**How can we as ministers be more sensitive to individual families and their unique circumstances? When unfortunate events like this do occur, how can such strains be smoothed over, even after such passages of time? What are some possible solutions for handling these kinds of sensitive situations?
By An Unintentional Trauma Inflictor
We had a home teacher who wouldn’t call first. He just would drop by, despite being asked not to. One hot Sunday I came home, stripped down to my Gs and sat on the sofa to nurse my hungry and very crabby baby. A few minutes after getting settled, our doorbell rang. It was our HT, dropping by as usual.
Because of the layout of our furniture, where I was sitting, he couldn’t see me; but if I got up to leave the room, he would be able to see me through the side of the bay window. As I considered whether I could haul my post partum body over the back of the sofa, my husband asked if he should tell our HT to get lost…
I honestly don’t remember what happened next, but weeks later I learned he had heard through the open window. I regret that my husband chose a really unpleasant way to express his frustration about the unexpected visit… We were just in such an awkward position… and in our own home.
When I found out that this brother heard and he and his wife were really upset, my husband was out of town, so instead of addressing it immediately, I waited because I wanted to counsel with my husband about what to do. He wanted to do nothing, and I agreed even though I was really uncomfortable about it.
Soon the family moved, and that seemed like it would be the end of it; only 29 years later, we still see them at baby blessings and missionary things and weddings, and it’s still really uncomfortable. I worry that our not addressing this issue and apologizing means that we are spoiling their enjoyment of every special occasion.
Part of the reason I didn’t apologize is I felt like it was between my husband and this brother, and I didn’t know how to explain away or excuse his poor choice of words.. I didn’t want it to be a non apology… “Hey, if you had called first like we asked you to, this never would have happened.” I didn’t want to throw my husband under the bus… “Hey, it was all his fault, I had nothing to do with it.”
Now I work with the wife at my new job and it’s miserable. I offered an apology. She said, “Too little too late”… I didn’t explain the whole ridiculous situation… Because it’s so much, I just said, “I know my husband and I had caused offense by saying something rude and compounded it by not addressing it for nearly 30 years and we are sorry.” She said I didn’t do anything until her discomfort became a problem for me and she’s not wrong… I’m currently looking for another job.