Growing in Gratitude: A weekly series on “Daily Musings on Life Together”
The psalmist wrote, “Sing a joyful noise to the Beloved all peoples of the earth! Serve the Lord with a glad heart! Join hands in the great Dance of Life!” (from Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying). Join me in this dance each Monday as I practice giving thanks for things big, small, tangible, and intangible. Feel free to count your blessings in the comments.
While packing up the study last week, my mother ran across an old book she’d found years ago at a used book store called The Pastor’s Wife. It’s written by Mrs. Carolyn P. Blackwood, a minister’s wife from Princeton, NJ and published in 1950. I vaguely remember when my mother bought this book. The whole concept- a serious how to guide for preacher’s wives -made her laugh since she felt like in some ways she’d thrown out “the book” through her many years of discerning how her call and my dad’s vocation aligned. [smile] When she rediscovered it on the book shelves, she decided to pass it along to me to enjoy as I begin to negotiate the same waters very soon.
I’ve started reading bits and pieces just for fun and for the anthropological curiosity of the history of the role I’m about to take on. The introduction by the Rev. Blackwood provides a good glimpse into the scope of his wife’s book:
This book deals with the mistress of the manse in a church of average size, or smaller. The author views her as a full-time partner in the most important work on earth, and as largely responsible for her husband’s success or failure. Kindly and clearly these chapters discuss her problems and difficulties. Hence the volume will appeal to countless good women out on the field, and younger ones with eyes turned that way.
It’s hard not to smile when I think about how I’m one of those “younger ones with eyes turned that way.” [smile] Clearly The Pastor’s Wife was written in a very different age, but even so a book like this helpfully brings forth the idea of expectations. Each of the chapters examines a different expectation: “As Her Husband’s Helper;” “As a Financier;” As a Worker with Women;” “As a Subject of Criticism;” “As a Friend to Everyone;” “As a Community Force;” and “As an Uncrowned Queen.” So maybe society’s expectations for who a pastor’s wife will be has changed a bit, but that doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared entirely. [smile]
Frankly knowing that some people will expect me to act a certain way or participate in specific groups because of Caleb’s vocational choice sometimes freaks me out. But… expectations are a part of life together- not just the small life together of our marriage, but the grand life together of living in this world. So lately when I begin to “freak out” about the prospect of taking on this role, I’ve tried to remind myself that expectations can be good. Expectations can be opportunities that provide spaces to explore something new both for the expector and the expectee. [smile] At least that’s how I’m choosing to see them today.
Today I am thankful for expectations.
What are you grateful for?