Inadvertent Words of AffirmationPosted: March 1, 2013
It’s been one of those weeks. Among other things, my betta fish is sick–most likely slowly dying. My husband is in the midst of Lenten season chaos. Then I found out that my work hours might be cut. With the knowledge that I was once again facing more lonely hours, I immediately began to spiral into my self-deprecating train of thought.
I wondered why I was here: I barely work and my ability to cope with being the vicar’s wife is nonexistent. After months of diligently trying to be a perfect housewife, things have started to slip–a dinner uncooked here, a dirty bathroom there. Perfection is my aspiration and anything less is failure. As I walked over to church for mid-week service, I mulled over my current situation. With no new insights, I sat down for worship.
At the end of the service, there was a surprise visitor: Former Vicar! The congregation members were excited to see him again, so I waited for the crowd to thin so I see if he could stay long enough to visit my husband (he was preaching at another church that evening). When I was finally able to talk to Former Vicar, he asked how my husband was liking the vicarage. I answered with the usual statement of, “Fine, he’s learning a lot.”
Former Vicar then asked, “Does he have anyone to talk to about here?” I didn’t quiet understand his question, so I stammered for a moment before Former Vicar clarified, “Does he have anyone to go to? Does he ever call his brother?”
I finally realized that he was asking if my husband could confide in anyone outside of the church, so I slowly replied, “Well, sometimes. . .But usually he talks to. . .well, me.”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot about that,” said Former Vicar, “I wasn’t married on vicarage.” With that, the conversation moved on, but a little jolt went through my body as I realized that my husband has me. Despite my lack of job, despite my struggles in church, despite my shortcomings as a homemaker, I am still there for my husband at the end of the day. Even though I cannot provide a 1950’s housewife style support system for my husband, I am still there to listen to his highs and lows and to love him no matter what happens while he is at work (albeit imperfectly). I may not be perfect, but I am his wife–nobody else can fill that role.
It’s amazing how some inadvertent words of affirmation can come exactly when I need to hear them the most.