I'm beginning to settle down and start to watch people. I love watching people. Seeing how they work. But, I also watch myself. How do I work?
I'm a great person in crisis. I'm not the type of person who panics... even though at times waves of panic hit. My mind works like a wide angle lens in when there is some emergency. My vision field opens, I see more, I think slower and clearer, and yet quickly, and I act well. I delegate, organize, and act with clear determination. I learn new things. I'm brave, insistent, persistent. I'm the type of person you want beside you when things go wrong.
When I got that phone call a few weeks ago, and all this began, I immediately began to work. Part of me was standing absolutely shocked at what was going on and all that it could mean... but then I took a deep breath, and began to do what needed to be done. For four days and nights, I worked. Then things went briefly wrong again, and I worked for another night and day. I did a good job, but there were times in it that the absolute horror of what could happen would hit. But I could not stop to think about it... I took a deep breath, and kept going.
That is how I am. It is an ability God gave me.
But it makes recovery difficult. Here a few weeks later, I still am slightly stunned... wishing someone knew how to help me, wishing I could explain to people around me how I work. The very ability I have that enables me to perform well in a crisis also means that I will store all the emotions, feelings, and fears and process them later. So that when all others are rejoicing because it is over, I go back to the beginning to sort through everything - the shock, the fear, the nausea, the decisions, everything. And people push me to be happy... it is over, after all. Be happy now. But I haven't yet processed the fear and the pain, the awesomeness of those first quiet moments with God where I chose how I will respond to this, the blessing of the people around me, the crushing ache of those mornings, the stark pain reflected in my children's eyes... It is not that I am not happy. It is just that I need to do that still.
Unfortunately, right after this crisis came a conflict. The conflict pushed me back into the crisis mode - the watching, on guard, waiting to respond, cautious. Then came other attacks and criticisms... All these things have not made it easy for me to go back and process things.
I haven't felt safe enough.
So here we are a few weeks later, and people are going on and happy, and I am still in no man's land. Bewildered. Unsure when it is safe to talk, to think it through.
I think by talking... or writing. And when we were debriefed the first time, I was told what to say... told what to talk about... I do not work that way. It really frustrates me. Because I have things I want to say, and I can't if someone insists they know the questions to ask. And then because of the conflict right afterward, people decided we needed time to do nothing. Doing nothing is really tough when all you want to do is talk, but no one is listening. I wanted to talk... really wanted to talk... but there was none to listen.
When we got home, we had a second debriefing of sorts... it went awfully... I think someone forgot to include the direction that you are not to attack people for what they felt. I got attacked, and it hurt. It really hurt.
But even with the awful hurt, you know what? I still finally got to talk. Even if they jumped on me afterward - I still finally got to talk. I needed to talk. Forced silence is miserable for someone who stayed silent about how they felt during the whole event... I needed to talk.
So while it was tough, it was still better... better than silence.
And this week, help came from a good source. My husband. He finally listened - not to the whole story, but to the reason that I am struggling right now. Because I wasn't able to process all this during the event like most of the others in our team. I was busy then. I need time to process it now. He understood that when I told him. He's stepped in to give me that time. To not insist that I am happy when I am not there yet. I am happy. But I have to sort out the whole event, organize it, and file it. I have to be able to talk without being told how I am to talk and about what. I will get to the joy... but I need to walk through the pain first.
I just needed someone to listen to that.
Then there is one other person, a friend, who lets me say anything. I don't need to think about how I say it, but just talk. I can talk when I want and quit when I want. I like that ability.
And one other, who heard what happened and how I felt, and got angry! Ok. Now, some people will argue that we shouldn't get so angry... but right then, I needed someone to hear and understand how I felt. I was angry! I even had good reason to be angry. And I needed to be heard. How wonderful it was that someone heard that and was angry too! She saw me. She listened. And she knows me and all these events. What a relief! It was so difficult to be invisible.
Now, having been heard, I can move on to processing that event that hurt so badly. I think I will also one day be able to go back to the day of that phone call or even the awful night before the call when I sat awake in my bed. Why was I awake? Because I was. I felt sure that what happened was going to happen. As if God prepared me for this, as if He Himself told me before the event... and I sat awake with Him, not praying with words, but watching... watching with my heart in my eyes... and gathering those who I knew would pray... they were praying before the crisis hit.
But I am like buoy with a weight in the bottom... I can get tossed about quite a bit, but eventually, I will bob back up to the surface and right myself. Eventually, I stop steaming and storming and sobbing, and sit in that exhausted silence of a spent child before God. Then, after He has been silent with me for some time, He gently begins to speak.
Tomorrow, I will write what He spoke.