“Is that pepper on your fries?” Larry asked me. He was sitting across from me as together we enjoyed the fine dining experience Eastern
“Yes,” I said.
“You are so weird.”
“It’s true. You’re the sort of person one wants to hide away from the world lest she be ruined…Amy Scissorhands.”
“Ha, I’ll take that as a compliment.”
The simple exchange was the turning point in what had been a dismal day. He had been unreservedly and rightfully angry with me only a couple hours ago.
“She put up with my ranting,” he told Martha the next morning.
“I would have been worried without it,” I said.
“We have a very honest relationship.”
Outside of my family Larry is one of the few people that I feel is fully aware of my faults while still admiring of my strengths, even those I can’t yet acknowledge. With him, I feel as though I am not on a pedestal, but I am precious. He is one of the greatest challenges and greatest blessings of this new life.
I don’t know how to describe the past days. I didn’t write yesterday at all. I couldn’t muster up the energy to do much of anything after work. I did call Laura and tell her I had a hard day. This seemingly insignificant action was rather a monumental one for me. I tend to wait and talk about my struggles when they can be referred to in the past tense. It wasn’t a bad day and I knew that. It was a day of learning, hopefully of growth. I made a mistake. Partly from inexperience, partly from insecurity, I failed to ask the proper questions and wound up paying the consequences. Wasted resources, an extended road trip, an already wounded woman left waiting a full hour. This was when Larry expressed his vexation and I sat silently, holding back tears, planning the resignation speech I’d give to Martha when we got back to the office. Fortunately one of the classes we are teaching the women of Healing Rain is Self-Esteem. The text addresses distorted thinking, including the idea that if you make one mistake it means you’ll never get anything right. I thought of all the times I’d quit. I have never been fired, I always quite. As for relationships, I am fond of quoting, “everyone brings something to a relationship, to my relationships I always bring the end.” But I knew, I know, this doesn’t have to be.
“I’m fighting my all or nothing thinking,” I finally said to Larry after we’d had a brief break from one another.
“I know you are. Don’t allow that negative self-talk.”
“I’m trying.” It was everything I could do to keep from bursting into tears.
Later we interviewed a woman who has experienced every tragedy in the book. Physical, sexual, mental abuse. Emotional disorders. Death in the family. Betrayal of lovers. And perhaps the worst of all, no one to hear her story. She was a beautiful girl, mid-twenties, long dark curly hair, grey-blue eyes and olive skin. She alternately smiled and wept as we spoke. The one person she has to support her is her mother who is almost entirely deaf.
“What are you looking for in a recovery center?” Larry asked.
“Someone to talk to,” she responded.
I feel so frustrated and angry right now. There are some mournful things that have happened at work I cannot write publicly about because of the confidentiality our program promises. Poor Sheila bears the brunt of my pent up emotions. Every aggressive nerve in my body is ready to jump on her. I’m not accustomed to anger being the out-pouring of my skinned heart. We did go for a beautiful walk today on the trail where I found her. The sun was low, the air was cool. We walked through the damp grass, following the sunset into town where we laid down and watched the pink clouds fade.
Today’s bible study was our first day of tackling the book of Job. I don’t know why so much suffering is allowed. Job asked why those who would suffer are even born. What’s the point? His question was never answered, rather, his right to even ask was questioned. Yet, I don’t believe that God is threatened by our questions. Part of drawing along side him can be saying, I don’t understand, but I trust you, will you tell me what I ought to do? “Why,” doesn’t get us very far. Better to ask, “how shall I respond?”