Did I mention that my husband, a pastor, is leaving the pastorate as of July 1? After eighteen years in the ministry, he’s decided to veer off in a slightly different direction, one which does not require a sermon delivery every Sunday morning. And so, like a stage-coach turning into a pumpkin, I become a regular person, no longer a pastor’s wife.
Which is really fine by me. I never did take that class at Bible College: The Pastor’s Wife. I took Greek and Old Testament and even The Pastor and His Ministry because I never intended to become a pastor’s wife. For one thing, I don’t have the hair for it. For another, I’m introverted, not good at hand-shaking and wide smiles and inviting church ladies over for hot cups of tea in delicate china cups.
The sad thing, though, as I ponder our ten years in this church is that I’ve become close to virtually no one. No one really telephones me to see how I’m doing or to invite me to go anywhere. I put the blame on myself, of course. For one thing, there’s my pesky introverted personality. For another, my life since we’ve been here has been dominated by one clingy baby (my son) after the next (my daughter). And now that my daughter heads off to school, I’m homebound again because of my job (at home) working on the computer.
These outer circumstances cannot possibly tell the whole story. I have lived behind a moat in many ways since becoming pastor’s wife. Sure, there’s a bridge over the moat, but usually that bridge is in the upright and locked position.
I sense that people view me as a self-sufficient island, a woman who needs no shoulder to cry upon, no hand to hold, and in some ways that’s true. The older I get, the more confident I become, the less needy and desperate to funnel my sorrows into the nearest available ear. However, I think back to college when making friends was second-nature, the the inevitable drawing together of magnets with opposite poles. I miss that. I miss the immediate connection that I found with those friends so long ago. (Many of those friends are still dear to me.)
I don’t know. It just seems sad to me that I am leaving our church and I feel so disconnected already. I never let down my guard, never lowered the drawbridge and even though I am safe, I am untouched.
We’re not moving, so I imagine that friendships can continue to develop, but I mourn for what never was, for what never grew. I don’t quite understand it–I wonder if I’ve become so dull, so unapproachable, so glum that no one wants to hang out with me? Or is it that adult friendships among women with families and jobs and responsibilities are impossible to establish? I have tried–God knows I have tried–but nothing has caught fire. My attempts are like a pile of damp firewood, unable to respond to a spark, smoldering but never lighting.
I’m a fun girl, I really am. I was, at least. I hope to be again. Maybe that will be easier since I will no longer bear the title “Pastor’s Wife.” I’m passing along the tiara and sash.