A Welcome Message

posted in: Uncategorized | 14

pastor's wife blog - two sons on mountainBeing a pastor’s wife doesn’t mean I climb mountains more than the average person, although hiking is a favorite activity in our family.  The picture of our two sons was taken in the Colorado Rockies, where the five of us spent a breathtaking (sometimes literally) week the summer before last.  Getting to a high place and enjoying a visual panorama is always a thrilling experience.  My title here, though, refers more to the kind of expansive view I get to have from my vantage point as a clergy spouse with layers of involvement in the secular world. Sometimes there is a lovely blending of elements, and sometimes things collide in a dizzying way.  More and more, I am struck by how often two contrasting experiences keep company together.  And, in the same way that bugs are drawn to a light source, I find myself wanting to get closer to see what is really going on when something bumps up against something else.

This contrast is often just plain funny, and often it has nothing to do with being a pastor’s wife.  Just the other day, for instance, following the freakish October snowstorm we had in this part of New England, our teenage daughter came home from a sledding expedition saying, “I still have my bathing suit on!”  Turns out that following the whooshing down a hill on snow that wasn’t supposed to be there, she and her friends went to a hotel where one of the girls’ families had been staying because of the multi-day power outage.  And there, of course, they went swimming in the pool.  Everything got jumbled, and it was all good.

welcome message - where ceiling and wall colors meetAnother example, more visual:  My husband painted our bedroom recently, and my favorite part is the line between the rich beige (called “Amulet”) and the white of the ceiling.   Over and over, my eye is drawn to where the two colors come together…but stay separate.  These places, to me, illustrate so much that is true about regular life.  Sometimes we can see them, and sometimes we just feel them.  An ordinary moment in the present takes us right back to a time long ago; a person who is known for behaving one way does something completely uncharacteristic; an experience we counted on to be wonderful turns out to be crushingly disappointing.   We are shaken or maybe moved by the juxtaposition of things, and we try to get hold of our feelings.  During the years that I worked at a tough urban high school where students’ basic needs were often unmet while my own kids were choosing among an array of extra-curricular activities, I felt that I was leading a kind of “split screen” life.  It wasn’t a question of which side I was on, but rather an issue of trying to see as clearly as possible what was happening, to make out as best I could the topography of the landscape.

In some instances, blending, or perhaps equalizing, can be beautiful; but, depending on what you’re trying to merge, it might also cause a giving up of an essence.  In that famous poem, “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost begins with “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” but his neighbor is adamant that “ ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’ “  It is, of course, ironic that they may meet only once a year to replace the boulders that keep a line between them.  Bring us together if you can, but don’t forget to respect boundaries at the same time.

On this site, I will be exploring all kinds of topics within the theme of duality, adjacency, differences finding common ground  – or maybe at least meeting for a handshake and mutual recognition.   I anticipate that my life as a clergy spouse (with no previous background in churchgoing) will lend a good bit of material on the secular/religious tones in the culture, but that will be just one subject of these essays.  Unlike some of the other pastors’ wives whose blogs you can easily find, I won’t be writing a whole lot about parish life, my own faith or what we clergy spouses have in common.   But my rich experience living alongside an Episcopal priest will, to some extent, affect my vision.  Since I have spent much of the last decade raising three children and taking them to hundreds of practices and games, I have become particularly familiar with the terrain of youth sports.  Indeed, some would say that a whole new kind of religion has been created in this realm.  But what are we worshipping, exactly?  Feeling so many, often conflicting, tugs on our time, how do we best determine what is truly worth doing?

Thanks for joining me as I try to paint the panorama that I see.   I look forward to hearing your responses along the way.



14 Responses

  1. Jack McLean


    Thank you for the endearing image of beige meeting white at the ceiling and where you took it from there. I have contemplated the same thing many times in my own homes, but never applied it to life. You have broken the code. You are a terrific writer and even better observer.
    We won’t find out your feelings about religion? Perhaps if we read between the lines!

  2. Katie

    hip hip hooray! Well done, Polly. Keep going!

  3. Jeanne P

    Hey Polly, thank you for inviting me into this sacred space of thought and observation. I admire you for being brave enough to share yourself with the rest of us in this way. Continue to honor yourself, your vision and voice as you continue this discipline. I look forward to more!

  4. Dave n' Marion Williams

    Too kool!!! Luv, Mn’D

  5. Caragh M. O'Brien

    Polly ~
    The juxtapositions can be so strange, and so human. Thanks for taking on what matters.
    All best,

  6. Carol

    Polly – what a lovely intro. You had me from the start. Congratulations on getting this thing online – I look forward to the good things to come!

  7. scottie faerber

    I am so impressed with your message of welcome, and
    how beautifully you write, and the subject of juxtapositions
    in life, of contrasts and comparisons, is so fascinating to
    me because life does have its own agenda, and you present
    that with understanding and sensitivity. Every good wish
    as you continue!

  8. Deb

    “I have become particularly familiar with the terrain of youth sports. Indeed, some would say that a whole new kind of religion has been created in this realm. But what are we worshipping, exactly? Feeling so many, often conflicting, tugs on our time, how do we best determine what is truly worth doing?” This is a question worth a summit discussion and then by-in to a solution or compromise from everyone involved.

  9. Barb

    Great banner by the away —

  10. Barb

    Love the intro,so you, and love that I have a mental picture of so much that you describe. Look forward to future postings!

  11. Lois Green

    Polly. Looking forward to following your blog.. Your writing draws the reader right in and enables one to visualize the scenes.

  12. Deb

    Don’t let maintaining your blog deter you from writing your book….will this venue help you define the topics you might write about?
    I have always loved reading your articles. Your topics resonate while the freshness and unique perspective that characterizes your writing demand thought and introspection.
    I look forward to following your blog….congrats Pol!

  13. Darcy

    I love your welcome message and reflection on contrast and juxtaposition of difference. Your musings remind me of a moment in Moby Dick (Chapter 11) when Ishmael, in bed with Queequeg, reflects on contrast. He points out that you feel most warm and cozy in bed when the room itself is cold. Or, to truly enjoy bodily warmth, a small part of you must be cold: “The more so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself.”

    You have a wonderful lens through which you will muse upon the world. I look forward to future postings.

  14. Barbara

    “Everything got jumbled, and it was all good.”

    You did it, cuz! Congrats on getting this blog up and running.
    I look forward to reading your writing in this venue.
    -your loyal fan.

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