Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dealing with Tom, Dick, and Harry

I've started working more than I used to, so I have little time to blog.  I miss it.  It is also a hard season in my life to blog through as things are so unknown right now.

Today, things are good.  There was a major breakthrough recently, and things are doing better.  I'm watching change happen.  The thing about that is that it is like watching grass grow.... you don't see it, but you stop after a time and say, "wait, does that seem different to you?".  Very slow, but slowly discernible progress.

I'm beginning to think that a rough situation has been made worse by the actions of our mission leadership.  I will not say who we are with because I still have respect for my mission as a whole, but I am beginning to seriously doubt our local/country leadership.  There have been some serious mistakes that have cost our family dearly.

I named the characters involved Tom, Dick, and Harry just to give them general names.  I labeled them in order of their closeness to us in the structure (not emotionally!).  Tom is the closer guy, Dick, the next one up, and Harry is above him in authority.

Dick has been talked about in great detail. Dick has had a huge detrimental effect on our marriage.  for the most part, now, he is out of the picture.  I am not sure I trust him that he is staying out, but time will tell.

Tom is a new character, although there was another Tom.  Tom is a fairly newcomer on the scene since the Tom of years ago left.  Time will see how Tom plays into the situation, but impressions so far are not good.  Tom is someone who has taken over for my husband since my husband was asked to step down from leading our small team.  The problem is that Tom used to be a big shot somewhere else and he is unable to shed those habits, so he is wreaking havoc in our small team.  Like the Tom before him, he has chosen favorites in the team, and is well, favoring those.  You absolutely can not chose favorites in a team.  It will rip a team apart.  It took us a year to begin to heal the damage from our last Tom who came on our team and did that (he wasn't leadership, but he was also older and thought that he didn't have to listen to our warnings.)  So we watch in grief.  We love our team as family.  There may be ones we do not naturally get along with as easily, but then we chose to love harder.  This situation has little to do with our marriage, but is causing us grief and stress as we watch, and we lift our hearts up to God asking for an end to it.

Harry is the man dealing with things at this point, along with our here pastor.  Our here pastor (who I will only refer to as our pastor and refer to our home church pastor as our home pastor) is turning out to be a HUGE ally in our behalf.  He is a younger man, about our age, and has to be a voice among two older men, so it is perhaps intimidating, but he has learned to find his voice and to speak up against wrongs.  May God bless him as he attempts to help and to speak against the misdirected "help" we've been getting!

Harry is turning a leaf that I find frightening.  After our awful encounter with a psychiatrist that they sent us to, where the doctor not only didn't listen, but then sent confidential notes to the other spouse and to Harry without our permission, it got worse.  Harry wrote me asking to send part of those notes (without the confidential section) to others on the "healing team".  I was not comfortable with that, neither was my husband, but we have no choice.  This whole time, we have been treated like children - told to do this or that, told what our sessions will be about, never asked what we think we need, told who will be told what when, and never told how the plan to approach things will be.  So we had no choice....

Finally, I wrote Harry back a short note.  Told him basically, ok, those notes, but not the other ones that he was out of line to write.

Well.... here an awkward situation went worse, and I lost any trust I ever had in Harry....

He wrote me and scolded me for not including my husband in the e-mail.  He wants all conversation to be between all three of us.... (by the way, not the wisest way of dealing with a situation of a spouse dealing with severe anger, but that is another story...).  So, ok, but I was busy... I had just been with my friend crying while explaining to her about hospice care and her dad..  I forgot to add my husband to the e-mail.  But seriously, it was just an e-mail that said, "yes, sure, you can do that."  Not exactly major content.  One line, a simple yes to a question he wrote both of us.

I didn't see why he was fussing so much.

But it wasn't just fussing.  He went on to threaten.  If I do not do what they say and insist on writing letters where I do not include both of them, he will cut off all help.


I must admit that I sat there in open mouthed shock...  and cold chills went down my spine.  What the.....?!

I wrote him an apology.  Sorry, I was busy cooking for 13, babysitting my friend's baby, and sort of distracted from the tears earlier that day with my one friend.  Cooking for 13 was because another of my best friends was moving to a new continent the next day.  I was just busy and forgot to check that I added him to the subject line.

Ok, a normal person would have responded, "Ok, next time make sure, sorry things are so rough today."

Seems Harry is not a normal person.

And that is what has me sitting here feeling cold fear in my tummy.

nope... he wrote back that he accepted my apology, but he is sure I can see that it looked like a continuing act of deliberate insolence.

wow........   just wow.......   whoa......     what??!!

Still reeling from that.

But, thinking perhaps he is a normal person who just didn't think... I wrote him back and told him that it was quite a jump to jump to that conclusion and I don't understand it as I would have been more likely to jump to, "hey did you notice you didn't do that?  Why not?" before jumping to "it is a continuing act of deliberate insolence" (especially when he had in front of him the letter explaining about finding out my good friend's dad is dying and I had been there that day dealing with that.)

