Friday, December 11, 2015

Holding Space

Have you heard of the latest catch phrase 'holding space'?

A woman by the name of Heather Plett, describes it this way,

 "It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control."

I have been thinking about the past week.  It's actually been a really hard one.  Living the chronic life brings interesting dynamics with it.  When a crisis hits, as a mom, my initial response is somewhat manic.  I show up emotionally, suited up for a fight.  I'm ready to carry the emotions of the child, the emotions of me, the dynamics we find with doctors and nurses, whoever crosses our path, I'm on my 'A' game.   I manage a hundred different things at once.  I do what needs to be done.  There are rare moments when fear and anxiety break through the tough facade but that is fleeting and only happens when hours of wakefulness turns into days.

It's not until the crisis is over or at least being managed that I fall apart.  In a big way.  The gusty winds of worry subside to a mere breeze.  Adrenaline dilly dallies along the course of your veins and it is a foreign feeling to not be racing alongside it.  Nothing is really better but its not worse either. Sometimes, there is only reason to rejoice in a satisfying outcome.

Sam's Make a Wish Trip- Florida 2013.  Meeting Mickey

Without warning, a different worry seeps into the empty spaces, once filled with fight, and halts your life.  You are emotional, unkempt, messy, isolated, lonely and the list goes on.  You question everything- your purpose in life; the purpose of suffering.  You notice the moldy food collecting in the back of the fridge.  You realize you haven't entered a store in weeks.  You see the dust that settled quietly on every surface of the house.  You realize that time has escaped you. You feel aches and pains you never noticed before. You are tired, sad, angry and used up.  Sometimes, you are all of this at once.

Every time this scenario plays out, I am perplexed.

This time, I think I am understanding the meaning of this space; the empty places that whine for my attention.  For me, I feel like it is a tender mercy from God.  A time when he Holds Space for me to feel.  To feel grief; grief is an obstacle unless we work through it. To address things that I didn't have time to consider before.  To consider the most recent events, what I learned.  What I could do better the next time a trial strikes and without a doubt, I can feel the next one coming.  It's a time to evaluate the road I am on and how to make sense of it all.

I have found, that during this time, God is always quiet.  If I'm not careful, I can beset myself to being abandoned by Him but, He is quietly sitting beside me allowing all the feelings to bubble up no matter how ugly they may be.  He doesn't judge, He doesn't question, He doesn't take them away, He doesn't fix them, or me.  He lets it be.  He holds this space for me to gain some energy, find my footing of faith again.  He allows me to feel my lungs expanding in a deep breath I didn't experience for weeks as I stayed strong.  It's a time to be weak and okay with that.

Someday, I hope I feel okay with this part of the process.  It's one I'm never happy about.  The way my restless heart feels, is less than captivating.  For now, I am glad that God is one so good at holding a space for me to grow.

So, what's with the Mickey Mouse pictures?  As we headed out one morning to go to Universal Studios, we were told that Mickey was at Give Kids the World and having a private photo op with the kids.  Many wish kids and their families were lined up in this big auditorium for their moment on stage with Mickey.   While the kids got their picture taken by professional photographers and had 10 minutes to have fun with him, I stood at the back.  It was one of those moments when I was so overwhelmed to see my kids laughing.  Really laughing.  Like they didn't have a care in the world.  I realized how emotionally threadbare we had become.  I stood there in the dim lights just sobbing!   Somehow, Mickey noticed and motioned for me to come to him.  The organizers were trying to get the next family on stage but Mickey left the stage to come and get me. Everyone was confused.  He took my hand and walked me to the stage and there, in front of total strangers, held a space for me to fall into.  I have never cried so hard in my life.  It was completely unexpected and I just couldn't stop.  Many minutes passed before he let me go.  I will never forget that. It  hasn't happened to me since then.  As I walked back towards my kids, I looked around and not one parent had a dry eye.  It was a holy moment of holding space.



  1. You are such a beautiful writer. I love the concept of "holding space". What a beautiful gesture by Mickey.