Thursday, January 14, 2010

An Afternoon Visit

I ran across this post yesterday on a facebook group that I am a member of called His Help Meet. Valerie Basham is a pastor's wife and has a website called The Bishop's Wife. She is the author of the following article which she posted on her blog on October 21,2009. I have found that loneliness is a feeling that most pastor's wives struggle to deal with and could relate to.

"Hello! Thank you for coming over! Come on in! I have some cookies ready for us. Do you like soda, or just water? I have both, so help yourself there on the counter. I could also make some tea, if you would like. I have some cute china tea cups that I never use.You would like some? Oh good! I’ll put on the kettle! Just make yourself at home.The children are with my husband right now. They finished school early today. It was such a beautiful day, he offered to take them all to the park so I could have some “me” time. Usually, it is just me! I use the time alone to clean something, or I’ll piddle on my website, writing something. I don’t have many hobbies. We have four active children, as you know, so funds can run tight. Funds are tight for everyone these days, though! It is so much nicer to sit and visit with someone – in the flesh – than just sit at a computer, talking to myself. I was so delighted when you called!

May I show you around?Really the house isn’t so special, I mean, I feel like I don’t make it very special. I’m a terrible decorator! I am not a great cook either, but we get by okay, that’s why I have these ten extra pounds that won’t budge. Someday, I want to paint the bedrooms, and have nice things on the walls. For now, you’ll have to look at the photos of my family. If I do re-decorate, though, I don’t think I’ll take those down. I love my family more than anything on Earth.

The church owns our home, so we are next door to the church. May I show you?There it is. Oh, sorry! You can’t see it, can you? Let me open the blinds more. Now, that’s better. It’s that beautiful red-brick building down there. That’s our church. We have some wonderful people that attend there. I love heading down this little hill, on that sidewalk, to go to church. My husband works very hard to preach in love and admonition to the people of Grace. He is the most humble man I know. He enjoys preaching, but at the same time, he is often weighed down with the enormous responsibility of leading people spiritually, and feeding them from God’s Word. He works hard to be sure he is only preaching the Word, and not his or another man’s opinions. That building is a constant reminder to me, and to him, of what we do. Most of the time, I love seeing it out of my bedroom window. Some days, though, I look at it and see a looming giant that is sucking away my energy and isolating me from the world.

People seem to think I’m different, because my husband’s a pastor. They seem to think my husband is on some “higher plane” from everyone else, too! It’s kinda funny to me, now, because (laughing) I used to think the very same thing about my pastor when I was younger! I see things from the other side now. I sometimes wonder if people think we walk around in choir robes singing the Hallelujah Chorus all day. Nothing could be further from the truth! We are very real people, with very real struggles.

I can’t tell you how glad I am to see you. I feel so very lonely so much of the time. I have recently been hurt by several people – oh, nothing major – but, it hurts just the same. I don’t feel like I can confide in anyone because I’m supposed to be so holy, upright and wonderful. If I let my hair down, and just share my heart, I’m afraid they will criticize me, or my husband, and that would really break my heart. I would never want to hurt my husband. The truth is, I am frail. I lean upon the Lord each day for strength.

So many people have jobs they lean on, or their family ties to strengthen them. I do not. My family is gone. My Dad’s in heaven, and my brother and sister live hundreds of miles away. My Mom is about an hour away, but she is very busy. I speak to her on the phone regularly though, and I do get to see her from time to time. I know this is all part of God’s plan – to have my loved ones so far away on Earth, or in Heaven – but it makes life seem so much more lonely. I am so thankful that I have a very close bond with my husband and my children. My husband is such a good listener. He knows how to be not only a great husband to me, but a wonderful friend, as well.

I’ve tried opening up to other ministry wives, but I’ve found it just makes me feel worse. I once e-mailed a lady that I had known closely in my teen years. I shared with her some of my struggles. She wrote me back a letter that sounded more like a sermon! I never wrote her again. I was already hurting, and her words hurt me even more. I’ve talked with pastor’s wives, but they usually say “The Lord should be your friend. He is always with you.” To which, my flesh would like to say, “REALLY? Thank you SO much! I didn’t know that!” in as sarcastic of a tone that I can muster. I know the Lord is with me, and He is my best friend. But, He understands I’m dust. People don’t seem to have this same understanding. I have the Lord, first and foremost. I also need people now and then. God created us to need one another.

Oh my! Look at the time! I know you need to get on home. I’m sorry to have rambled on and on. I appreciate your listening and not judging me. It was so nice to just let my hair down for a while.I hope you will come again soon. Next time, I promise, I won’t do all the talking!"

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