Tuesday, August 9, 2011
To the Pastor's Family...
I cannot count the times that family plans have been interrupted by parish emergencies -- vacations post-poned, days off lost, family time with an absent dad. I do not complain about this and indeed count it a privilege to be part of their lives when those in my parish encounter the darkest of life's days. Now that my kids are pretty well grown, I am even more conscious of their sacrifice so that I could be there with others. Crunched schedules interrupted by emergencies often means that the family loses. I cannot count the times the ring of a phone or cell phone has changed everything that was going to happen that day or that week.
If there is conflict, the family is caught up in it (defending their loved one and wounded in the cross fire). If there are parish struggles, the struggles follow the Pastor home at night and, whether openly discussed or hidden, they cast their long shadows over his home and family. If there are people in need, their needs seem always to be greater or more urgent than the needs of the family (whether this is real or a perception).
I just wanted to take a moment to laud the real structure that supports every Pastor who is married -- the family. They are honest with him when no one else is. They are supportive of him when others are not. They encourage him even when it means they lose out on time with him. They ground him in life for His service to the Lord and to His Church. Even when tensions exist at home, this is a reminder to the Pastor that life is real land messy, that words slip out in the midst of anger, that actions can deliberately or inadvertently wound. As a Pastor I have learned from my family as much as I have learned from my parishes about these things.
So kudos to the Pastor's family -- to wives who share their husbands with a mistress known as the Church and to children who share their dads with his second family. Kudos to the Pastor's family who ground him and his work upon the sturdy field of love, forgiveness, and sacrifice. Kudos to the Pastor's family who did not necessarily sign on for this but who have taken the bad with the good and still hang in there.
Today as I approach the end of summer (school has begun and with it catechism class and a host of other seasonal parish activities), I lament the many things I had hoped to do over the summer -- most of which with my family -- and I marvel again over their support and sacrifice that makes what I do possible. God bless you -- my wife and kids and the extended family so far away because this is where God has called me to serve. God bless you!