The Forced Fourth of JulyPosted: July 4, 2014 | |
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!