Ohio Illuman Convener Monthly Update - August 2018
Last month’s Illuman newsletter began with Chuck’s timely reflection regarding suicide statistics and awareness. The topic is much in the news these days, and personally I was really quite heartened and glad to read Chuck’s sharing and I let him know that.
Many of us know that in Illuman the 5th and last element in a man’s Journey of Illumination is: “Serving – show up and act”. Serving others can take many meaningful forms, and I was asked if I would consider sharing a bit about my experience serving as a volunteer Suicide/Crisis Hotline staffer and trainer.
In our Men’s Meetings in The Way of Council we listen and speak to each other from the heart without judging. People who call the Hotline are mostly in aching deep need of the same thing…the gift of a true friend’s compassionate non-judgmental listening, sharing, and affirmation. So often it frees them to see rays of hope where they couldn’t before they called. The phone rings and the “talking stick” is handed to the caller who so often has not been (or ever been!) respected and heard in that way.
This gift of focused compassionate listening and walking with someone in a tough or dark place is life-giving… and it can literally help generate the Hope that saves a life. I’ve witnessed that amazing dynamic over and over in calls I’ve taken and those from other volunteers and shift partners. Have to say I’m always humbled and a bit in awe by the simple power of it.
Calls come from any age, gender, life situation, or orientation. Some are military veterans, some are retired grandparents or single dads or moms, some are married with kids, some are students in middle school, high school, or college. But the common denominator is that they ALL need a friend who will listen to their story compassionately, affirm and encourage
them, and provide help or resources if possible. The feeling that comes from witnessing someone you’ve listened to, talked with, and helped, who then is able to go off in a life-giving direction is indescribable.
We already talk and listen from the heart in our monthly meetings “Brother-to Brother” and “Man-to-Man”… Amazing to think that same dynamic can save a life!
*Almost all counties in Ohio and all larger cities have Hotlines and they’re always looking for compassionate good men to serve alongside them in this amazing life-giving ministry.
Peace Brothers and… “HO!”
Ohio Chapter of Illuman
Without us God will not. But without God, we can not.
~ Fr. Richard Rohr