Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Clinging to the Oar

Imagine something bad happens to you.
Really bad.
And in order to survive it you need to have time away from it.
So you go to work... but it's there.
You go to the gym... it's there too.
You turn on the tv.
Yes. It's there too.
There is no break.
No respite.
No room to breathe.

At what point do you break?

47 comments:

will smama said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Michele R said...

I'm something of a lurker, and I don't really know what to tell you, but having read your post I wanted to offer some words of encouragement.

At some point, this will get better. Lean on your friends, spend time with your son, and find some time for yourself. Getting through will take a lot of determination, but I think you have it.

more cows than people said...

how many days until your vacation? any way that that can be bumped up? any chance you have a sabbatical rightly due to you that you could negotiate with the congregation? getting away sounds... wise... and in lieu of that possibility... deep breaths. deep, deep breaths. and i haven't sent one in awhile (((((ws)))).

ppb said...

It will get better. But 'til then, so sorry.....I think TOW should be taking a break from your church for a while, but that's just the decent thing to do, so of course she isn't doing it. Because obviously, you can't switch churches until it doesn't hurt to breathe.

Got any con. ed. stored up? Ghost ranch is lovely. And far away. And doesn't get TV.I bet they have con. ed. in Australia, too. Oh, but it's winter there.

Mrs. M said...

I'm with ppb, TOW should definitely be taking a break. If you'll forgive the language, it seems pretty ballsy that she's showing up expecting you to be her pastor during this time. There's ministerial duty, and then there's... I don't even know what to call it. I'm so sorry.

(Not saying she shouldn't have pastoral support, just saying it's important for your person-hood to be respected, too.)

Quotidian Grace said...

I'm sorry. I hope you can find a way to get a break soon.

revrosa said...

My two bits worth. There's two aspects to this: you can obviously not be her pastor. She probably is in need of one. You have the right to some boundaries, and a work environment where you can be at your best.

In the Episcopal Church, I would go to the Bishop for some help to open some space for you from her. Or I would work with my vestry (parish-level lay leaders). I am fortunate that I would trust either my Bp or the vestry of my parish to handle the situation with great discretion. TOW would also have other places to worship. You may not have either of these luxuries.

Please ignore if this is not helpful. Mainly know that I keep praying.

Cathy said...

What RevRosa said.

I think TOW should find another place of worship.

At what point do you break? Well, you will have your breaking point and you will know it, and at that point, (from my experience personally), slowly but surely you start moving towards some sort of healing. Not without places and times along the way that hurt, but it does start to get better. And, at this point, you are at the place that hurts like hell.

Ok, I will use {{{{{{o}}}}}} since you think the (((())))) are being worn out. It's a hug with a baby chuck.

Magdalene6127 said...

Yes, your other commenters are right on the money, in my book. TOW needs to go. Speak to your church board. She needs pastoral care (as do we all). But you obviously cannot be her pastor. Perhaps the judicatory can help, another pastor nearby step in. But you should not be expected to carry on in this way.

Peace, dear {{{WS}}}.

Mags

will smama said...

cathy - who's baby chuck? hee, hee

The couple has been told that I cannot be their pastor. Because they don't want it to get out they remain at the church realizing that if they leave now that TDH has publicly left things get a lot more obvious.

The leaders of my denomination know and have been very supportive and are ready and willing to take action the moment I tell them to ask her to leave.

It's a small town and although I am innocent I guess partly I am protecting myself from being moved from major gossip fodder to supreme gossip fodder.

The story will get out eventually - it is too good not to - I just don't think my sensitive soul can take that right now.

Next scheduled vacation - 2nd week of September. Then mid-October. Then the week after Christmas.

I might need to look into my con ed time though. I was saving it for a DMin but now I have plenty.

Katharine said...

When the pastor of the Presby church I attended for about 15 years faced her mother's serious illness—hospitalization, major surgery, and a high likelihood of death—the presbytery (kind of a district ruling body) stepped in. They provided counseling for her (the pastor) and occasional pulpit supply so she could visit her mother, who lived in another state. (Thankfully, her mother lived, but my pastor was under so much stress until it became apparent that the crisis was permanently over.)

mompriest said...

I was going to say what revrosa and others have said, but you are already on top of that one. I can understand the desire to keep things as gently quiet as possible. Maybe TOW could come to church a few times less often. It is summer after all and lots of people take a Sunday off here and there? In a sort of random way, one here, one there, and then disappear?

