TUESDAY 16 JUNE 2020
Good morning friends,
Yesterday we had a couple of visitors to the garden, and it was lovely to sit and listen to their stories of how it’s been for them during lockdown.
I was reminded of a quote from a man named Russ Parker who said, “Everyone has a story to tell, our task is to provide a safe place for that sharing to take place”
These words have played an important part in my ministry, as I have known times when it has been so important for me to find a safe place to share some of my stories.
I remember the first time I became aware of this.
There had been a bereavement in the family, and I felt like I was at a loss to understand why it had happened, and how I could provide the pastoral care required.
I visited a retreat centre I knew of for the first time and was given a warm welcome and the opportunity to share what had happened and how I was feeling. I had some time to walk in the grounds and after a simple lunch another time to speak. Then, after a short prayer, it was time to drive home. As I drove I felt lighter in my spirit, and I can remember thinking, “I don’t know what happened today, but I feel so much better.”
I returned on another few occasions, and each time I left, I knew something had shifted in me.
It was a couple of years later that I realised what the folks in that place were doing, they were listening.
That was over 22 years ago, and it led me to explore and train in the ministry of Christian Listening, which has proved time and again to be a valuable tool in the pastoral care of people I have encountered.
Providing a safe space for people to come to has been at the heart of the hospitality offered at Braehead House, and over the years many stories have been heard, and I believe much healing has taken place.
Of course we have the most amazing role model for listening in Jesus. He spent time listening to his Father, and in doing so heard he was Beloved, and in the security of this he was able to meet people at their own point of need, to create a safe place for them to come into, and in listening to each individual bring the healing they required.
As we begin to think about moving to an easing from lockdown, creating and maintaining a safe space will continue to be an important part of all that happens here, as we listen to God, listen to ourselves, and listen to others.
“Our God is a listening God,
who hears the cry of the poor,
who bends down and comes to our aid.
Our God calls each one of us to become
a listening heart, attentive to one another
with something of God’s own listening heart..................” (Donal Harrington)