Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bucket Emptiers

So, I said I met two friends recently who have changed things some.  I'll tell you some about that...

I went recently with my kid's school on a service trip to another country - one I had never been to before.  (That was fun!)  One of the leaders on this trip was a lady who has the same two cultural backgrounds as I do - two continents that most people don't combine, but she has both in her background as I do.  That in itself was fun, because while some, especially among MKs, are able to understand one of my cultures, few can grasp both, so even among MKs, I am sort of an outsider.

We talked as the service trip went on, and then one evening, she began to ask me more questions about my life, my past, and my history. And she could understand what I was telling her, and how that fit in with my husband's culture and all the oddities of our life.  We talked for several hours late one night, and at the end of the evening, she asked if she could pray for me, and she did. 

Now you have to understand that in my life now, simply because of circumstances, I have lost my friend that used to pray for me and bless me.  And that has been very difficult.  It has left wounds unbandaged.... no one to hear those hurts and pray with me for them.  I've had some rough months from that, and then that pain itself has begun to hurt.

But she sat with me and prayed with me for these hurts, and she carefully bandaged my wounds.  And some of the hurt began to heal.

She sat with me and she listened.  And she allowed me to empty some of my bucket.

See, I have this word picture.  I see pain sort of as a bucket.  The bucket gets full of tears that are unable to be shed or to be heard, so they go in the bucket, and we carry these buckets through life.  In normal situations, we may be able to handle the tears in the bucket ourselves, and able to slowly dump them out a piece at a time.  But when trauma or deep pain happens, and especially when it happens in the absence of a supportive environment, we fill our buckets.  There is no one to hear the pain, no one to hear our stories, no one to help us process them, so our buckets fill with unshed tears and unheard pain.  Carrying around the full buckets then become a effort in themselves that hinder us from being able to heal and cope with life normally.

I've been through a lot this last year, and I've lost a few bucket emptiers.  People that would hear me on a regular basis.  People who would share my life and hear me.  I process things verbally when I can.  In a life where I have to be largely silent about what is happening, I depend on some bucket emptiers.  It's been difficult and painful without them.

But she listened.  And among all the people in the world, she could hear easily since she automatically knew how this would relate to my different cultures.

A blessing.  I seriously needed a bucket emptier.  I've noticed that God sometimes just sends them along at different times.  I've also noticed that we can at times be bucket emptiers for others while we hold a full bucket ourselves.  I have one good friend who we empty each other's buckets.  Sadly, circumstances has her unreachable for a few more weeks.

But that helped.  To be able to be honest, to talk, and to be prayed for and blessed.

Then God sent one more friend along, too.  I'll write about that later.

And things are changing.  I am seeing in my husband more and more the man I chose to marry.  It seems that he has turned a corner, too, and he is involved in our lives, taking responsibility, staying calm, talking to his kids that they need to learn to control their tempers (while controlling his) so that they do not cause pain like he has, and generally being a wonderful person again.

After four years of praying, it is wonderful to see this happening again.  I have some thoughts about trauma and the risk it proves for him, but they will be for another post.  I will say, however, that I think we have learned that if we ever go through something horrific again, we will get counseling.  Honestly, though, we tried and we asked for it, but we could not afford it, and our mission did not consider it something that they needed to provide in any way.

And that makes me angry.  We did not need to suffer like this.  I am angry.  I am thinking about how to be vocal about it in a way to prevent this from ever happening to others again.  It should have never happened.  It shouldn't have.  If you have a crisis that is one as people over there said, "one that we never expected to see you again from" happen, you should be morally responsible for helping people heal from emotionally.  You should not just throw them back out into their work, ask them to help their team heal, and do nothing to support them in any way except give them a one week vacation.

I wish someone had cared for us.  We were too traumatized to know how to seek care on our own.

Now we pick up the pieces of that.  Still. Four years later.  And it hasn't gotten easier by the waiting.

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