A Sacred Space
I’ve mentioned in these letters before the idea of being invited into the sacred space of people’s lives. Throughout so much of this job, I’ve found myself in these spaces of vulnerability, hurt, giving up, steps forward, hopefulness and hopelessness, and it is such a gift to be invited into those spaces.
Since Spring Break, I’ve been finding myself entering into the sacred space of grief with two young men. Honestly, for their sake, I wish it was a different vulnerable space- something easier than the unexpected loss of loved ones.
For one of these young guys, his dad unexpectedly went into the hospital before spring break with unknown health issues and never came out. Over the course of 4 weeks it went from the hospital to the funeral. Lord have mercy. The other young man lost both his parents to suicide over the span of 2 years. Lord have mercy. Both these boys are in grade 8 and already struggling to find their place in the world. What do I possibly have to offer someone experiencing this type of pain? The hurt is daunting and the reality is hard. While thinking about all this, I was reminded of this quote from Henri Nouwen in his book ‘The Wounded Healer’:
“One compassionate gaze or one affectionate handshake can substitute for years of friendship when a person is in agony.”
Thankfully, this is a starting point that I know well (and that any of us can begin with). One of these youth, I knew before so it’s been easier to connect and go for walks. The other was more of a set up with a school asking for help because this young guy hasn’t connected with any of their counsellors yet. But each of these guys need to know and trust me first. The former is the easy part - get to know each other, have some fun, ask some discerning questions, go for walks, play a game they love. One thing that they share in common is that it is really hard to name feelings or talk about big stuff. But this is something that is cultured over time. With one of them, every day I show him a picture on my phone that has a bunch of emojis with different expressions and I get him to pick one for how he’s doing that day - now we’re at the point where I get to ask him for the real answer after the initial emoji.
So please join me in praying for these two. At this time in their lives, the impact of this is so big. This is very much the beginning of a journey and I’m honored to have a very small role in it. The space that is being shared with me is sacred and precious, it’s a space that I know well from my own life- a space that Jesus has sat with me, bringing his presence and light.
Thanks for being here on the journey with me.
- Jon Pue