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Standing in the gap

April 19, 2016


Imagine having the thing you least want to do, the thing that’s the scariest, the thing you’d avoid 10 times out of 10, become your strong suit.  It’s your calling card now, it’s what you do.  

This happened for Lisa, who describes her vocation as ‘standing in the gap’.  


The gap is the space between travesty and healing.  It exists between shattered beliefs and new understanding.  It’s the space between the loss of all security and the discovery of new provision.  


If at all possible, we deny the gap.  We either run for the hills, or try to fill it in.  Both of these responses are understandable, but terrible.


So you’re diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Half your friends disappear - it’s just too intense and sad to stick around.  The other half rally with platitudes and positivity - it’s just too intense and sad to let it be.  


The last thing anyone wants to do is simply be there, with you.  In the pain, in the grief, in the uncertainty.  Not bringing unsolicited advice, not trying to outlaw despair, not trying to explain the unexplainable.  


Lisa was no different, until she found herself a hospital chaplain in a room with parents whose child had committed suicide.  Their lives had been unmade, and she had nothing to offer but presence.  It would require that she not run away, and not try to make things better, and that was a tall order.  But somewhere, somehow, she found the strength to stay, and to hold the hardship with others.  


Now, this is her life.  She stands in the gap, professionally and personally, in friendships and in community.  When tragedy strikes, or when conflict is brewing, or when change is laying waste to expectations, Lisa stands with fragile neighbors, on shaky ground, in the gap.   

Imagine if the good you’re most inclined to avoid, became your life’s work.  



The Table is a Christian community seeking transformation:


from greed toward generosity

from violence toward peacemaking

from isolation toward neighborliness

from fear toward faith

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