Some good. Some where people write and express their love for us. Their support. Their grief that we have had to walk this alone. Some of that has come from others who are or were with our mission. They know. Other support has come from others who were in our country. They know. It's been a really rough few years, and it is hitting everyone.
Those moments, we feel cared for. Safe.
Then there are others. When our old team leaders write. They can't figure out something, can you please help? We did two small tasks, but that was it. It doesn't work to ask us to leave, and then keep coming to us because you can't manage without us. So we leave them.
One wrote recently sort of surprised that I was not wanting to be her friend right now. She wanted to tell me that she would be there for me like she was. Always.
It was rather creepy. I don't need someone for me like she was. At any time. No one needs a friend who gets your confidence, and then breaks that confidence. No one needs a friend who when you are struggling tells you "please don't share your problems with me. They are too much for me to handle." No one needs a friend who votes to kick you off a team rather than get you the help that you need to deal with stress you've been through.
It is one thing to suffer at the hands of unbelievers for your faith. It is another thing altogether to suffer at the hands of believers for the emotional injuries as a result of that suffering.
We don't need friends like that.
Those moments turn my stomach and leave me jerking awake with nightmares again. Nightmares of running for help only to find that the help I ran to was the attacker trying to get me. Of begging for mercy while a friend laughed and killed me.
Then will come another e-mail from a friend telling us how much they love us, and how glad they are that they could listen, and how they want to be there for us.
Then tight muscles in my tummy relax a little.
Moments. I live life right now in small moments.
Then, in my job in the school, we are reading a book. "Speak". About a teenage girl in high school struggling. No one knows she was raped at the beginning of the year. She struggles. We read this book and discuss it.
And I hurt.
I recognize her feelings. The pain. The separation from the world and the pulling into the silence.
The problem is this. People think I should "get over it". As if I am sick and have not recovered. As if I dropped my ice-cream cone and am crying.
Can't I be both healed and still feel hurt at the same time?
Or is "healed" mean that I no longer ever hurt? I'd like you to hear a story of sexual abuse of an elementary age girl and not feel hurt. Try. If you can hear that and not hurt.... well, I don't know that I want to know you. Hurt is exactly the emotion we should experience in reaction to this situation. Hurt and perhaps anger. Concern. All are good emotions.
So why when I feel hurt do people assume that I have not healed?
But they do. If I am interested in abuse because I have a heart to reach out to girls who are abused, they say, "she is obsessed with that topic." Yes. I am. I am passionate about bringing healing to the hurting because I know there is hope. If I cry because sometimes it still hurts, they say, "she is not over it. She is still damaged."
"Harry" said that that day he met with us. That I "obviously" was still damaged from being abused and I "should work on that".
If I was a child whose mother had died when she was eight, and it was Mother's day, and I felt sad and cried..... people would give me a hug, pass me a tissue, invite me over, be sympathetic. But if I am a child who was sexually abused, and something makes me sad, and I cry.... people shake their heads and whisper that "she is not over it.... don't know if she will ever be the same... still damaged."
It is not fair.
I don't need anyone to do anything. I don't need more counseling about it. I don't need help. I don't need to recover. I just need permission to sometimes be hurting about what happened way back then.
That is all.
But I can't. I am silent. Because right now, I'm too tired to fight another battle. I'm too tired to stand up for the right of those who have been injured and say it is not ok to hurt them again. I just have had enough. So I am silent about how I feel. I keep it inside, and I want to cry, but I don't. The book is titled "Speak", but I am silent.
All I want is a hug, but what I will get is judgement.
Because even when I am coping with the stress of a trauma and of losing so many friends and coworkers to being killed for the name of Christ, when I struggle... it is all about that "well, you know, she was abused, and she is not over it yet."
As if, to them, it is my identity - the damaged one.
I'm not, you know.
That is not who I am.
Just how they see me.