Trees and stars
As F and I drive past some territory very familiar to me, I point out the window at the star that this town will begin lighting soon to commemorate the holiday season. F remarks that a star is a fairly safe symbol to put up and I agree.
Then he says, "Just so you know, it wouldn't bother me if you put a Christmas tree. It isn't really a religious symbol."
"I know, it's originally a pagan tradition," I agreed. "I'm glad you wouldn't mind a tree because I've been collecting ornaments for years and I'd hate to have to get rid of them." But something gave away my anxiety about that conversation--the way I covered our clasped hands with my other hand or the way my whole body tensed up.
F waited for a minute--maybe hoping we'd continue the conversation--and then gave me his patented reassuring statement: "We can have this conversation whenever you're ready. And I don't think that anything will come up that we can't handle." I nodded my head and then waiting just a minute before I changed the subject.