how do people deal/react to others from a traditional Christian background saying 'when you come back it's going to be a great testimony'?

I've gotta say I have to stifle some serious anger and just laugh it off or lightly agree

@sjcw I think for any emotional, public life event that people will ask you about (faith transition, relationship status, grief/loss) it can be helpful to have three scripts ready based on how close the relationship is, for example:
(1/?)

@sjcw

1. People who would sit in your front room "My cactus did die, we are all sad. Thank you for asking."
(2/3)

@sjcw

2. People who could sit in your kitchen
"My cactus did die, it turns out it got a rare plant virus. Everyone is sad, but Billy is taking it the hardest. Thanks so much fur asking."

3. People who are invited in your laundry room.
"My cactus did die, we are all very sad. Billy is taking it the hardest because he confused the watering schedule and is worried the virus thing is his fault. We aren't really sure what to say, but we are all trying to be supportive."

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@sjcw

Having some kind of basic script allows you to cope emotionally ahead and know what you want to say. That will help decrease your anxiety in the moment and make you feel more confident and hopefully for the other person more comfortable so you can move on to the conversation. For the people closest to you, you can actually tell them how those questions make you feel. I wouldn't give that to everybody because not every relationship deserves that much emotional labor.

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