SITTING IN THE HOLE
Lilly is a morning person. She wakes up ready for life and is usually shooting off questions and commentary at laser speed before I even make it to the coffee pot. I, in fact, have the opposite wake up style. I need quiet for a looong time before I’m ready to face the world. Mornings with Lilly usually get to the point where I tell her, “My ears are still tired, Lil. One more question and then we need to save the rest for later.” (Compassionate people have boundaries right!?)
But this morning that girl woke up quiet. Not going to lie, I could get used to quiet mornings like this, but Lilly was not Lilly. She was working through something…
Big emotions are hard. Somedays I would love to slap a band-aid on it and rush on with the day--to just move past the tough stuff because it’s uncomfortable and time consuming when there’s a million other things to accomplish. And yet other times when my kids are in that space, I try to don my supermom cape and magically whip up the answers to make the big, scary emotion monsters disappear. One tactic I tend to use when I’m wearing my cape is to play detective--to problem solve by asking a million probing questions. But sometimes there isn’t always a mystery that can be solved. No answer to be found. Like today, Lilly just had the feels without knowing the why behind them. And she didn’t need Sherlock Holmes; she needed mom.
So today, Lilly and I just sat.
No agenda, no supermom cape, no Sherlock Holmesian questions. Just a little girl and I waiting for the emotions to pass…together.
Author, speaker, and researcher Brene Brown has a great short video on the subject of empathy that speaks about the power of just being with someone in their hard moments. It is in being that we are able to show true empathy. Brown says, “I always think of empathy as this sacred space when someone’s in a deep hole and they shout up from the bottom and they say, ‘I’m stuck. It’s dark. I’m overwhelmed.’ And we say, ‘Hey! I’m coming down. I know what it’s like down here and you’re not alone.’”
I am so blessed to have people in my life who have sat in the deep hole with me during some really dark times. People who weren’t afraid to see my ugly and were willing to gather the dirt around us as we sat at the bottom together.
I know what it’s like to hurt and not always have the words to express it, but just knowing there was someone on my side was enough for the moment. No magic formulas or big red easy button to push. Just someone being ok staying with me while I wasn’t ok. Someone who was just willing to sit in the hole with me.
This is where experience has been the best teacher in regards to how to parent. Being shown grace and care in painful moments has honestly allowed me to connect with my children in ways that I don’t think I would have known how to do otherwise. I have felt what it feels like to have God pull me out of my hole and experience how He uses others in that messy process. Psalm 40: 1-2 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
At the bottom of a hole is not a fun place to be, but it’s a whole lot less scary together...