The Forced Fourth of July

forced of July

 

My husband and I made it safely to Iowa a week ago today.  We’re still trying to make the adjustment to our new life.  There’s been issues with a wet basement, lots of phone calls and texts for my husband as he starts entering his role as Pastor (of course, he isn’t officially a pastor until ordination on Sunday), and just plain exhaustion.

There are some good things that have come with the move as well.  Some of our family were able to make a daytrip to our new home to help with unpacking–something that wouldn’t have been possible while at seminary.  We’re enjoying have central A.C. and a dishwasher.  I met my new midwife a few days ago and I think I will be fairly comfortable under her care.

Overall, there’s nothing unexpected about this move.  That is, until you take into account a congregation and the giant Fourth of July celebration.

Normally I would consider Independence Day one of my favorite holidays.  Since kids aren’t in school, it hasn’t gotten ridiculously commercialized.  It’s one of the few major holidays that celebrating with friends or family is acceptable.  It’s laid back and fun.

However, this year it’s a bit of a bummer.  We’re new in town, so we don’t have any friends to celebrate with (*sniff* Woe is me).  Plus, our new town has an enormous 4th of July festival that draws people from all the area’s small towns.  There are games, there is a parade, there are fireworks, and who knows what else.  Being in a small town, it also means that the congregation members are involved with the festival.  The church even has a float in the parade.

Consequently, my husband and I are in a bit of a bind.  On one hand, we were told numerous times at the seminary that a good pastor (and by default, his family) is part of the community.  That means doing things like attending the 4th of July celebration.  On the other hand, we’ve been here a week and I’ve meet less than a dozen people in town.  All I want to do today is hang our decorations while eating chocolate, not go out and mingle.

Consequently, I’ve started using the dreaded “O” word.  I feel obligated to attend the festival because of my husband’s position.  We went to a benefit dance last night because I felt obligated to go since someone had purchased us tickets (the dance was a dismal social failure on our part–I’ll probably write about it in the near future).  I feel obligated to watch the parade since so many congregation members will be in it.  Never mind that I don’t know them.  People will ask if we attended and if we enjoyed it.

I know next year will probably be better.  Next year we might even be excited about the 4th of July festival.  But for right now, it’s tough to know how to balance unspoken (and, admittedly, perhaps imagined) expectations with our emotional health.

I hope you all are having a great Independence Day despite my melancholy post.  Just to let you know, I’ll be rolling out some changes to my blog soon.  I hope you enjoy them! 

 

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5 Comments on “The Forced Fourth of July”

  1. Rebekah says:

    You will probably feel a lot of obligation as you guys are just starting out. Over time you will learn what activities are really “necessary” or the ones you want to attend as well as know when it is best (and okay) to stay home. Hope your day went well, whatever you ended up doing. 🙂

    • Katrina says:

      I think you nailed it–we feel obligated to do everything because we don’t know the congregation yet!

      The day turned out okay. My husband helped set up the float in the morning, we went to the parade in the afternoon, and we were able to catch some of the fireworks from our house.

  2. KimS says:

    Don’t worry about not knowing anyone yet. You will meet more and more people as you go on. I don’t know if lots of people go out of town during the summer vacation times in your area, so you may have to hang on until school starts in the fall for members to start rolling back into town. I know it is like that here during the summer. It seems many people have more money to spend on longer vacations (we only had 2 weeks and then were back in church!!), and are away for the summer. Hopefully they will roll in a few at a time as they get back for the school year.

    Can I offer you some insight? You have a new baby coming. (First baby, I am assuming?) You and your husband will need to get to know your little one and get used to his/her sleep schedules. This will take energy, lots of energy. You are a pastor’s wife and will be a mom too. I know this may be “preachy,” but it isn’t meant to be. Try not to worry about what others expect you to do at church. (This is difficult, as I struggle with this myself too.) My husband’s perspective is that the pastor’s wife’s job is to care for the pastor and his family. (After all grocery shopping, having a clean clergy shirt, making sure he is properly “caffeinated” for Sunday morning, having dinner home are all essential and he needs you to do those things. No one else has such an important job in the church!!) 😉

    Some of the members will expect you to do more, mostly I think because they don’t see all the sacrifices you, /we, wives make on a daily/weekly basis. Some weeks I want to meet up with members and chat and sometimes, after a long week of compromising “behind the scenes,” I just don’t want to. That’s okay too.

    Hang in there, hopefully you will meet a few “gems” that see how much your husband does and will give you both encouragement about that. ❤

    Blessings in your service, Sister!

    • Katrina says:

      Thank you for your insight, Kim. I more or less decided not to commit to anything major at church since I have no idea what life will be like after the baby arrives, but it’s hard not to worry about what other people think. My husband is like your husband and doesn’t pressure me to do anything with church when I don’t want to, so that’s helpful. 🙂

  3. […] becoming a bit more involved with the town happenings (we actually look forward to the town’s Independence Day festival now!), and getting a better feel for what my husband really needs to do in order to best shepherd our […]


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