In sitting with some folk over the past few days I was reminded again and again of the need to listen carefully and to leave space for those things that for whatever reason cannot be shared in that moment… I’ve come to call this ‘holding space’.
Sometimes it is a challenge to hold space… a challenge because the person I am with looks to me with the expectation that comes with the role: you’re the minister you must have the answer… At other times my own ‘stuff’ has me wanting to make a connection or offer advice… And at still other times the silence is simply uncomfortable and I want to ‘fill the silence’.
I invite you to join me in the practice of ‘holding space’ for those we are in conversation with. Listen. Listen some more. Ask questions that are open ended and invite the other person to reflect or share more of the story. Don’t rush to fill the silence. Seek to see the other person as a beloved one of God. Attend to your own feelings… and remember, we are not called to fix one another – but rather to walk with one another in faith and hope – and there, in that space God is present!
Yesterday involved me doing a lot of nothing… Today was spent in the office, followed by visits to the local hospital and a couple of home visits and a General Council webinar this evening. Tomorrow (Wednesday) I will be in Moncton to the hospital in the morning and a meeting in the afternoon. Thursday morning will be spent responding an emerging need in the Presbytery in my role a Chair of the Pastoral Relations Committee followed by a couple of pastoral visits. Friday and Saturday will be days off and on Saturday I’ll be over to PEI with family to celebrate my dad’s birthday! Thanks to Jennie for leading our Summer Sunday Gathering on July 8th.
Looking Even Further Ahead
From July 9th – 15th I will be enjoying a period of vacation, but I will be available to respond to any emergencies. From July 16th – 18th I will be working from the office and home preparing for General Council. On July 19th I will leave for Oshawa, ON where I will attend the 43rdGeneral Council. I expect to be back in the office on July 30th and will spend the week working from the office and home doing planning for the fall. On August 6th I will begin another period of vacation and again, will be be available to respond to emergencies.