Okay, hang on, hang on. That’s not the full title of this post. The full title is “Debunking the Myth of the Perfect Pastor’s Wife, and Other Rural Legends.” Debunking, you see.
To tackle such a doughty topic, I needed a pal. So I asked my friend Luci, my beautiful friend Luci Martin from way up in northern Alberta, to hash with me. She comes from (her words:) “the most accepting little church of wholesome people.” But sometimes, like me, she doesn’t feel like the right woman for the job. Observe.
Confession: We’re not perfect pastor’s wives.
Do you know perfect pastor’s wives? Coming soon to a church near you… The slightly-rounded-but-not-overweight, comfortably maternal type who live for Sunday mornings, who volunteer in the church library, and who are never seen without a smile and nylons.
Their speech is guarded, sincere, and above all, uplifting. Their hair is cooperative. Their hosiery is free of runs. Their children are models of virtue. Their husbands rise up and call on them. To teach Sunday school.
We do this pastor’s wife thing because we love our men, and are deeply committed to their callings. But hey, give us a long enough tether and we’d be heading for a sunny South Sea island. So Luci, how would life be different if you weren’t a pastor’s wife?
I think the first thing that comes to my mind is that I really wish I could dye my hair because I’m getting grey so young. And in reality I could. But I’ve mourned this problem so loudly that now everyone would notice if I did. And when it comes down to it, I’m afraid.
Yeah, I… wait. Did you just say you want to dye your hair??
[shrieks of irreverent mirth]
And Dan claims he likes me this way!
I love trips and running around and getting away. I live for hot sunshine in a community of ladies who love their winter days so they can sew and houseclean. Half of them are farm ladies who help their husbands brand and vaccinate. Dan is the farmer here, but I don’t help much with that and am easily bored with calving talk.
I resist huge urges to laugh in church when the singing goes badly and sometimes I really want to mix up the service and change the staidness (which isn’t really very staid….just comfortable and habitual).
My relationship with gardening is love/hate. And I really should butcher the old hens that Tammy offered me instead of blogging.
And don’t get me started on how our two youngest behave in church.
Oh, no doubt. Isn’t there a Bible verse about having her children in perfect order? What if mine run away from me in the service while their dad is preaching and won’t come back?
Surely the perfect pastor’s wife wouldn’t follow the shallowness of social media like Dan’s wife does.
Or send frozen pizzas for school lunches once a week. I feel guilty about this one because the church gives us an offering every 5th Sunday and maybe they don’t feel like buying us pizzas, you know?
What about you?
A good pastor’s wife would probably not go out for coffee and pie with a friend at a 24-hour restaurant after the revival meeting lets out—one of my latest exploits.
Or go into serious overload at the end of every member’s meeting. After the last one I started laughing uproariously just to de-stress. Unfortunately I was still in the auditorium.
She probably wouldn’t be so afraid of people.
Or make so many tragic relational booboos.
Or have cause to fear that her daughter will grow up to be just like her.
A perfect pastor’s wife would not be so worried about the opinions of others. That I know for a solemn fact.
She wouldn’t ramble on about Mennonite fashion like she does (here).
Or follow the 2012 election and debates like a silly moth to a huge flame.
Or dread teaching preschool Sunday school class.
Or mutter crude words under her breath every time pandemonium breaks out around the house. Or be heard saying holy cow in the orthodontist’s office.
She probably wouldn’t use her children as an excuse to sneak out of difficult meetings.
Or publicly campaign for her opponents in the upcoming head pastor election.
Or let her children run wild and her washer go through a cycle with no clothes in it while she wrote an email like I did just now.
Or wish that she had an in-house chef.
Or be speechless on the topic of hell.
Or pray frantic prayers that the guests she knows she needs to invite for lunch will say no because the house is a mess at home.
You see? We try, but…
Now, dear reader (ooh! That was a pleasant rush of real pastor’s wifing adrenaline), if you search your heart and think “But I don’t think I have high expectations for my pastor’s wife,” just search one level deeper. What would you expect of yourself if you were her?
We do realize that most of our expectations are self-imposed ones.
Of course. But that doesn’t make them any less real, does it? So, all you people out there like us. If you are a pastor’s wife, take a little time to laugh at yourself. And if you are not a pastor’s wife, cut yours some extra slack this week.
Every woman’s hosiery has its runs.
In collaboration with Luci Martin. Here at Quiet Hearts, you can get to know her better, and read more stuff she writes. I love her.