This past week was the Student Wives Association (SWA) Back to School Night. Every year SWA hosts this event a couple of weeks before classes start as a way of informing new and returning wives about upcoming events and activities during the school year. This was the third year I’ve attended the Back to School Night. Consequently, very little of the information presented was new to me. There was the familiar You’re-Going-To-Be-A-Pastor’s-Wife-But-God-Will-Take-Care-Of-You devotion (which was fine to hear again since I didn’t get one of those devotions on vicarage). There was the welcome from the seminary president’s wife. There was the informational presentations about relatively unchanging things like the Co-op and SWA committees. Likewise, there were familiar sights: the nervous looks of the first-year wives, the calm self-assuredness of the second-year wives, and the happy greetings of the returning fourth-year wives.
As I observed the evening unfold, I realized that I have become a seasoned sem. wife. I remember being a nervous first-year wife, eagerly listening to all the information because everything was new. I remember being a self-assured second-year wife, running around with the SWA board to make the evening go smoothly. Now I am a fourth-year wife who happily greeted the familiar faces of my fellow fourth-year wives after not seeing many of them for over a year.
It would be easy to feel cocky about being a seasoned wife. I know how things work around campus, I’ve gone through vicarage, and I know that I’m on the home stretch of having my husband complete his seminary education. However, after three years of going through seminary life, I know what lies ahead. The ever-looming Call Night takes away much of the smugness. After all, it’s hard to feel sure of myself when I don’t know where I will be living a year from now or even if there is a call for my husband. Likewise, I know after this year I will most likely be a pastor’s wife (you know, as long as my husband gets a call, God willing), a thought that has terrified me for so long it’s no wonder that my fourth-year confidence completely dissipates.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, yesterday was exactly eight months until Call Night. Not that I’m counting.
Pressure: it’s everywhere. Be loyal to your family. Be committed to your job. Be supportive of your husband. Take care of yourself, take care of others. Be active at church. Be happy at church. Be outgoing at church. Make your life here, make your life there. Put husband first, put work first, put family first (that is, first after God). Stay calm. Don’t be anxious. Don’t worry. Enjoy the here and now. Look forward to the future. Give 100%. . . to everything.
The pressure is frustrating.
Oh yeah, I forget, don’t lose your head.
Today I get one of my wisdom teeth pulled. I’m not excited. Even though the tooth is quite exposed so I’m using local anesthesia, I have a bad history with oral surgery. When I was in third grade, the dentist informed me I had a receding gumline. This is a problem that typically occurs in the 60+ age group, but I received some bad genes from my parents that caused this problem extremely early. While most third graders have baby teeth pulled and cavities filled, I got to have a graft stitched onto my gums. Where did the grafted skin come from? Why, the roof of my mouth. Between the two shots of Novocain, the raw roof of my mouth, and the stitches in my bottom gums, this procedure hurt. A lot.
Naturally, this wasn’t a surgery I had done once. No, as with most wonky medical problems, it wasn’t a one-time ordeal. I had it done 4 times between third grade and my junior year of high school. Consequently, I hate the thought of needles in my mouth. Not that anyone particularly enjoys a shot of Novocain, but I associate any Novocain with extreme pain for days.
However, this pesky wisdom tooth has been bothering me off and on since it erupted last fall. Two weeks ago, it caused quite a bit of aching as it continued to grow. I made a dentist appointment last week with the slim hope that something other than removal could be done. There wasn’t.
So here I go on my day off to get a shot of Novocain and have the tooth removed. Even worse, the closest Whitey’s is 6 hours away, so no consolation milkshake for me. Hrumph.
Let’s swap dental horror stories! What was your worst experience at the dentist/oral surgeon?
Since my husband and I are now back at the seminary, that means we have access to the Co-op again. Shopping at both Co-ops means we can get some great things for free–my husband has started restocking his pitifully small dress shirt wardrobe, I’ve found a great pair of jeans that actually fit, and we’re enjoying only buying one gallon of milk per week.
