from a priest’s wife…published anonymously…
“So,” they ask, “what is it like to be the pastor’s wife?”
I usually smile and say something super-spiritual like, “It’s like a front row seat to the Work of God in people’s lives.” Yep, sounds good. Because, honestly, do you really want to know? That might take some more time.
Our family has few dinners together when the phone doesn’t ring because a church member has a “quick question?” A pastor cannot ignore the phone. It might be a real emergency. A real emergency, of course, would be “rehab,” “hospital,” “birth,” or “death.” But most people feel that their any need is always the most urgent.
Our children don’t always respond well to constant moves, critical parishioners, the public life that they were born into, which was decided for them.
We feel isolation because people don’t want to be friends with us, thinking we might judge them or that we might be too weirdly spiritual. Facebook friends don’t count. We’re talking face to face, “let’s do something together” friends.
This is a calling, and it is largely sacrificial. Even when you are a part of a “good” church where the people are fairly nice and you are paid a livable salary, there is a special burden to pastoring. It is not easy. It is not glamorous. And many times it is not super-spiritual. It’s work.
Because, after all, we are human. We are not super heroes, and we don’t have armor on our hearts. The priests are called to give their lives to the church, we are aware. Most of us do the very best we can to support them in this, and raise our families to love God and people. Most of us love the church, want to serve, want to be relational, want to use our gifts.
May I ask that the next time you talk to us, please first try to think of something encouraging to say. Heartfelt, of course. We don’t need pity. But we do need sincere encouragement and building up. Church work can be very wearying, and there are not many “thank you’s” attached. Most people find it easier to criticize, I know. But if we can all come together and think about one another as a team, putting aside personal agenda and thinking about serving together, it would go a long way to help this pastor’s wife to thrive alongside you and the church.
And to continue sit in that front row seat of God’s Work and be amazed.
Image: Public Domain