Sigh. It’s going to be one of those posts. A post in which I tell you how much I am not cut out to be a pastor’s wife, and frankly sometimes don’t care about some of the expectations placed on me.
The other night I had the opportunity to attend something called a “clergy-spouse get together”. Already I can tell you are INSANELY jealous of me because you are thinking that this must have been a wild party. Pastor’s wives, no clergy around, whooping it up! Well if you don’t want your dreams crushed I suggest you stop reading now.
Now this was not my first clergy-spouse get together, it was the second. But the first one was not voluntary on my part. I had been told that Jacob and I were going to a clergy financial planning seminar. Clergy tend to be in debt from seminary and this was an opportunity to learn how to manage that debt and save for the future. Well we get there and I am told the women will be leaving their husbands to the important business and us ‘gals’ will go have a fun chat. I have a degree in economics, I was looking forward to this financial planning session, but I go along with the ‘gals’.
We’re taken to this room and this lady that is leading us starts things off by reading us a POEM. A POEM! And then we have to discuss our feelings about the poem. And then it turns into a time where the clergy-spouses complain about their husbands and how much they work. I did not take off a day of work to hear a poem and bash my husband. I HAVE A DEGREE IN ECONOMICS AND I’M BEING READ A POEM ABOUT JESUS AT A FINANCIAL PLANNING SEMINAR! And I don’t want to bash my husband, he’s a really great guy in my opinion. Yeah he works a lot, but he always makes time for me and appreciates all I do for him. So my first clergy-spouse shindig did not go so well.
Back to this past week. I happen to be attending this clergy-spouse event with a lovely young woman, also a clergy spouse. We are friends and hadn’t seen each other in a while so it was an excellent opportunity to catch up. I would reveal my friend’s name but she is a very gracious and kind woman and I wouldn’t want her reputation tainted by her association with me.
Me, an unfit clergy spouse. You read me right. I just don’t seem to fit the mold. For one, I work. CRAZY I KNOW. For two, I am younger than 30 (only 3% of Methodist ministers, and thus their spouses, are under the age of 35). For three, I am tone-deaf, absolutely, can’t carry a tune, tone-deaf. So every time we have a sing along, and that happens more often than you, or even myself, would think, I am the girl in the back mouthing the words. Which just makes me look like I don’t love Jesus, because if I did, I’d be signing beautifully and loudly.
So the evening starts off with this praise band playing contemporary hymns, lovely enough. Then people start standing and singing. This is where I start to panic, I can’t sing! My lovely friend can sing, and I turn to her and ask if we needed to stand. Luckily her feet were killing her from wearing some very cute, yet uncomfortable shoes. So we sat and continued our chat while others sang.
The band finishes up, and the host starts talking. I am looking forward to this. Perhaps we’ll talk about the trials and joys of being a clergy-spouse? Perhaps we’ll just mingle and talk? Maybe we’ll get crazy and dance on the tables! Well I don’t know what happened because we ditched.
You read me right, I, a clergy-spouse, ditched out of a clergy-spouse event. My reason is not good, but I’ll tell you anyways. After the band finished playing this host that I thought was going to speak to us about something, anything, proceeded to do 37 minutes of introductions. 37 minutes of introducing women with various titles and accomplishments. No, actually, that is wrong. The women we were introduced to as they walked up on stage were women whose husbands had titles and accomplishments. And yes, behind every succesful spouse is an equally wonderful supportive spouse. BUT COME ON! 37 MINUTES!
So my friend and I keep saying to each other ‘just let me know when you want to leave’, because we figure there is strength in numbers. So after the 37 minutes of introductions the host then says that we are to turn to are table partners and discuss the circumstances of our up bringing. Did we grow up on a farm like her? Did we grow up in the city? My lovely friend and I have had enough. We came to catch up with each other and other acquaintances and did not want to discuss if we had grown up on a farm.
So I ask her what time it is, and say , ‘oh my we need to go!’ We stand and this other clergy-spouse across the table shoots me a look that lets me know,that she knows, I’m full of crap and the look also conveys the sentiment of ‘you are going to BURN for this’.
We make a break for it but on the way out we stop to get a drink at this cafe they had there. We both get tea and take it to my car and sit there planning what to do next. The tea is hot so we take the lids off to let them cool. We’re chatting and giggling about the look we got when we left. All of a sudden the HAND OF GOD swoops down and I am suddenly covered in boiling hot tea. I mean it, one minute the tea is just sitting there and the next I am trying not to scream because my skin is ON FIRE. I even had a welt on my stomach. I would have posted a pic of the welt, but that wouldn’t be very clergy-spouse-like of me.
So I’m cleaning up the mess, and I turn to my friend and say “this is the hand of God, punishing me for ditching.” My friend reassured me that God does not work that way. I know this, I think, but then her husband, A PASTOR, comes out and we recount the story and I mention that I think God is punishing me. And he laughs and says ‘yup that’s how God works’. Thanks PASTOR, lets joke about the retributive God theory. I know he’s joking. But then I realize, the look I got from that other clergy-spouse was a look that conveyed I was going to burn for my actions, and now I am literally burning…coincidence?
Maybe, maybe not.
Maybe I’ll just not take the lid off my hot tea anymore.