Yesterday, I wrote about protecting people from reality. It does not do them or ourselves any good to do that, and I believe this is why people think they can believe whatever they want to. If we admit things are the way they are, then we have to face the pain and the consequences.
Yes, friends, we do. And while it is traumatic at first to rethink everything we once knew, there are real friends on the other side of this process. Oh, and not everybody leaves you either.
I told Jake Bruehl yesterday I wonder what would have happened if we had the wisdom we have now post-soccer trauma when that horrendous event happened. It was such a shocking event and our instinct was to keep going and to make sure people did not have to feel this intense pain we felt. The institution too. While the system did do everything right to protect the kid, it still was more about the institution than the person harmed. I think when it comes to systems, that is the only way it can work–but people inside the system can break that cycle and the system should honor that. Individuals can do what the system cannot when they see what the system cannot see.
What if Jake and I had the courage to say: No, we cannot keep going at this time. Jake cannot take on three more teams, for free, and coach his two other teams effectively. Also, we had our own lives to tend to as well. We were experiencing real grief and were living in a world that does not honor grief. We were taught to keep going. Do not deal with your pain b/c those are emotions we do not like. We do not want to live that reality.
I did go to my friends and tell them the truth, eventually. I was not an employee and I cared deeply about their children even though they had betrayed us on a deep level. I had no problem with them leaving. When my closest friend at the time called to say they were moving on, I completely understood. There was too much pain to keep going even if you were denying the reality of the pain. It was not until she said who they were following that I lost it. I knew then I could not trust my friends and my kids cannot be around theirs now for safety; although, they had already shut my child out any way to make this move. It was devastating on so many levels. This is why community is still hard for all of us. Also, they chose to believe their own truth when I told them. It was shocking.
The worst part was running into them at another game, which the league made sure would not happen again post this run-in, and they tried talking to my kids like everything was normal. I stood far away b/c I was not going to engage. Then when I get home, a friend sends me a FB post the coach made that was aimed at me. He used our club slogan and made it about them and then did a hashtag #iknowyouspying. My friends texted me and told me I only cared about them if they were on the team. I had never felt so hurt in my life, and the accusations about me were the worst of it all. I had tried to protect people and this is what everyone thought of me.
So needless to say, this is why I struggled to get back into the game of life when I got to seminary. I needed the people around me to tell me over and over they loved me b/c the wounds of that previous moment needed a lot of healing. Words of affirmation are my love language in general, but before this moment, I overlooked the fact people rarely encouraged me with words of affirmation. I was fine lifting everyone else up and somehow feeling like it was lifting me up too. Now I needed it from those around me for me too. I want to play again, but I want to be trusted. In order for anyone to be able to do that, b/c they were trying–I had to learn to trust again.
Where would I be without my Guardian Angel who walked me through this trauma? She was there when it happened, and is still with me on the other side of pain. Three weeks from graduation, I am healed, as much as possible I should say–this is why I can share that story right now. I trust those around me with my whole heart. I want the beauty, and to get there requires trusting again. I can do it. I feel free.