Since my husband and I have found out where we are moving for his vicarage, I have been asked, “Are you excited?!” At first I was–it felt wonderful to finally know where we are going and no longer having unknown details looming over us. However, a few days after placement night the now known details began to loom over us. We need to figure out when and how we are going to move, we need to figure out what the schedule will be when we actually get there. Plus, since everyone knew that we couldn’t make summer plans until after placement night, we got slammed with people wanting to know what we are doing this summer only a few days after we found out where we are moving. Additionally, this move kicks off the most stressful time in our transitory life: three moves to three different cities in three years. I have still have another month of work. We still need to pack. Would you be excited?
But what about the prize at the end of the move, actually getting to our new home? It’s hard to see any of this as a prize beyond it’s good for my husband to be on vicarage. I’m quitting my job and saying goodbye to the few friends I have managed to make in the last two years to go to a place where I’m jobless and surrounded by strangers. I’m watching my husband’s calendar fill up with things like work start date and VBS–markers that he is already finding his place in this new home–as my calendar remains empty as a stark reminder that I still have muddle through where I belong in all of this. I’ll have to figure that out all over again next summer. I’ll have to figure that out all over again the following summer. Would you be excited?
. . . you’ve accidentally flung a baking mix all over the kitchen. Apparently it is quite the spectacle. And quite the mess.
In high school I was involved with the school’s drama group. Now while many people think of actors, dancers, and singers when it comes to plays, I did none of these things. I tried out for a play or two, actually got in the chorus of one, and discovered I wasn’t very good at it. I was okay with that because I had already found my niche within the theater world: being a techie. I belonged with the students who didn’t want to be in the spotlight or even the back light. Instead, we built the sets, focused the lights, checked the mikes, cued the actors, and took care of all those small details that the audience rarely noticed but would derail the show without them being completed.
One of my favorite moments in theater was when I teched the community theater’s production of Cinderella. During the scene that Cinderella met her fairy godmother, flowers were supposed to appear in a vase when the godmother waved her wand. Since I was the smallest person on the stage crew, I was given the job of stuffing myself under the table that the vase sat on and waiting ten minutes until the I heard the fairy godmother’s cue. Then I was to shove the flowers through a hole in the table and vase, making the flowers appear to the audience. At first I was a little perturbed by this job–really, who wants to sit under a table during a play? However, after one of the shows my mom came to see she told me about a little four-year-old girl who sat beside her. When the flowers had popped up, the little girl had exclaimed, “Oooh, magic!“
No one who watched the show really knew how those flowers appeared, no one who watched the show knew that I existed. In the other plays I teched I rarely got a congratulation beyond my family and friends (and my mom’s friends). When I was stage manager, the local paper never wrote about how smoothly the play had been called, nor did anyone realize that I had spent nearly two years earning the respect of the techie boys so they would actually listen to my cues and pay attention to what I said–a difficult task if you have ever tried to get teenage boys to follow directions when they don’t want to. My work was literally behind the scenes but I liked it. It was quiet and hidden but I did find satisfaction in my time as a techie.
We were often told in high school that the lessons we learned in the theater would last us a lifetime. While I learned things as a techie like how to use a table saw and how to manage my peers, I also learned an important lesson about working behind the scenes. As a seminarian’s wife, most of our life choices help my husband get through his schooling. While my husband goes to the actual classes and will be the one to receive an actual call (God willing), I find myself working behind the scenes to help him achieve this ambition. I work a job that helps pay the bills, not something that I necessarily find myself being “called” to do. We move a lot for his schooling. We attend my husband’s field work church every Sunday even though I have discovered that the church will most likely never be my church home. I even sat quietly in the pews during the Vicarage Assignment Service as the preacher preached to the vicars-to-be about what vicarage would mean to them and them alone.
