Tuesday, January 26, 2016

holding space


What does it mean to "hold space?"

 I found a beautiful blog post, by Heather Plett that explains "It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control."

I've been pondering it's meaning ever since I read it...  



We'd had quite a week already.  I'd finally conceded.  Sometimes, I struggle with catching my breath, when I have to walk very far.  Or I step out into the cold winter air and it stings me in a way I can't seem to catch my breath.  Or I walk up a flight of stairs.  And if I have to carry something?  Its not pretty to see what shape I'm in when I get to where I'm going. 


 So I've surrendered, to the blue tag special.  True to his nature, Dr. Panwalkar started to fill out the paper work right away when I asked.  He raised his eyebrow, and then said, "You mean we haven't done this already?" I simply shook my head no.  Then he quickly checked the box at the way right corner that said it was good for the next 6 years, and slid the forms over to me.  No questions.  No hesitation.   He was holding space for me.  He held space.   





It was a long day of chemo.   

Rick had little time to sit and work, but rather drove the rest of us back and forth to school, the clinic, the pharmacy.  He got me lunch.  Then took Nolan's skates to get sharpened. Then picked me up and we scurried off to Nolan's hockey game.  

It was late when we finally got home that night.  I was in a beyond tired 6-drugs infused- kind of stupor by that time.  I just wanted bed.  Blankets.  Warmth.  Sweet sleep.

But...

The sheets were still in the dryer.  It had been my last hurrah, the day before.  Its like chemo-nesting.  You run the errands, wash the clothes, scrub the bathrooms, clean the counters, and get ready, to do absolutely nothing for the next few days.  

So superman went and got the sheets.  And slowly worked his way around the bed, tucking, folding, bending, arranging.  Rubbing his back while he worked.  Tired.  He was so tired.  While I lay there, watching.

And tears crept down my face... because... then this.

I said "I'm sorry.  You've become me.  I am burdening you. You do all of you, and then you have to do me, too."  I used to drive the kids, run the errands, make the bed..."  And you'd work.  Now?  You don't get a choice.  You do both. You have to do both."


And that sweet man said this... "Honey, I just feel like I'm making up for all those times YOU had to do it all, and I wasn't here to help you.  Thats all."  And he kissed my fuzzy little head, and pulled the blankets around me. 

Holding space.  He is holding space for me too.  

Today, I was reading Ann Voskamp's Saturday post and she had a song in her post...

My friend had mentioned this song to me last week, and she said I thought of you because, your maiden name is "Held."  

"Just be Held" by Casting Crowns...  Could it fit any more perfect?  He is King of holding space!

I'm off to see Dr. Panwalkar today.  I had blood drawn from my port today, and my lab work shows some fairly low numbers.  We'll see about chemo...

In the meantime maybe you want to hear this?



Who will you hold space for today?













28 comments:

  1. You and this blog, including the friends who comment here are my regular infusion of spiritual health and well-being. I'm convinced the joyous, weepy feeling I have every time I stop by is good for my health. Thank you for holding and maintaining this space through all your struggles, joys and sorrows, but most of all, your faith. You are loved.

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    1. Kass, reading your words yesterday were such a balm for my weary soul. Even though my counts were low, Dr. P wanted me to do infusion. Truly your beautiful words, were just the affirmation and gift of love I needed. So thankful for you! You are so loved!

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  2. I am going to be honest, I don't always comment because I don't know what to say. You are one of the bravest women I know. You are such an inspiration. I read your posts and shake my head in wonder and awe. I KNOW I would not have been as strong as you at your age. God bless you and your beautiful family. Your husband is a ROCK STAR!!!

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    1. Oh Pinky- I'm just so honored you take the time to show up and read! Even that makes me feel seen and heard- so thank you for just that! And you'd be surprised- when your back is against the wall like mine? You just do what you have to do, because this big beautiful life, is worth doing whatever hard thing is set in front of you! I have faith in you- you could and would do it too! God's blessings to you and yours!

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  3. I will always hold space for you and with you my dearest friend ever and forever...Love you lots and lots. As you always tell me, you don't have to be superwoman...sometimes it is just enough to be...so "focus" and "choose"!! :-)

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    1. We just need to keep reminding each other of that, don't we! And I see you are focused on Strep throat!! Yikes! Hoping those little ones get through the yucky part quickly and get back to feeling well!

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  4. You're both rock stars.... the love and the courage and the strength when it feels like there is no strength and the determination and the *grace*... I'm holding space for you.. always.

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    1. So thankful to have you, with me, always. Each day that passes, and weeks, months, etc., and you all still show up here means more and more to me all the time. And I can easily say the exact same things about you!

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  5. i hope you get to have chemo today, since i know that's what you hope. i wish you didn't have to have chemo at all, that once you got NED, you could quit. have you chosen a word for the year yet? i don't remember reading about it, but EMBRACE from last year is one you seem to have internalized. love you! will be praying...

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    1. I did do chemo- even with low counts, Dr. P really wanted me to, so I was ok with that. Yes, I chose the word, choose! Inspired by Sara- to remember to choose, Joy, yes, but focus on the fact that I can always choose whatever it is that I need for that day, that time. Yes- I do hope that so many of my words I have somehow built into my life- last year was believe, and embrace the year before and they do seem to all go together quite well! Coming to visit your blog soon! Such a big day coming for you!

