Being a clergy spouse can be complicated. I’ve been at this for a little over four years but when my dad asked me 10 years ago whether I knew what I was getting myself into marrying a guy that wanted to be a priest, I was blinded by love and really had no idea what that really meant. It’s been a good road though but not without its bumps and potholes. I often feel like I am riding Wil’s coat tales when we get recognized in public or when we are invited to snazzy events. He will say that it is because of my support that he is able to do all that he does. As sweet as that is, he is definitely giving it his all and I’m just thankful that it allows me to get to do all the things that come with it which ironically, most of them I said I would never do. This bring me to some of my top clergy spouse misconceptions:
Number One: I know a lot about the Bible.
When we moved to Pawleys Isalnd, within the first month, I was invited to an all girls ecumenical gathering where they did crafts, ate food and learned Christian lessons. My now friend that was inviting me said, “It’d be great if you’d come so you could help with the scripture.” I actually laughed out loud and then I realized she was serious. She now knows that I am pretty much on a 5th grade Bible learning level. Even after a year of EFM, I am still just trying to grasp the basics.
This has happened, in some capacity, more then once and sometimes it makes me feel uneducated and isolated in a sea of people that know their stuff. What this does give me is a curiosity for the stories and a genuine interest during the lessons. I like to think I might always look at the parables in this way.
One of the best things about moving here was the fact that I had to make a few decisions about how I felt when it comes to homosexuality. We moved right into a swarm of churches that were leaving the National Church but our church wanted to stay. Issues that I thought I knew a lot about and how I felt bubbled up to the surface and not only was I able to discuss them with people but I became confident about how I felt and why I felt it. It feels good to stand for something.
Number 2: I want to be involved in church functions.
Here’s where some of those things I thought I’d never do join the list. Being a Priest is Wil’s job. It gets a little fuzzy because his job is also where we go to make friends, get spiritually fed, and become educated. Back in seminary I thought I’d never be on any guilds, help with any Bible schools, or make any food for the potlucks. I was drawing a line in the sand between Wil’s work and my life. Funny thing is, as time has gone by and as I have grown to love the people and mission of HCFM, I have actually wanted to become involved. You can now find me making lanyards at VBS, practicing my Godly Play story the night before I teach Sunday school, and I even make a yummy jalapeño deviled egg for all those get togethers.
Even with all those things making me feel part of the community, I still don’t want to get too involved. Wil needs his space as I need mine. It’s getting harder as I fall more in love with our church. Don’t look for me on the alter guild just yet but if Wil wants me to do the sermon one Sunday, I’ve got lots I can say.
Number 3: My faith is as strong as my husbands.
I almost put for number three that people think I don’t ever cuss or do crazy things but then I thought that was silly because of course I do. Instead I thought I’d go with the belief in the Holy Trinity. The belief that Jesus was the son of God. The belief that Jesus is the one. Many tears have been shed debating this because I so badly want to be sure. I get how wonderful it is to know deep down. Wil’s faith is awe inspiring to me and we have had many, many, many talks about it. I ask the same questions like, “How can you be sure?” and “What about other profits?” Wil always answers them with patience and with the right words. I wish I could keep him in my pocket when I have all my questions during church or when discussing the matters with my women’s group. Some things I do know for sure. Those are the things that make it possible for me to support Wil and be 100% on board with this life. I am thankful for his patience and understanding. I’ve got a long way to go.
This list will grow and change as I grow and change. In this world, sometimes someone else’s misfortune or tragedy makes us aware of what we have and all the things we can be thankful for. In this life, being part of a church community, it gives my family a chance not only to help those people but be constantly reminded of all the blessings.