Monday, May 28, 2012

Memories from a Past Life

          Today I was reminded of a paragraph I wrote some six years ago in my book Left Behind in A Mega-Church World. In the first chapter of the book, I'm reflecting on a painful ordeal of being a pastor's wife and being kicked out of the little church where my husband was the minister. I compare the experience to that of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. This is what I wrote:
  As the pastor’s wife, Sarah was caught between her husband and the congregation.  So was I.  I spoke my mind behind closed doors, but in public I was a loyal pastor’s wife. For Sarah, the ongoing ordeal was painful, though the record indicates that she and her husband maintained a close relationship though it all.  Unlike Jonathan Edwards [who was kicked out after 23 years], my husband was relieved of his duties after only three years of ministry.  In his case it was a betrayal of trust—petty theft and an arrest.  It was a disgrace for this little church situated on five corners in small town America, and it was a double disgrace for me, both parishioner and pastor’s wife.  Through my insistence, the pastor preached a properly penitential sermon, but I knew instinctively our days were numbered—and rightly so.                         
My reminder today came when I walked over to welcome a couple who stopped by Carlton Gardens. The woman greeted me by name introduced herself and her husband---Betsy and Terry.  Some 35 years ago they were actively involved in the leadership of the little church I write of and had the unpleasant task of taking a prominent role in doing what was right for the church during a very difficult time. After these decades, it was a wonderful reunion and time of catching up. They are now living in Dallas and were visiting family in Michigan and went out of their way to reconnect with me. What a nice gesture. Life is good.