I know. You didn't ask for advice. Sorry. (Feeling helpless is just a tough place to be, eh?).

Prayers...and more prayers.

Mary Beth said...

All I can think to do, reading this, is swear.

I'm sure that is not helpful and doesn't belong here. But take it from me, #*_$*(#@$(*#_)Q(@#)!!!

love ya

Teri said...

what Mary Beth said.
With all the symbols on teh keyboard.
many prayers...

St. Casserole said...

TOW is on my nerves.

I don't know what you do when the mess is everywhere you turn.

Thinking of you and The Boy.

Diane said...

I have been wanting to say what other have said about TOW for awhile. She's getting on MY nerves. Can't imagine what she is doing to you.

Prayers...I hope you can get some relief, support, without showing your hand too much.

Songbird said...

I hope you'll consider two things:
1) having the Presbytery move her out of there BEFORE you break;
2) coming to my house--just tell them you will be attending the Songbird Academy of Pastoral Care.

Althea N. Agape said...

Hmmmm, I don't think this situation is on the syllabus for pastoral care...

I don't know what I would have done. for me, TOW was at his work, so I just had to face the office party when I was trying to reconcile and everyone else knew and was watching.

God must have lots of confidence in you to let you have this level of trial *[ Prayers continue

QuakerPastor said...

Thinking of you and praying your way. Hoping TOW falls off the face of the earth for awhile.

Serena said...

GEEZ! TOW is really on my nerves too. Can't even fathom how anyone can behave this way. I'm with Mary Beth and Teri ... et al. {{{{{{o}}}}}}

Preacher Mom said...

What they said . . .
Plus, this SUCKS . . .
Plus, I'm still holding you tightly in my prayers.

Hang in there, in whatever way you can find to do that.

Rev Kim said...

You continue to be far more gracious and courageous than I ever could hope to be. Keep clinging, and know that we are holding on with you and to you. Continuing to hold you in prayer . . .

Counselor in Process said...

Oh Dear-Come to the beach with us.
Joanna

esperanza said...

What everybody else said, especially about the continuing prayers in lieu of any good advice from this quarter.

And an amen to Mary Beth, along with this irreverent suggestion--it looks to me like that oar could provide some stress relief...an oar and some whiffle balls in the backyard...if you like, you can tape pictures on the whiffle balls.

*end of unhelpful advice*

Singing Owl said...

Good Golly and *&^%@ U#%^! I don't know how you can look out at the congregation and see TOW, but oh dear...I see your point. I won't hug you. Here is a kiss on the cheek instead, and a little pat on the back. xx pp

LadyBurg said...

I love you....but get outta here! Leave for awhile. Take con ed. No one will blink. Just get outta here.

And call me when it is time to kick TOW's ass. I've been lifting. I'm ready. ;)

DogBlogger said...

Gah!!!

And what Mary Beth said.

And, still praying for you.

Identity Mixed said...

You and The Boy are always welcome here. We have a guest room, a trundle in the Lad's room. (Boy and Lad would have a blast) and two air mattresses. You could set up the tent outside. I'll download some ocean sounds and you could pretend that you're not in Appalachia.

Seriously. TOW isn't here. TOM doesn't advertise on my tv. And TDH doesn't know his way here.

Consider it.

prgirl said...

wish I had a few words (other than @@@##$$%%^^^&&)to help you through this. Like everyone else I'm holding you in my prayers...TOW needs to find someone where to be..hope you can get some quiet time apart...keep us updated..ok, we are with you. Gail

1-4 Grace said...

Go with the Con-Ed as soon as possible. Might I suggest finding a ConEd that is in a great spot to "get away."
I know you like beaches and mountains, so find soemthign close to one of those. This does nto mena you hve to even have remote interest in the subject, just go.
I used to think that my coned always had to be somethign related directly to my job, but not anymore. I think sometimes it is about just getting away and finding yourself a break.
I also decided that if I went to any Con-ed, my goal woudl be to coem away with one useful thing. I did this as a teacher when I took workshops and classes. I only had to find one thign useful. So far it has worked...even if the thing is "don't ever try this at home."

1-4 Grace said...

(((((!@@!)))))
This is my new sign for a chest bump like the ballplayers all do.

Littlemankitty said...

You want I should pee in her car?

ppb said...

