We’ve been through a lot, many of us, with the deaths of Don Lord, David Peterson, Norm Schweber and Kieta’s father, Larry Wheeler.  And there are several more parishioners who are gravely ill, including Carol McCullogh, Jim Prendergast, Sean Danaher and Gloria Hanson.  Some are long time parishioners, known to many, while others are relative newcomers. But are all part of the people of God here at St. Simon’s.  It happens that way, sometimes, that illness and death can come in waves, and it can be hard for a community to hold it all.

And yet, hold we do.  We make space for one another and hold one another up in love and care through the making of meals, the writing of notes, the lifting up in prayer, the reaching out with phone calls, with a liturgical celebration and the sitting at bedside.  Sometimes, my presence is the tangible manifestation of the community’s holding space, but very often it is the loving acts of many throughout our community who provide care for and help to support those who grieve and who are struggling.

At the end of her book, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, author and monastic Joan Chittister recounts the following story:

“…a preacher who ran through the streets of the city shouting, “We must put God into our lives. We must put God into our lives.”  And hearing him, an old monastic rose up to the city plaza to say, “No, sir, you are wrong. You see, God is already in our lives.  Our task is to recognize that.” 

God is already in the midst of our ordinary lives.  But sometimes life is too full or too challenging or painful to recognize it.  Holding space for one another awakens our consciousness to the truth of God’s presence here and now.  May we have the courage to hold space for one another and both be a blessing and be blessed at the same time.

Hope to see you Sunday!

Elizabeth Jameson