Monday, September 19, 2005

The Pastor's Day Off

A particular church woman only calls our house with very bad news. She called tonight at 8:54 p.m., but my husband was still at a meeting. He's on a board for an organization that provides housing and treatment for homeless people and once a month, they have long meetings.

When he returned home a bit later, I met him at the door with the news that a man from our church died tonight. He immediately headed back out to assist the new widow. In the past year, this particular woman's adult daughter died unexpectedly, too, so she's had a rough year.

My husband returned home at about 10:00 p.m. He said the funeral will be Saturday and, "Don't make any plans," and I said (please slap me), "Well, that's the story of my life." And it is, but I don't mind.

Truly, I do take these things in stride. I am concerned for the woman who lost her husband tonight. I understand that her loss trumps my weekend plans. Perhaps if my dad hadn't died almost exactly 16 years ago, I'd resent my husband's job constantly intruding on our lives.

But when my dad died, the pastor I called said, "Well, I'm not sure we can get the church set up for a funeral. The janitor's been out of town." He didn't come over to sit with us. He didn't offer condolences. His cold-heartedness still stuns me.

So even though I am so far behind the scenes, I am almost invisible, I support my husband as he heads out into the night to sit with someone in their loss and grief. It's what I do and it helps him do what he needs to do.


Blogger Desiree said...

You are a very good woman

I know it truly helps having a pastor that you trust to be there with you during the funeral and helping you know that someone does care.

I know my mom was with Hospice and at first we didn't know who was going to do her funeral services and then one day she said why don't I ask Suzanne, the Chaplin from Hospice. I thought it was an excellent idea.

I felt like I was intruding on her but it helped knowing that she was there that day to help me through the most horrible time of my life.

I am so grateful to pastors and others in their field that give up so much to help us during our time of sorrow.
Like you say, when you have a pastor that doesn't care or anything like that it just makes an horrible situation even worse.

You are a wonderful person to be so understanding! Don't ever forget how wonderful you are!


12:16 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

What you do is very important, Mel. I can't speak for your husband, but I am sure that you make his job much easier (so to speak).

8:10 AM  
Blogger Marguerite said...

I have an former work mate (we're both retired now) who only contacts me when someone has died.

He'll even contact me if he knew the person and I didn't, and try to explain to me what they looked like and what department they worked in.

His wife sends out a Christmas letter detailing deaths and serious illnesses of friends and family from the past year. How cheery.

What's with these people?

8:25 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Lately I've been thinking about how lovely it would be to have lay people set up a weekday worship service for pastors.

No preparation necessary. Just come sit in the pew and join in the worship.

And, when their family experiences a crisis, someone loving and kind will show up at their door and sit with them in their pain.

Maybe the worship leader and the janitor could come too.

Maybe that's heaven.

8:32 AM  
Blogger sallyrogers said...

That poor woman! Thank goodness she has your husband to lean on spiritually through this time. And, while I see what you mean about your position being almost invisible, know that lay people admire the spouse of a minister as much, and sometimes more, than the minister. I know the people around you must see your quiet support as a gift from heaven.

8:52 AM  
Blogger The Dung Beetle said...

Sounds like you and your husband make a very good team.

9:43 AM  
Blogger methatiam said...

At my church, we truly understand the support and the strength behind the pastor and we appreciate our pastor?s wife and the fact that he is available to us in large part because she is available to him.

I don?t know that we have told her as much though. Maybe it?s just too obvious to the rest of us how important she is.

Maybe it?s that apparent to your people too.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Julana said...

Pastors' wives are not invisible to me, since my mom was one. I usually think they have a harder job than the minister.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous surcie said...

I wish I could say that I'm always a staunch supporter of my husband's career. He works late lots of nights, his Saturdays are up for grabs (weddings, retreats, etc.) and Sundays are, of course, an especially busy day for him. Sometimes I just miss his him and wish he had more time to play with our son. I don't wish that the congregation appreciated me more--I wish they appreciated him more. A lot of people seem to think ministers only work on Sundays, and my husband puts in more than 40 hrs every week, as I'm sure yours does, too.

10:12 AM  

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