Granted, it is much easier to work behind the scene in a play than in my life. It still hurts when people who know me through my husband are flabbergasted that I work (I’m not really sure what they thought I did all day. Knitting, perhaps?). I would like to have job that could lead to a career, not just something that can offset living expenses. Moving isn’t getting any easier. I still long for a church home, not just a place where my husband works. Most of all, it’s hard to explain to old acquaintances that what I have been doing for the last two years isn’t really for myself, it’s for my husband. But I also know that my satisfaction with life cannot be found in more degrees or making big money in a dream job. My satisfaction cannot be found in people’s acknowledgment and admiration. My satisfaction is working alongside my husband* and knowing that he is appreciative of my work, even when most others cannot see the value in what I am doing. It is a quiet and hidden way of life but it can be satisfying.
*Just to be clear, I am not referring to a team ministry, just working through life together.
At the beginning of April our two resident farm cats had kittens. Much to my excitement, both momma cats decided to have their litters on our porch, allowing me to observe the ten kittens up close. Now the kittens are about five weeks old and have become fast moving fuzzballs running rampant on our porch. For the most part I don’t mind the kittens being so close to the house except when trying to get in or out of the front door. The kittens aren’t allowed in the house, so naturally that’s where they want to go whenever the door is open. Likewise, the kittens are small and fast so it’s difficult to stop them once they start scampering toward the openng to the great mystery known as the inside of our house. After accidentally letting all ten kittens into the kitchen one day, I have come up with a routine to get into the house kitten-free. No longer is simply unlocking the door and walking in enough, I now must go through the kitten obstacle course.
The first obstacle is getting the kittens to go to the other end of the porch. This involves waving my hands and talking to them so they’ll think that something awesome will happen if they head my way. After the majority of them start skidding towards me I quickly move towards the door, making sure to dodge the herd of curious kittens. After reaching the door, I have to gently and quickly push the straggling kittens to the side so I can open the door. At this point the faster kittens have realized that I wasn’t going to do anything at the opposite end of the porch and have started to head back towards the front door. I have to shut the door as quickly as I can, all the while being careful not to close it on a kitten. Sometimes I’m not fast enough and one or two kittens slip inside. Fortunately they are so surprised to actually be inside the house that I am able to scoop them up and toss them back outside. As a final obstacle, one of the momma cats have decided that she is entitled to check out the house every once and awhile (which I shamefully admit that I might have encouraged this habit), so she’ll slip in the house while I’m battling the kittens. Then I have to open the door against ten mewing kittens and toss the momma cat over their heads and shut the door, all the while making sure not to shut a kitten in the door. Once I have the house cat free, I win the obstacle course.
I would say all this is rather annoying but the kittens are just so gosh darn cute.
|I mean, really, who could resent this kitty?|
Finally, after 7 long months, we know where we will go for T’s vicarage! Since I use this blog as an outlet for stress and frustration (which will surely come with the changes this year), I have decided not to reveal the town’s name. Most of you probably already know where we are going at any rate.
I will share this though: T has been assigned to a congregation in my beloved Midwest, although we can expect lots of snow and cold this winter. The congregation and town are small but the current vicar and one of T’s classmates who is supported by this congregation have already informed us that it is a wonderful place to live and full of caring folks. We will have a house that is way bigger than what we need (I guess I can keep a box room!) and it is adjacent to the church property. I believe the liturgy will be slightly unorthodox since they don’t use the LSB but pull parts of the liturgy from TLH. This does sadden me a bit since I really enjoy the LSB. It sounds as though T will have fairly normal vicar duties and will preach at least once a month. Strangely enough, after all the time I spent stressing about what the congregation will expect from the vicar’s wife, T will be the congregation’s second vicar and their first married vicar. I will be the first vicar’s wife, meaning there are no expectations based on past wives! Hooray! This also has a downside because I will feel the need to set a good example to the congregation about what to expect from the vicar’s wife. Boooo!
At any rate, I feel I can finally start to look forward to vicarage. We know where we are going, we know when we will move (more or less), and I can start obsessively researching on the internet every detail about our new home. And, thanks be to God, we didn’t get placed in Canada or Texas!*
*No offense to those of you from those places, I just didn’t want to throw on culture shock on top of every other change!