Every one needs a circle. A safe place where you can be, where you can feel, where you can cry out to God and to each other. A place where you know others will sit with you in holy silence, will hold the space with you as you journey.
Last week in the Great Room, as the calendar drew our hearts and minds to Holy Week, we reflected on one of the last circles Jesus found himself in. The Garden of Gethsemane - the place where Jesus went to pray, beg and wrestle. Even Jesus didn’t want to take that journey alone, and asked those closest to him to sit, to pray, to offer the gift of comfort through their presence. We all know what happened. They betrayed him, disappointed him, abandoned him when he needed them most.
As we sat in our own circle that day, as we processed and talked about this part of the story of Holy Week, talked of what it means to really journey with someone, a beautiful thing happened. The story came alive, played out right before us in the safety of our very own circle.
A very dear friend to all of us for several years has been journeying through Post Traumatic Stress and the pain of childhood abuse with incredible courage and bravery. This particular week had been a difficult one of flashbacks and memories, all perching precariously on the surface. On this morning, she needed to be out of her home for the day due to work being completed there, but knew she was too vulnerable to be out in the community. And so she made her way to the Great Room. As our circle began and we went around the room to check in with each other, she boldly shared what was happening for her in her journey. No shame, no fear, just her truth. And then she said that she needed, on this day, to be in a place that made her feel safe and grounded, and the Great Room was that place for her.
Typically Jen or I would invite others in the circle to speak into what was shared, to honor it and receive it and speak life and love back into the empty space. On this day, it wasn’t necessary. We sat back and watched as these beautiful women each took turns honoring this story, expressing grief for what was done to their friend, removing any remnant of shame and blame, and practically caring by offering to give up their own homes that day to provide safe space for their friend who needed it more.
I was overcome with gratitude, awe, wonder. What a sweet moment.