We talked about how the last year in Brazil was really hard and we (I esp.) were in dire need of a break...a recovery time...a respite. Then we got back to the states (May 2012) and that was not even almost a possibility for the first 6 months. We finally got into a house of our own in October and were able to start unpacking our suitcases for the first time since the previous May (that's right...May - October living out of suitcases). I thought that we were going to do the work of getting the house set up (which meant finding the furniture we needed through garage sales, etc. and pulling stuff out of storage)...a LOT of work. Then we'd also be going through the holidays (which included going to all of the special events that we could, as this would be our one Thanksgiving and Christmas here for a few more years). Then...finally I was hoping sometime in January (2013) we would be able to come back to 'normal human' pace...and even finally get our DOWN TIME so that we could recover and heal. Which was even more needed now given the May 2012 - December 2012 of complete and utter chaos and craziness. Oh how my soul needed healing. Oh how my body needed healing.
And here's where we pick up with more of the story.
Please remember Joel's post...and that he's already admitted to all of this. Knowing what he knows now, it is painful for him to revisit this...and he is appalled by his actions. This isn't me badmouthing him. This is just us elaborating on the details...so that a clear picture of what happened can be seen...and then deeper things that we've learned from all of this can be discussed in the very near future. Again though...don't despise the set up. This part is needed.
This is a slightly revised (to protect the names of others) version of part of a timeline I was asked to write out for a counselor (the 3rd one we tried). The timeline was written in March 2014.
January 2013 - We had no major plans until April. I was excited about the 3 months that I hoped would be some down time for us. We continued to work on the house, but lots had been done and it was live-able now. I hoped to get back to homeschooling the kids, getting back on track with health…just generally settling in to our house and our lives a bit. Those hopes were quickly dashed. 1) Joel scheduled to speak at two churches without talking to me about it first. And a change of plans also came up…2) instead of going to a conference in Florida in April, he asked if we could go in February instead. I reluctantly said ok. 3) Then someone called and asked if we could go to a missions conference (again requiring packing up and staying somewhere else) also in February. And thus, my excitement about our three months of downtime was gone.
February 2013 - Prep for travel, travel (when you have 4 small children, travel is never just this simple ‘throw some clothes in a bag and go’…esp. for the mother who actually does all the planning and packing, etc.), a few days of recovery and trying to get back into a routine after travel…and that was our February.
March 2013 - We got settled into a good routine. Health-wise (eating right and exercising) we had a whopping three good weeks. Smh, lol...ridiculous that that was something to get excited about...that that was the longest amount of down time we had. During those three weeks though, there were still things coming at me…we started receiving emails from others at the beginning of March about our travel plans for April. But, I just ignored those emails and let Joel handle that…I had to. Also, Joel told me that he had gotten a revelation about us and that things were going to change (they didn’t).
April 2013 - We drove from Louisiana to Pennsylvania to visit family and participate in a family member’s wedding. Although it is always great to see family, it was a completely miserable trip. Partly because Joel and I were no longer functioning as a team…and hadn’t been for a long time. Partly because of the living arrangements while there. Partly because of the transition times while there (the trip involved ‘a move’ in the middle…just more hassle). Not to mention the 24 hour driving time, each way. Just incredibly exhausting to an already exhausted and pushed-to-the-limit family. Has travel always been that way? No. Obviously not. But, at this point, with all of the stressful things that had happened in our lives in the past year and a half at that point (since the summer of 2011 in Brazil), and all the stress and ‘uncaringness’ I was feeling from my husband at that point…it was exhausting to make a trip like this.
May 2013 - We got back from that trip and knew that ‘no more’…we could NOT travel anymore, we HAD to have some down time. Because of how miserable the trip to PA had been, Joel was starting to finally realize that something had to be done differently. And May was pretty uneventful as far as Joel pushing us to do things. But, May did bring something else. We got called about a set of 2 year old triplets who needed a home urgently. This brought along two things with it…1) sadness and more anger about our situation…if we weren’t in the situation we were in (because of some major root issues deeply rooted in Joel)…if we had just been able to retreat and recover/heal and then move on, we would’ve been back in Brazil by then. And those triplets would have been a perfect addition to our family. 2) re-evaluation. Although stressful and not perfect timing it seemed…were these babies worth it to return to Brazil ASAP to rescue? Could we turn things around for their sake? We ultimately pursued it, but they needed more ‘urgency’ than we could provide, even though we were talking about packing up ASAP and heading back the following week. It was just another sad blow though. We missed out, on TRIPLETS, because we were here, stuck in our crap.
June 2013 - Joel asked me about going to a training that we need to go to (interesting how just the month before we had finally seen and realized that traveling was NOT good for us anymore...that we NEEDED some down time; but, here it was happening again). This training happens every few months…and each and every time, Joel brings it up and asks me if we can travel to go to it…no matter what is going on with us. Again…non-stop. No retreat allowed.And this is when things started to really change. We were about a year and a half in...and it had been over a year since we had come back to the states. This is when I finally came to the realization that this wasn't something that Joel was just going to 'snap out of.' This was something that would require a miracle to fix.
Also in June, Joel had a training that he really wanted to go to. I practically begged him to not go. He went anyway. He just left. That had never happened in our marriage…where one of us just does something even though the other person doesn’t comply (he had bought plane tickets to that other big event secretly and planned to do that, but he hadn’t in the end; and he had planned visits/speaking to churches that winter without asking me, but that didn’t involve him leaving). He left. Something happened in me after that. And we were no longer friends.
Next time we will continue with the timeline.