Honest, that is.
It is a question that I have occasionally. What do I say when people ask me questions? How honest should I be?
I faced that again today. There is an older couple in our church. Retired pastors. He's been asking for a few months how we are doing. Concerned. Aware that something isn't right.
They've offered to watch our kids so we spend time alone. He's questioned my husband's frequent travels. He's asked again and again. How are you?
Today he was "Dutch". That is what he said. He's Dutch background. They tell it straight.
Somehow, I love that about the Dutch. I like honesty. I told him so. The problem is that I am in a relationship with someone from a culture that is not transparent.
He grunted. Said that if he was his mission director, he would not let him travel so much.
I smiled. Said that I am fine when he travels. There is little difference besides a little less work in the house. It is not travel that is a problem. It is more the stress when he is here.
He grunted again. Leaned closer and said, "When the wife and kids are happier when the husband is traveling, that is not a good sign. Missionaries get divorced, too, you know."
I looked back at him and said, "I know."
"Believe me," he said, "I know. It didn't hit me until I got home one night and my wife was standing by the door ready to shake my hand."
He looked at me, and waited. I thought. Then I thought, "heck, why not." It is not as if no one knows. There are many who know. Not just this man.
So I told him. It is not so much the stress from work. It is anger. Explosive anger and depressive quiet anger. Both.
He grunted again. Sounds like me. Grunted again. He has a peaceful grunt.
I told him about the coming counseling. Told him that I am at peace (between my regular bouts of near panic!) because last fall when things were really bad, I began asking God and He told me to step back, be at rest, and let Him work. That it was time that now He would work.
I told him about the new people and what happened that led to this counseling being set up.
He asked why no one did anything before. I told him. "The director is his good friend. Thought I was just exaggerating. That he hadn't seen it so didn't believe me."
There was that grunt again. Followed by another. And a wry comment that people don't always see what happens in a home.
Another quieter grunt. Then "well, it means it is time to double our prayers."
I thanked him. Prayers are needed now. And this man and his wife make me feel safe and loved. Even if they are as blunt as a dutchman. I love blunt.
Later today, we visited some team members. They are going to head out on a month trip tomorrow. We visited. The men went to grab some easy to eat food. I stood and talked with the wife.
She asked me how things were. I smiled. Asked her if she knew about the counseling coming up. She hadn't heard. I'm not surprised. I asked her if she heard about the blow up at the office back in January. She said she wasn't there, but her husband was, and yes, she heard.
I told her that the new people were shocked, and immediately said something was needed to be done. That they had seen it, and I had not started nor added to it. She smiled. Said that our other director never believed because he never saw. I agreed. I told her I told him to ask them and everyone else in the team. Everyone knows. She agreed. "Yes, everyone knows." She shook her head. "If he had asked, we would have told him. We all know."
I said the funny thing is that he thinks no one knows. He thinks he covers it so well. I still have to be careful not to talk much because he thinks no one knows.
She shook her head again and smiled. "No, we all know, but he thinks we don't."
I told her that he is being really sweet and nice right now. She laughed. Said exactly the same thing another friend of mine said, "Trying to be nice before he meets with the counselor?" We both smiled. Women are not really that dumb. Years of anger are not going to be forgotten because he is "being nice" a few weeks before meeting with a counselor.
Again she said, "If you need me, if you need to talk, we are here. We both love you. We'll be praying."
I thanked her. I know she will be praying.
Two weeks in. I alternate between moments of panic and moments like today when I realize that I have good friends around me. That I have people who see, who believe, who care about me, and who will be there for me.
I know these next two weeks will see me flip between stability and panic. I also know that as I move closer to that time, I will begin to stabilize more. I'm like that. I like to get all the panicking out of the way well before it is time to face whatever scares me. :-)