Seriously, will, it's not your job to protect their reputation (although I do feel bad for TOM--he's a victim, too.). And you've done nothing wrong, so let them gossip. But actually, the way you've set it up with the congregation, your husband's departure is based on his mental health, not anything else.

I really think you're protecting those who are not your responsibility to protect.

In all honesty, look into Ghost Ranch, or Montreat, or one of the con. ed. places like that where you can bring the boy and have him in a great day camp---ghost ranch kids cry when day care is over for the day---learn a little bit of something, nap, outline some sermons....be someplace where nobody knows anything about you. There will be openings in August programs. And the church pays for that. (well, most of it) and ask the Presbytery to help you with the remainder of it. That's what the offerings at ordinations are for---taking care of ministers in crisis. Your'e in crisis. Take a break before it becomes a massive crisis.

Towanda said...

What everyone else said.

Also, would be not very Christian to wish for her a bad summer cold, just enough to keep her away for several weeks while you figure out what to do?

Or maybe a stomach flu...

Row, baby, row.

sherry said...

My house is going to be empty for Labor Day weekend. You are welcome to come down here, enjoy the pool, watch the hummingbirds feed and rest.

And I still have lots and lots and lots of toys for the boy.

Grace thing said...

Just wanted you to know I'm reading and feeling quiet and holding you in my heart.

The Vicar of Hogsmeade said...

TOW has already made enough decisions that impact your life. Time for you to take care of "soul care" for yourself. Let her deal with the fallout of her own actions, instead of you dealing with higher levels the fallout of her actions.

And when you think you're going to break, stay close to the people that keep holding you together. That's what the body of Christ does.

Lorna (see through faith) said...

We are in need of a GREAT pastor like you over here in Finland. Pick up that oar and get rowing ... the pond ain't that big (I've heard!)

Seriously - holding you in prayer and in love. And Jesus will calm that storm in you and give you the haven you so desperately need and deserve. Ride out that storm together!

hugs - plenty to spare - from someone who only 5 minutes ago posted about putting up walls - God has given me such a love for you!

suffer said...

I've nothing wise to say that hasn't already been said. Just keep your head above the water. Easier said than done, I know.
-Angel

will smama said...

Thank you for the sincere and helpful feedback. I have never negotiated anything like this before. When we lost Baby Snowpea the church immediately gave us a one month sabbatical, in December no less. So I think they would do it again, but of course the board has no idea of how deep this goes.

I hear you on the con ed/getting time away thing. And I hear you that taking care of them is no longer my responsibility. I need to do what I have to do to have my work and family environments be safe places for me to be.

Thank you one and all - truly I am blessed.

Leah Sophia said...

Lots of breathing room and an extra bedroom here for you in San Diego, as well as nearby beaches, deserts and mountains...and how about considering serving in an ultra-conservative presbytery (read: HERESY TRIALS). Seriously, if you'd like to visit, just give me a shoutout, and do I dare??? yep, I'll do it: {{{{{ws}}}}}

Girl said...

It hopefully goes without saying, but I will do everything I can to lift you and carry you if you break...and I'm with Songbird on this one...I think TOW should respectfully leave before that happens.

Mark Smith said...

Hopefully a man's perspective is welcome. (The Estrogen fumes are making me lightheaded. :-)

I think the rest are right. You have done nothing wrong. TOW is clearly in violation of enough rules that an old fashioned Book of Discipline trial would get her booted from membership. It's time for her to go. Let the Presbytery folks move her along.

Your reputation is clean - squeaky clean. Hers is not your responsibility. Neither is her husband's.

When you have to remove a bandaid from a hairy area, the fastest way is with one quick pull. A slow pull is the WORST way to go.

I'd offer another hiding place but I think you're pretty well covered.

zorra said...

The con ed idea sounds like a wise one.

Actually I would just love to come up there and slap her for you, but well, con ed sounds more productive.

Tiffany said...

I'm a faitful reader and fan and am so sorry for what's happening there. It does seem like getting TOW out of your church and getting yourself out of Dodge for a bit makes sense. You're in my prayers.

Purechristianithink said...

TOW could drop her gym membership at least, right? There have got to be other places to work out in your area. I get that if she stops attending church folks will connect the dots, but surely she could figure out a way to give you the gym as a TOW-free sanctuary. EVERYBODY lets their workout routine slip. If she can't do that much, she is still wallowing in profound cluelessness IMHO.

Reverend Dona Quixote said...

Praying for you. No advice to add to what has already been said.