Sunday morning, 9.45am is a strange time of the week, like sitting in an airport terminal waiting for a flight or a waiting room to see the dentist.
It’s the time before going to church.
This time has become even weirder since moving to a new congregation where H is the minister and I am somehow involved as the ministers spouse, which I still find is a strange role to be in. It’s a strange role because I am not sure what my role is, or if I have a role, or why I imagine I have a role. It’s even hard to write about because it’s hard to know what I’m talking about.
It’s the sort of thing like if I’m eating a Ginger Nut and talking to someone over tea and spot H in deep, intense conversation with a difficult member of the congregation out of the corner of my eye. If that person has pastoral concerns as a member of the church I want to love and help them, but as a husband my natural reaction might be to protect H after a busy morning, to take her away for a glass of wine. Or if there is a shortage on a church rota and I know it’s stressing H out I might offer to help her out rather than the church. And because it’s might be coming from a place of making my life easier by making H’s life less stressful the job in church might be done resentfully.
Or because I’ve worked for churches and grown up in it I can often have opinions on how things should be done which might differ completely from how H thinks they should be done, which can lead to differences of opinions.
I guess that my experience of church is new territory the past few years.
The role of ministers spouse is a funny one which I flounder around. If the church is as important as Christians believe it is and one of the most important aspects of your life story and you find yourself married to the minister it isn’t easy, or maybe it is for others and is just difficult to me. Some people can go home from church and talk about the sermon as a sermon. I can’t because I can see all the backstage and preparation, know what has been going on the ministers life and might need to forget about it so we can relax. Or not. It all depends. I’m still trying to work out what is going on half the time.