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  6. I always feel so encouraged when I read your posts, Vicky. Your strength as well as Rick's just amazes me. Whether you realize it or not, you both are an inspiration to those around you. I remember your posts when you called Rick your "Superman". Well, he most definitely is.

    Love, blessing and prayers dear friend.

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    1. Eileen, that is so incredibly sweet of you to say. I think Rick and I are just getting through our days as best as we can, mostly. But the lessons we've had to learn have been intense and fast, and its definitely impacted how we choose to do things all the time. Thankful for your encouraging words, too, my friend and having you here always means so much to me! Love and blessings to you!

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  7. WHat a wonderful husband you have Vicky. I am keeping y'all in our prayers!

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    1. Always so great to see you here, Katie! Thankful for those prayer, always!

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  8. Holding space with you from a distance.

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    1. Thankful, Susan, extremely blessed to have you do so. I pray you are well.

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  9. It is sometimes so hard to know what to do as a space holder, Vicky. It is an inexact science but such a comfort when it happens well and I think the person receiving it knows when it touches their soul. And cancer is a family diagnosis not just an individual one. You are all called to walk this path together and it is the same with any serious disease. Each person is greatly impacted. Each will have their lives affected. Each heart and life is forever changed. That is nothing of the patient's doing but it is a reality. So grateful for Rick to stand beside you and to have eyes to SEE you, not just be with you. Same for Dr. P and all those who strap on their walking shoes to walk with you. God works things out in those on the journey with you and redeems it ALL.

    I prayed for you earlier today. I had my first MRI with sedation (have had 8 others done without and couldn't do it anymore) but I thought of the MANY you have endured and ALL you've endured throughout. You continue to inspire, amaze, challenge, and encourage me daily. I love you and am glad you now have that placard. That's a big step to ask, and receive, that help. It's a big step in every area, including needing, and receiving help with that bed. XOXO

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    1. You always have such an insightful and wise perspective. And you are gifted with your ability to not just have those insights, but to write so beautifully about how you see things, too! So thankful for your keen insights and how they uplift and inspire so many of us! I pray sedation went well for you- its the only way for me!! And I also pray the results will be of help to you! Love to you- deep and wide friend!

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  10. Rick is a jewel...a gem, indeed.
    And he is married to one....so I think you have a perfect setting.
    Love you, my sweet friend.
    Always,
    Jackie

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    1. Miss Jackie- so sweet of you to say- and I know you and the mister are equally a treasure to us all too! Love you right back sweet one!

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  11. Vicky....you have the best hubby ever! Always thinking about you....Lisa

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    1. As I know you do as well, Lisa! Thankful to have you here- hope retirement is treating you well- will come visit soon!

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  12. “A happy marriage is a selfless journey in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” -George & Yvonne Levy

    Source: Pinterest.com via page http://www.happywivesclub.com/a-happy-marriage-5/

    How sweet to have the true love and kindness of a wonderful husband. Love your post and how it all fits and comes together! Very cool :-) Love the song as well. I'm a Casting Crowns fan, but had not heard "Just Be Held". A favorite of mine we just sang in praise band this past Sunday is Kutless ~ "What Faith Can Do" https://vimeo.com/21527408 Carolyn was our lead for the service and was under the weather a bit, so I had the honor of carrying/singing the bridge. Absolutely love music to carry me through the ups and downs, celebrations and struggles - beautiful post as always Vicky! You inspire me and touch my heart every time I visit your blog.

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    1. Oh Cheri- love that Kutless song! Wish I could hear you sing- I just know I would be equally inspired by you, Cheri. Such a great quote, too- thank you for sharing!

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  13. Holding space along with you from Georgia. And Superman, well, I wish we could talk to teenage girls and say, "Listen. This is what you're looking for. Don't settle for anything less than a man who loves you like Jesus loves us."

    xo

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    1. Julie, yes! We could both use our husbands as examples of the kind of men we would want our younger generation of girls to look for. You said that so beautifully! Love and blessings to you!

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  14. Oh my dear sweet friend,
    The picture you painted with your words...oh, my. I could just see you there in the bedroom with tears flowing as you described what was going on in your heart. As I took in what you said to your beloved Superman..."I am burdening you"..my tears flowed. Knowing that's how you truly felt and knowing he would never feel that way about you. This changing of roles that we hold so dear...is just so, so hard. And I just outright wept at his kind heart and gentle words. I could feel his appreciation for the meals you have made and the beds you have made over all these years.

    That moment you described, my dear friend, is a perfect photograph of what unconditional love really, truly looks like. Thank you so, so much for sharing that
    moment with me. I think, lately, Bert might say what you said. I am praying to be just as loving as your Rick. And that Casting Crowns song was perfect!
    I am so grateful for you, for your authentic voice and for your huge, huge heart.
    Love you to the moon and back, Vicky Held Westra.
    Linda

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  15. This is a bit late, but heart-felt. I am holding space for you, although from afar, and praying for better days ahead. Your hubby is a sweetheart, what a champion.

    You BOTH are.

    Also, aren't fresh linens a comfort?

    Love and prayers,
    Susan

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