“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.
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.