Of course, access to the Co-op also means some really bizarre finds–bizarre like this crucifix my husband found at the Clothing Co-op this week:
When he first found it, we thought it was relatively normal. Sure, the Jesus figurine was made of plastic, so not the highest quality. But what can you expect when it’s free? However, we realized why the crucifix might have been at the Co-op when we turned off the kitchen lights that night: Apparently the Jesus figurine glows in the dark.
Now we are not only asking ourselves what we are supposed to do with a glow-in-the-dark crucifix, but also who on earth would decide to make a glow-in-the-dark Jesus to begin with!
3 years ago today my husband and I said our “I wills” (because the LSB doesn’t have us say “I do”). Being a seminary couple, we’ve had a lot of chaos in our first few years of marriage. On the bright side, we can’t say that there has been a dull moment!
The first year of my husband and I were married, our apartment windows faced the dumpster. We had a perfect view of watching the weekly garbage of our neighbors pile higher and higher until garbage pickup day. Sometimes the dumpster would start overflowing. Classy, I know.
The second year we were married, my husband and I burned our garbage at the farmhouse. Burning garbage is actually a more complicated procedure than I ever expected—or maybe we weren’t very good at it. Either way, the only way we could get the garbage on fire was to pour diesel fuel over it first and even then not everything burned. We had a fine collection of stray cats arrive after garbage burning day to pick over our rotten fruit and rancid meat bits. Then the drought arrived and created a burn ban, so we spent the summer asking our landlord to take some of our garbage to his house and driving the rest to a friend’s apartment complex’s dumpster. Classy, I know.
The third year we were married, we hauled our garbage to the church’s dumpster. At first this was only a minor annoyance but then came the never ending winter with its massive piles of snow. It took two of us to haul the trashcan through a foot of snow and heave it over the snow banks. Of course, there was always the chance that we would time our trash drop-off wrong and face a full dumpster. That meant that one of us had to climb into the dumpster to stamp some of the garbage down. Classy, I know.
This year my husband and I decided that we were going to move up in the world and pay for garbage pickup at the farmhouse. So far it’s been amazing: We just throw our garbage into our heavy duty trashcan and haul it to the end of the driveway on Monday nights. No more watching (and supposedly smelling) overflowing dumpsters, no more worrying about whether a bit of garbage would burn, and no more heaving a trashcan’s contents into a dumpster. We just throw our garbage into the can and someone else takes care of it. I feel so classy!
Soon the school year will begin, meaning that my husband will officially become a fourth year seminarian. Okay, so technically this is his fifth year in the program, but for simplicity’s sake we just refer to this upcoming year as his fourth year. After three years of observing other fourth year families prepare to take a call, we are now at the beginning of the end of our seminary years.
Of course, there are many things for us to do in order to make preparations for my husband’s call (God willing). Likewise, since all of this planning and waiting comes to an intense end during Call Night, it’s hard to not feel that fourth year creates an emotional story. The nervousness, the anxiety, the excitement, the ever building anticipation—it’s the stuff of dramas. And since every good drama needs a catchy tagline, I’ve started to write down taglines for fourth year:
The last year of weekends: After this year, Sundays will become a day of work for my husband. That means this is the year for us to try to make the most of our weekends with trips and fun activities.
The last year we can pretend to know what we’re doing: Let’s face it, after 3 years for me and 4 years for my husband, we have this sem. family thing more or less figured out (at least to the point where we aren’t feeling bewildered most of the time). It will take a long time after this year to regain that sense of confidence.
How many days until Call Night? The evening that hangs over our head for the next 8 months, Call Night will give our future clarity again . . . or at least tell us where we are going to live.
One more move . . . one more move: I think I would scream if I had to any more than next summer’s move.
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! So much to do, so many questions! Will we even make it?!
What are your tagline ideas for fourth year?