Nothing says, “You’ve had a long day,” like coming home only to change into pajamas and eat jumbo marshmallows while curled up on the couch.
My family has already attended church. Now we’re settling in for the Lions game as my mother prepares the feast. Yup, it’s officially Thanksgiving at home.
We’re traveling the Midwest this week, so not sure when the next post will come–it depends how long it takes me to get tired of my family (just kidding, Mom and Dad). At any rate, have a very blessed Thanksgiving!
I’ve been driving on rural roads since I learned how to drive. You know, no shoulder, unlit, gravel back roads. Even though the road my parents’ house is on is paved, many of my high school friends lived out in the middle of no where. I became quite adept at driving these roads.
Of course, then came college and the post college move to the small city, so my rural road skills became untouched. But now we live in a rural area again and the quickest way home from work is down a short gravel road and then onto a slightly paved road (where half the time you have to dodge the Amish buggies). At first I was unfazed by the thought of driving the country roads but then I realized I was struggling to navigate them at night. My first conclusion was that I was rusty. However, even though the time change means that I consistently drive these roads in the dark, I wasn’t regaining the feeling of comfort that I had back home. Oh where, oh where did my driving skills go?
Last night I finally figured out what the problem is. You see, this part of Indiana is flat, flat, flat. And while Iowa is far from mountainous, it does have a surprising amount of rolling hills. This causes two problems for me: First, I used the change in landscape to help time my driving. For example, I would know after a certain hill I would need to slow down for a stop sign. Out here, there aren’t those landmarks. Secondly, since it is so flat out here, I can literally see a car coming a mile away. You would think this would be helpful but really I find it disconcerting. All I can think when I see the headlights is, “Why hasn’t it passed me yet?! Why hasn’t it passed me yet?!”
So long story short, I blame Indiana for throwing off my driving groove.
A few months ago my mom mentioned a new book called The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. I finally checked it out two weeks ago and was absolutely enthralled by it. Before I completely rave about this novel, I feel that I should add the caveat that this is not a “Christian” novel. While there aren’t any explicit sex scenes, the characters’ lives are less than pure. One character even goes to a protestant confession and the pastor didn’t even give her the forgiveness of Christ (instead there was some mumbo jumbo about forgiving yourself and moving beyond your past sins). Yeah, not exactly the epitome of morality.
At any rate, I loved this story. It focuses on the lives of three adult sisters who have found themselves living with their parents again after a series of personal mishaps. The sisters’ relationships with one another aren’t the lovey-dovey stuff the people admire and wish to obtain but instead have their interactions much more realistic. I think the narrative sums it up best, stating, “See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much.” Since the sisters’ father is a Shakespeare literary scholar, there is a running reference to Shakespeare’s plays. Oh, and one of the most interesting aspect of this novel is the voice: First person plural. Love it!
Basically, if you are looking for a great new novel, I would recommend that that you check out The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.
One of the great inconsistencies of seminary life is church. You might assume that as future pastor’s wives we would be extremely active in church but that generally is not the case. Sure, most of us go to church on Sunday and perhaps attend a Wednesday night service or two (especially if our dear husbands are preaching). However, I’ve heard many wives say explain that they used to be extremely active in church but now they don’t do anything.
Granted, this isn’t true of every wife. Some wives either work for their husband’s field work church or work for the school associated with their husband’s field work church, enabling them to be easily folded into the life of the church. I’m sure there are even some wives who are able to make this connection with their husbands’ field work churches without even having a job associated with the church. But for many of us, the field work years are the church limbo years. We worship consistently at one location but we don’t quite fit into the life of that church. Many of us are firm in our Lutheran faith but we don’t contribute our time or talents any more. We are part of the church but we aren’t members of a church.
It’s hard to explain why this disconnect happens. Distance can certainly be a factor, especially since some families travel up to an hour to get to their field work church. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that this is the first time many of us don’t get a say in where we worship–what may be a good learning experience for our husbands may not be a church we can call home. Perhaps most of all, it’s because it is the first time we leave the comfortable placement of being one of the congregation and start taking our first steps into the role of “pastor’s wife.”
I had every intention to vote in tomorrow’s election. I didn’t vote last year–life was such a mess at that point that I didn’t even know it was election day, much less where I was supposed to go to vote. This year I really wanted to vote and utilize my right to have a voice in the government. The problem is that I don’t follow local politics so I have no idea what the ballot looks like. The other problem is that I don’t actually live in the area’s bigger city, I live in a little town nearby. So all the commercials I’ve seen on television don’t help me at all. Finally, after spending some time trying to figure out what exactly tomorrow’s ballot would look like, the best information I could find is that there are a grand total of three contested positions–only one of which I have a vote.
Therefore, I’ve decided that driving an extra hour tomorrow with a 4-year-old is not worth my voice in what council member will represent me for the next 7 months or so. So much for exercising my American freedom to vote.
I like to think one of my better qualities is commitment (we’ll leave out some of my worst qualities for the time being!). When I say I’m going to do something or be somewhere, I’ll try to do everything within my power to make sure it happens. Have I backed out on things before? Yeah, sure, but I try not make a habit of it. Job commitment is no different in my mind: When I’m hired for a job I always have every intention on staying for what we might refer to as “the long haul.” At least, that is what I wish I could do.
Unfortunately, when I married a seminarian I lost the opportunity to commit to any sort of job. I left a job at a daycare after I got married so my husband could continue his studies. I got hired at another daycare here and that was an abysmal failure (okay, I’ll admit that was more of my fault than the fault of seminary life). Now, six months away from the vicarage placement service I’m already talking with the family I nanny for on how my departure will work. The funny part of all this is that for these three jobs my bosses knew I wasn’t going to stay. I was hired at the first daycare with my boss fully knowing that I would leave five months later. I was hired at the second daycare with the director fully knowing how seminary life went. I was hired at my current job with my bosses fully knowing that I will be going on vicarage with my husband next summer. They all knew that I would leave and I still feel guilty.
I feel guilty every time I look at my resume and realize that besides my part-time job in college I have yet to put a full year of work at any one place. I feel guilty when I watch my bosses try to find someone to replace me. Most of all, I feel guilty when I have to tell the kids that I’m leaving.
Believe me, I’ve been around and around with myself about how kids are resilient and will be just fine after I leave, that another capable and loving adult will take my place and the kids will hardly remember me. I know that this is for the most part true. However, I still remember two summers ago watching a little boy cry after I told him I was moving away. I remember a couple of months ago one of the boys from the daycare sadly inform me after I told him that I would visit that, “Another teacher promised she would visit after she left . . . She’s only visited once.” And now I see the girl I take care of get a distant look in her eyes when she realizes that I’ll leave this coming summer (I’m not the first sem. wife nanny she’s had and she’s too smart to think that I’ll stay forever). Some days the memories of the children I’ve worked with over the past two years become more like haunting ghosts, reminders of how the choices I’ve made and the commitment I cannot give affect others beyond my husband and me.
I’m told that this is just part of seminary life and the same experience will happen when leaving vicarage and again when leaving for the first call (and whatever calls will come after that). Some will even admit that it is very difficult to say good-bye to so many people in just a few years, especially when children are involved. But when really pursuing the matter, it goes beyond difficult: It’s heart-breaking.