He wrote back that it wasn't' a jump, and that it looked like that to him, and he wants no further communication about it.

He also included a warning that if I chose to get involved in people's lives when they are suffering, that I  am considering my marriage to be trivial and told me I need to change my priorities.

I was stunned.  I actually still am.  Just flabbergasted.

I guess I shouldn't be.  This man is good buddies with Dick.  It was foolish of me to think that Dick's years of influence haven't influenced him.  But I was still flabbergasted.

Thankfully, God has put our pastor in the middle of it all, and our pastor, unlike Dick and Harry, has actually lived in the same city as us and seen us more than three times a year briefly.  I immediately sent all that correspondence to our pastor.  I wrote him a passionate letter about how I feel about being asked to walk away from my good friends when they are suffering.  Seriously, I went to my friend's house to deliver a Christmas gift and she had just heard the news.  She opened the door and threw herself into my arms sobbing..... was I supposed to push her away and go home and "work on my marriage"?  I haven't spent more than a few hours with her in the last three weeks, but I love her.  I love her, and when she hurts, I hurt.

I don't even want to be a part of a Christianity that walks away from its wounded.

I may not be perfect, but I can still love, and if I don't love, I will wound.

I was in tears the next week at church, and spoke to an older, semi-retired missionary/pastor.  He snorted and said, "Girl, there are times you have to chose to obey God and not your mission leadership."  I was comforted.

The next week, my pastor preached a passionate sermon about how we are all a body of Christ, and while none of us is perfect, our calling is to be imperfect together, and in our imperfection to love each other and support each other.  That we should not wait until we are perfect to minister, but we are to love people from where we are, and in doing so, God's body will be built up and we will all grow towards being more like Christ.

I seriously thought he took the theme from my letter.... :)

So here we sit, waiting.  I will have a talk with my pastor soon... before any meeting with Tom, Dick, and Harry.  (ok, no Dick, but I like the phrase.)  He listens.  He is not happy with people attempting to manage this from a distance using e-mail as a means of communication.  He knows us.

And in it, things have happened, good things.  Good things that have nothing to do with the "help" they have set up.  Good things of my husband and I resting, talking, and working things out.

See, if any of you have been here for awhile, you will remember we had a crisis a few years back.  An awful, scary, trauma.  Our mission did nothing for us.  Oh, besides belittling us when we were down, "Oh, it was nothing! so and so that happened to for longer!" and criticizing us.  And leaving us to try to heal our own team's reaction to the trauma and not being able to heal ourselves.

In the months before that trauma, our marriage was great.  It was so great that I was sharing with my husband, and almost showed him this blog even.  We were open, enjoying each other, praying together, and doing well.  We survived the initial months after the trauma, but as the months went on, we began to disintegrate more.  My husband has a childhood of trauma.  His childhood did not include riding bikes on the sidewalk and waiting for the ice-cream truck.  He grew up in a war.  He saw what no child should see.

My daughter suffered from the trauma we went through.  She needs counseling.  We all do, likely.  We never got it.  We never even got a real de-breif.  They apologized for that years later.... but still did nothing....

And now, here we are, dealing with anger and moods, and depression.  I begin to question if they had dealt with the trauma, maybe this would not have come up again....  My mother was looking back over our marriage and looked at the other rough time and said, "Did you realize that that came just after that trauma?"  I hadn't....  perhaps because I was so sick and anemic at that time...  But she saw more anger after a trauma again...  and we being to wonder...

I know that my mission has paid for three years of counseling for someone on our team.  I only know this because I used to be the leader's wife.  We don't know what it was for, but we know that they did it.  The mission never scolded that person, never demoted them, never made their issues public, never shamed them.  When I asked for help, I guess I expected that.  Some help and some counseling.

I never expected this.

I never expected for my husband to be publicly shamed, demoted, his and my issues told to everyone, bullied if we do not do "help" just the way they want, not listened to, even called crazy by Dick.

I would have never asked if I had known.

I would have never wanted my husband to be treated like that.

I love him, and I wanted help for him.  Because I believe he needs it, we need it, and he is worth it.

Today, I wish I had never asked for help.  Because they have made it worse.  And not helped at all.

Today, I am sad.

But then, just when we are sad and too tired to do anything but sit, no tears left, God has this way of stepping in.  And he sent a friend, someone new, and then He sent another woman who is living my life.

Both a breath of hope....  one able to see and understand, able to pray for me, knowing what we face is not only physical, but spiritual, and able to pray for that.  The other, a quiet reassurance from God that He is not done with us, and even though His people have judged us harshly, He still wants to use us.  We work among broken people....  I keep having this quiet firm belief that as God heals us, our scars which may be ugly to the unscarred will bring hope to those with wounds.

Because scars show wounds which healed.  

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