Having the week off was wonderful. We had a break from the odd paranoia and accusations going on at home.
On our way home, before we even got home, we got a phone call from the one couple who had been acting so difficult with us. The ones who had been so angry and accusatory of us. They were in a difficult situation and needed some assistance. We listened, and told them we'd phone back in a short time.
We drove towards our house with sleeping children in the back and discussed our reaction to this situation. It was really a difficulty of their own making. They had chosen not to ask advice and gone and done something, and now needed help in it. We talked about how they had hurt us and how easy it would be to shrug our shoulders and walk away. We talked about how they were still accusing us and would likely not stop that. But we talked about what we were called to do. We are to walk right. That does not depend on their behavior. Together, late that night in the car, we chose to go on showing love to them. To ignore all that had happened and go on serving them. We serve them and love them not because of who they are, not because of how they act, but because we are called to lead them and leadership is service.
So we phoned them back, and offered what we could do. Then early the next morning, our phone rang again. They had another problem and needed us to take over the whole task for them. My husband got up early, and drove a two day trip to help them with a family situation.
Two days later, when he returned, we phoned them to express our concern for their situation and see how things were. They were surprised and told us thank-you for stepping in. Our response was simple, "No problem. You are our brother and sister and we love you."
It is an uphill battle right now. We are committed to showing love and we are, but our hearts are hurt. We continue to act as we have always acted towards them - loving and serving... but we are aware of what they said about us and how they treated us when we were hurting. So we continue to love, but it is a love that has to be willing to accept hurt. In order to love, we have to chose to love. We have to chose to forgive. That means that there is no accounting for the wrong, no accounting for the hurt, but a quiet acceptance of its existence. We know they hurt us and don't see that, but we continue to give love, not for the sake of it being returned in the measure it is poured out, but for the sake of love. We love, because He loved us.
But peace came with that acceptance. Our job is not to change our coworkers. It is to love them. It is not to perfect them, but to accept them. They are also God's children, and there are things to respect and admire about them. There are things that are failings in them. Those we trust to God, and we continue to serve.
But there is a closeness missing. A joy in being together that is gone. We love, but trust and joy is missing.
And we still struggle with dealing with what happened to us. It is just that it had to take a back seat to dealing with other people's stress and problems. It means that our team becomes not a support to us in coping with what we went through, but a liability. Whereever the journey to normal will lead, we will have to walk that path alone.
And there is a sadness in that.