Holding story and creating space to hold a story well is discussed and context is considered. Friendship includes creating space to hold stories. This is particularly true if a friend shares a trauma story or a story that needs healing. Listen also to how one woman shared from her heart and how her story was dropped, much to her dismay.
“Don’t be afraid to risk joining someone in their pain. It’s worth it. It’s worth it to the other person.” ~Krishana Kraft
What does it mean to create space and hold someone’s story? How do we create and hold? There is a need for space to be held open for one another’s stories. Holding a story is such an incredible honor and privilege that there is a sacredness to it, as well.
Because holding story is such a crucial task, we will break the idea down for greater understanding of what it means to create space, to hold story.
There are 3 parts to this setting:
1. What do I mean by ‘story’?
Matt Travis says it like this, “the story is the telling of an event either true or fictional in such a way that the listener experiences or learns something just by the fact that he heard the story. A story is a means of transferring information, experience, attitude, or our point of view. “There are many types of stories that can be told, but today I am going to address two specific types of story.
a. The story that has not yet come to resolution-
There is often something unknown, potentially transformative, or disruptive, and/or painful, in the unknowing. The story has not yet come to climax or resolution.
b. The story that is difficult to share, or perhaps, receive-
Sometimes we find that a story is difficult to share and maybe, even to receive. Oftentimes these stories are immensely difficult to share because there are components of shame, or are even, perhaps, riddled with shame. These are difficult to share because we feel exposed, vulnerable, naked- before, during and after sharing. This is shame. By its very nature, it oftentimes takes us away from, or out of community.
Healing from a shameful story best happens in a kind and safe community. Like God covering our shame, safe communities are to reflect His image and offer a covering, as well. This covering needs to be included in the spaces we create when holding stories.
Stories where someone has chosen to be open, vulnerable, daring, and courageous in sharing are hardly ever easy stories. These vulnerable and exposing stories need to be held with great care and tenderness. We must always meet vulnerability with care, support and covering. This is where the holding comes in.
2. What is this ‘holding’ thing about?
a. The point where holding becomes difficult-
The climax is the point of the story where the answer to disruption comes into play. Don’t we all love the climax and hate the climax, all at the same time? The tension and painful anticipating in the waiting can be excruciating. At times, we want to join in and help create or step in and create for them, or to solve some problem and be the hero for this story teller. So, who’s story is it anyway? Often, we desire to be a part of, step into, step on stage with, and play a role in the ending or resolution of another’s story. Or perhaps, we despise the tension so much that we strategize our escape. We look for an escape route as soon as they pause or look away.
b. Spiritual By passers-
This term, ‘spiritual by passer’ is a term conceived by John Wellwood, who interestingly observed, “I noticed a widespread tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep, or avoid, unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks”.
c. The pain/tension of holding-
It can be difficult to sit with the truth and hold another story when it is in the middle of the most arduous and disorganized part of the story- a place where we likely are the most uncomfortable- a place where we as listeners and, at times, storytellers, as well, are trying to rise above the raw and messy side of our humanness before we have fully faced and made peace with it. This is the space where stories are held. Human needs/feelings, psychological problems, relational difficulties, and developmental deficits can rest for a moment in a safe place, free of judgement, with covering, as we bring the most vulnerable parts of ourselves to one another.
Heb 13:16; Prov 11:24-25; Is 58:6-8; Gal 6:6-10; Matt 25:35-40; Luke 6:38
Interview with Krishana:
Krishana is the editor for the Broken and Beautiful Souls podcast and today finds herself on the other side of the microphone. She originally hails from Indiana. While in the middle of raising financial support as a missionary to Vienna, Austria, she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She went through the necessary treatment and was even able to serve in Austria. A couple of years into remission, the Lymphoma returned with a vengeance. She subsequently left the field to return to the states in order to resume treatment- ultimately, receiving a Stem Cell transplant. She is currently an associate with Greater Europe Mission while living in Southern California and attending seminary for Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. Krishana is enjoying her time living near the beach, as well as traveling to Europe a couple of times a year, helping with various ministry endeavors.
Dawn and Krishana discuss:
- The painful and confusing experience that occurred when others did not hold Krishana’s story well
- Alternatives to holding someone’s story, even when you don’t know what to do/say
- The pitfalls, possible redemption, and dynamic of ‘pearls shared=story shared’
- The truth that holding one’s story does not also mean it needs to be fixed
“Don’t be afraid to risk joining someone in their pain, in their hurts. Being honest is the best policy, even when you say, ‘I don’t know how to respond’. So, don’t be afraid to risk. It’s worth it. It’s worth it to the other person.”
If you are interested in reaching out to Krishana, please connect with us here for her email address.