The day I yelled at a stranger

In the parking lot, trying to drop Jackie off for camp, on our way to start our conference serving Ukrainians. It was a hot Sunday, and I was going to give the main talk to an uncertain number of attendees. Needless to say, we were on edge and we didn’t even know it.

The drop-off location changed. There were 80 families there, trying to drop off their kids. We decided to pick up the car and reach the new location as we had to leave right after to our own event. Pulling out, a big truck stopped behind us. Conrad waved him to move as we were half way out of our spot, and the woman next to the driver waved her hand that she won’t move. Conrad took a risk backing up just a bit more and we completely shattered our left back light. Conrad got angry. I got angry. He stepped out of the car saying not so nice things in English. the driver realized my husband is a foreigner but he kept asking if we don’t have a review mirror. I growled. He backed down. He said I can call the police if I want but his car is not working that’s why he didn’t move it (after he just parked behind us as we were getting ready to leave). We didn’t have time to wait around for the police. His car didn’t have a scratch. We lost light. And I lost my temper.

For a week a carried with me the embarrassment of having lost it in front of 80 evangelical families. My dad tried to find a replacement back-light as we were driving to the brother with ukraine. Unsuccessfully.

During this time, that was intense in and of itself, the memory of our parking lot incident lingered. It made me cry every time I remembered it. I was angry at my anger but I was also pulled into remembering all the car incidents we’ve had. And how in all of them my husband was driving. I know traffic in Romania is aggravating. And his expectations (of everyone following the law) work against him. He doesn’t drive defensively, in an alert state. He assumes people we stay in their lane and not drive into ours breaking our review mirror. Or that people will park their shopping cart in their proper places and not leave them behind our car. Or that roads don’t have such big potholes that they destroy our oil tank.

I have entered the danger zone of disappointment and distrust. Due to my husband’s language barrier and my natural disposition to take care of things, to take responsibility and solve issue, because I also need and drive the car, I took care of every car aspect in our family. But it is not something I enjoy doing. It’s out of necessity. Paper-work, registration, technical inspections, visits to the mechanic. For the last visit conrad went to drop off and pick up the car. He managed just fine.

Today J asked me when do I plan to fix the light. Talking about it made me choke up. I told her that we decided to let daddy take care of it, so he understands the price of fixing such mistakes. Because usually I take care of it, but this is valuable lesson that needs to be learned. “Aha”, she says. “Just like we don’t appreciate or keep our room clean when you clean for us. We only appreciate it and maintain it so longer, when we do the work ourselves. I think it’s a good plan that daddy fixes the light. We know you work hard mommy. And we want you to take care of yourself so you don’t die before time.”

This is a wild season of too many people, too much noise, too many demands. SALT was intense. After 4 days of preparation with full time team around us, and a full week of refugee center visits, of events hosting, of serving families, and brainstorming, I have hit rock bottom. We drove into the mountains to pick J up from camp, and it was a narrow path. That evening we had our last day of the SALT event. The hottest day this month. Lots of details to juggle and people to align. J was covered in mosquito bites. And she was pretty sleep deprived after a week of late nights and early mornings. Ivy was adaptable and amiable. In the end it all worked out, and they both hugged and kissed me all day. It was a crazy switch for Jackie but in retrospect it was perfect to ease her back into our own crazy life, while getting attention from us and close friends.

I cried a lot not he way home from picking up J. Both girls slept in the back as we drove for two hours with the windows down. We listen to music or we listened to silence. Conrad held my hand in a kind gentle loving way. Not to take something but to give without expectation.

I believe physical touch enables of an exchange of energy. Some people, when they hug you, when they touch you, they give positive energy. And others just drain you of it. This is why I don’t like to be touched. More often than not, people drain me of energy. Or they ooze negative energy. I don’t have a science about it. I don’t see any aura, I don’t see colors, I just feel it in my body clear as day.

I have been very angry at my husband. And I took my time to filter my thoughts so they don’t wound him, but that they express the truth. I hate regretting speaking up. This time though, he had the wisdom to listen. And to listen well. He made space. He didn’t get impatient. And I felt he heard me. He heard how serious this is. Though it may seem trivial in a few months or a year. Right now our exhaustion, our sleep deprivation, our emotional depletion… we walk on dangers terrain for our own marriage. I can see why and how people decide to separate. A seasonal madness, circumstantial and all, if we let ourselves be ruled by emotions and hormones and tiredness, we can make decisions that we’ll forever regret. My commitment to my husband and family is cerebral. And my feelings follow suit. I felt like running away from it all. I need to recharge. But it doesn’t mean I have to leave forever.

This week I am trying to take on fewer responsibilities. Less social activities. Though tonight I meet with the MOPS moms and Wednesday I go to TheWoman event. I had contributed an article to their print edition and I want to support a friend (the organizer) by attending. On Friday we have our second to last post adoption evaluation and believe it or not, this schedule for the week seems light compared to how it has been.

It has been dark. It has been intense. It has been tearful. But in all this, knowing that God redeems, that God is kind, that I am His daughter and I can rest in Him… even just writing this I get shivers of hope.

May we never forget the truth!