In recent months I’ve taken a pretty narrow approach to the devotionals. I’ve written almost exclusively on spiritual matters. This month, I’m going to try something new. I’m going to broaden the scope and try to expose you all to other people and what they’re saying on all matters recovery. Each day I’ll give a link to an article or video and provide some brief commentary.
My thoughts: It’s important to read stories like this. We need to know that things like this are going on in the world all the time. When we insulate ourselves from the shock that comes from hearing difficult truths then we convince ourselves that they are rarer than they are. When we do this, we become inattentive and unresponsive. Additionally, the more accustomed we are to hearing difficult stories then the less anxious we are to hear difficult stories. The more comfortable we are receiving people’s stories then the more empathetically we can respond.
When we respond to a difficult story with shock or horror or otherwise big emotion we do not honor the person sharing the story. When we respond with paralyzed silence we do not honor the person sharing the story. Through practicing being exposed to harsh realities, we also practice learning to “hold the space” for people who share difficult things with us. Holding the space is about posturing ourselves in such a way that the person feels comfortable sharing with us and around us (or near us). It means refusing to overreact, refusing to underreact, refusing the temptation to fix, and refusing the temptation to withdraw. It means being present in the moment and affirming that, no matter what a person has gone through (and no matter what they’ve done), they are still a deeply valuable human being.