I heard it again today: “It must be really difficult being a clergy spouse.” This is followed up by an eye witness account of a clergy spouse friend of theirs and what they go through. I shake my head with a knowing yes and a sigh but the truth is that it isn’t really all that difficult.
There are some things that have become my Priest Wife pet peeves like being expected to have nothing and give all the time. Or people conversing with me and by the end of the conversation that usually involves, “Let me be honest with you..” having a wave of guilt that they unloaded their gripes onto me. Or being scolded for asking someone why I haven’t seen them at church lately or worse, being scolded because I did ask where they’d been lately. Or having to go to events because I’m obligated whilst missing out on events I would rather be at. Or pretty much having to go to church every Sunday because if I don’t, it looks bad. Or having your husband under a moral and ethical magnifying glass 24/7. It’s an unusual life when church is your bread and butter.
All those things (and I could add more) are also MY pet peeves and don’t hold true for all clergy spouses. They also all have silver linings and are truly not all that bad. So let me be honest with you, it is a great time to be Episcopalian and it’s a great time to be the wife of a Priest here in Pawleys Island. It seems to be the land of “Where do you go to church?” and then the answer meaning so much more then a buildings location. If I need someone, I have 100’s of people I can call and they will be here for me for whatever I might need. I get to care about some amazing people that in my everyday world, I’d never even know. Those same people are the village that help me care for my little girls who will make your heart burst singing Jesus Loves Me. Yes, Wil has days that he is gone for 14 hours and yes, we very rarely have whole days free from church meetings or phone calls. There’s stress, lots of stress because spirituality is heavy and it goes hand in hand with health and happiness. There’s also guilt. Guilt I’m not knowledgeable in the realms of philosophy and religion. Guilt that I didn’t ask how someone was doing. Guilt because I really did want to send that “Thinking of You” card. The heaviest guilt I can feel is when I start to really doubt God and then I feel so undeserving of all the wonderfulness I reap from my church life.
That guilt? Standard and because I experience it often I have really made it work for me and it’s becoming less of a negative and more of a motivator. I am in love with Holy Cross Faith Memorial and I am in love with Father Wil. I’m not always in love with the feast or famine work schedule and I’m not always in love with the expectations but this life is such a good life and I can literally count my blessings.