Confirmation

“Oh Rebekah, I told Pastor, that on Wednesday night, for a brief moment in time, all was right with the world.”
~A nice and well-meaning Church Lady~
I just smiled.
She doesn’t know and she doesn’t need to.
She doesn’t need to know that the blessed moment in time, the 2:30PM to midnight when my husband lovingly returned for the questioning on Wednesday, was the first time I’d been alone at night since we moved.
I was gonna go to church up here that night, but didn’t have the car seats.   I was gonna go to the grocery store but didn’t have the van.  I assumed he would take the car.  I hadn’t communicated my plans.
No big deal.  It was nice to get the boys to bed early.  I could read for a while.
I was fine til about 9:30PM.  Then I started to notice the sounds of unfamiliar trees.  It was the awful feeling that something was very wrong with the world.  It was then I felt the terrible fear.  I was alone.  Out in the woods.  By myself.
Because of them.
Again.
~~~
The pastor is a professional.
 He is part of a community just like a doctor or a mailman is part of a community. In the minds of the people, he is part of the community, but only insofar as he serves his very specific purpose, which is, to be there when they need him.
Church, Confirmation, Funerals, Weddings, Counseling, Random office visits, Baptisms, praying at public and personal events, shut in visits, hospital calls, emergency personal problems, non-emergency personal problems, etc.
What has always seemed so odd to me that it never seems to occur to anyone that he is a real person with a family and a ‘normal’ life like all of them. Except that he isn’t.
I am just an extension of him. I am a superhuman. So that fact that I have three, four, five kids just adds to my ‘superhumanness’, not my own actual need for human care. Unless you really take the time to get to know us (which most people don’t), we are just the congregational eye candy, an accessory of the pastor if you will.
The very nature of the pastoral office lends itself to intimacy.  Christ and his bride, shepherd and flock, this is a very deep and binding and intimate relationship, one of selfless love and tender care.
So it makes sense to me that I have struggled with so many feelings of abandonment and betrayal. I have lived with watching my husband’s affections poured out on this other bride, on person after person after person.
It makes sense why him leaving probably feels so awful. Who will take care of us now?   Who will baptize my baby now?   Who will be here for us when we need him most now?
That is what I have lived with for seven years.
And now it feels like I have my husband back. It feels like I have a normal life back. But what does that mean for the congregation? Now they are the ones in a hard spot. The spot of PAIN, doubt, growth, and learning what it means to blindly trust.
I am not sure if it was because I was just at a very needy point in my life with all the babies or what. My husband did not willfully neglect or abandon me. He made mistakes but not out of ill will or lack of love for me. He just had to do what he had to do, and a lot of times that meant I went without.
The lawyer goes home, the doctor goes home, the plumber goes home. The pastor is always the pastor, because that is the sole reason he is there. The pastor never goes home because he doesn’t have one.
~~~
We all went back for Confirmation today.
It was good to see everyone.  I miss them all.  I love them all.
But it’s good to be home.

6 thoughts on “Confirmation

  1. Oh friend, now you make me cry early in the morning. I often thought when I would see the week’s meetings/functions that I should call and see if you needed help with the kids or just wanted somebody to talk to. But I didn’t. Seems like it always comes back to “coulda, shoulda, woulda”. And I’m sincerely sorry for my selfishness. I can’t speak for anyone else but for me I’m so, so sorry! Love you all!

    • Carol, you did reach out to me. You wrote to me several times last year. You listened and read with a non-judgmental eye and ear. You offered your help with the kids. All those things meant the world to me. There will always be those coulda, shoulda, wouldas. We’ve all got them. My dad always told me when you feel a strong prompting like that, a specific thought to reach out and help someone or doing what you know is the right thing, not to ignore it, but to act upon it. In my selfishness I have not always done that either. But I forgive you, and I’m sorry too, for the bad feelings I have harbored in my heart, and for the ways I failed to act. Thanks for listening and understanding and still loving anyway. Love you too!

  2. “Unless you really take the time to get to know us (which most people don’t), we are just the congregational eye candy, an accessory of the pastor if you will.” Rebekah – this one “got me”. Thank you! ((hugs))

  3. Reblogged this on Church Set Free and commented:
    “Unless you really take the time to get to know us (which most people don’t), we are just the congregational eye candy, an accessory of the pastor if you will.”

    We all talk about the minister, the pastor, the cleric, the collars. And they are important. But are they more important than any others? And if the answer (in reality) is “yes” – then why?

    Rebekah makes me think, cry, laugh and … just come more alive. Rebekah is as special and wonderful as any collared cleric. She lives her relationship with her Lord.

  4. Sister, this reminds me of something that has been true to my family as well. My wife was just as you, though when counseling others she was always with me as I believe a wife has a ministry independent and yet interwoven with her husband’s.
    I learned early on, that even us Pastor’s can get our eyes on the wrong thing as we “attempt” to love the Lord through His people unconditionally. It truly brought home the Apostle Paul’s thoughts on having a family and having to divide your attention. Part of it, I learned had to deal with teaching a congregation, not just to NOT rely 100% on the Pastor, but the Pastor is only a PART of a church ministry! Everyone who has accepted Christ into their hearts has a calling AND a gift to fulfill that calling but many churches don’t teach that because being a Pastor can and often does entail an ego trip and some who “Pastor” love doing it all and being the leader, when in essence, we are just a “servant” but a servant with limitations.
    Once I finally found the place the Lord truly wanted me to be in as a Pastor, I had time for my family and spouse, but not before they also had to learn as I did. Our Lord and Love is gracious and merciful when are hearts and spirit are honest and open before Him. When we are willing to submit our will totally to His in all things, is when we can finally be a “success” in however we have been called to serve Him!!
    This is an AWESOME message and I for one thank the Lord that it is being shared! It is important for others to see this perspective and maybe, just maybe, THEIR ministries/calling will be realized!!
    God bless you for a wonderful message!!!

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