By: Eric Hodgdon
“Hey Eric, have you got a few minutes? I need to talk to you about something that’s going on.” This is what my daughter’s friend Christine asked me last week. When I called and she picked up the phone, she was sobbing. Turns out, she was coming off the funeral of her fifth friend to take their life in the last four years and wanted to know why this keeps happening to people she cares about.
As you can imagine, it’s difficult to receive a call like that. But, more importantly, if and when you do receive a call like that, ask yourself – are you going to hold space for someone who’s struggling or become a beacon for them? Well, sometimes only one of these support systems is needed. Other times, it’s a mixture of both.
So, what is the difference between holding space and being a beacon? Holding space for someone means that, as Lynn Hauka says, “… you walk along with them without judgement, sharing their journey to an unknown destination. Yet you’re completely willing to end up wherever they need to go.” I also believe you appreciate the struggle someone is in, which means you understand and will take action to walk with them, if and when they need it. The key is, you are always ready to be there for them.
When you are a beacon, you are viewed as a guide and leader for others. And a good leader knows the way, goes the way, and most importantly, shows the way.
In the case of Christine, she was needing both levels of support. Not only to see that there are beacons for her when needed, but also, that we do have people that will hold space for us as we figure things out. I told Christine, “I know this is tough sweetie, and while I can’t walk this for you, I will walk it with you.” She loved that this was available to her if needed.
Are you prepared to truly be there for someone else when they need a beacon, for you to hold space for them, or a mixture of both? Just know, if you do, it will help you as much as it helps them. Never Give Up!