Sunday, May 06, 2012

It Is What It Is

Today the church my husband has served for almost 11 years voted to end his ministry. He had done nothing wrong—no adultery or lying or betrayal or anything amoral—and so I am still surprised, and wondering, really, what this vote was all about. I have my theories, and as the minister’s wife, I know much, not because my husband confides in me but, because, the congregants do. Like my husband, I keep those confidences close. But after more than a decade, I am able to pull pieces together, work the perimeter of the puzzle, and gander my guesses on the motivations of the small group of individuals which led the charge for his ouster.

But… the theories will have to wait for another day, another post. Perhaps a novel, for there is much fodder in these experiences—I sit in a unique perch.

What I am left with is a myriad of emotions. We moved to Maryland to serve this church. We uprooted ourselves from Massachusetts to hedge our future on this spiritual community. There are a tremendous number of good people in this small Unitarian Universalist church, and we have made some life-long friendships. But there have been tremendous hurts and betrayals as well. While I will not go into specifics, I can say they involved many of the seven deadlies, and at times, were directed at me, my children, or other congregants.

My emotions include the usual suspects—sadness, anger, bafflement, contempt—but what lingers most is disappointment. The human condition is so… human. Living is a constant battle of tamping down the dark side inherent in each of us. My disappointment stems in some individuals’ inability to recognize their contribution to the morass of the church.

I am glad to be rid of the negativity. It has seeped into my pores the past two years or so, insidious. Going to church began to feel like a bad commute. Not the singing, not the sermon or service—those always lifted me—but the times in between, when people clumped together, scheming, plotting, rumor-mongering over coffee. I will not miss those who lacked the courage to be upfront with my husband, with me, with themselves, for in their zeal they have managed to achieve their goal—and divide a community in the process.

Is my husband perfect? By no means. He is human, not a God, but the expectations laid at his feet would cripple any person. Once in my life I considered becoming a minister. I see now what a failure I would be—I could never act with the grace and good-will and even compassion my husband provided. My lips would be chewed raw from all the words I would swallow back. Perhaps I would fling the F-word from the pulpit. My man behaved with integrity, which is more than many of those around him did, and I am so very proud of him.

And so very proud of those who speak their minds, act their convictions, and do so not out of malice but with an honest heart. Of course, I am writing this, I have been writing this for two years, the stories need to be told, not out of malice, but out of the need to open the eyes of others to what it means to minister, what it means to find forgiveness.

Peace, Linda


  1. Ouch. I am so sorry. Pain and sorrow. Bewilderment. Be kind to yourselves.
    Hugs from afar.

  2. LInda I am so, so sorry to hear this. I wish things would have turned out differently but sometimes "those who lead the charge" can't be stopped in their march to destroy whatever it is they've got their sights on. I am glad your husband kept his cool - you should be proud of him. Like you, I'd be unable to keep my mouth shut. Oh well. I'm hoping this abrupt change, while extremely hard to swallow right now, will bring about good things in the future. With those kind of people in the congregation, with the type of hard feelings you all had, it couldn't have lasted forever without inflicting real harm on all of you. So cheers - here's to positive change and a real chance to find happiness elsewhere. Best of luck, my friend. Hugs and love.

  3. Don't know what to say. But I'm sad for you. What a heavy disappointment. I feel for your husband and kids. If I could I'd hug you all. People are good and bad and everything in between, no matter where they congregate.

  4. Like Mark, I don't know what to say except that I'm sorry how things worked out. I'll be thinking of you. As you always say to others - peace.

  5. thinking of you, Linda. i hope this is the beginning of a road to a next, happier thing.

  6. Dear all, thank you for your kind words. It is what it is. This, though, I can see: my family feels lighter, away from the toxicity. It IS quite amazing what lightening rods our spiritual leaders--and families--endure. Most people don't know. Which is why I am writing the book ;^) Peace...

  7. I am sorry for your troubles and hope a positive solution comes from it all. I agree with Moonrat that this is a new beginning. It is ok to close the page on this chapter and write a new one.

  8. Yes, UL and Moonie, this is a new chapter. A great way of looking at any momentous change. Thank you both! Peace...