Saturday, May 20, 2023

Boundaries. . .

I must confess that boundaries are not something I am good at.  Perhaps it is a vocational weakness or just my own character flaw but, in any case, I have always had a problem separating my profession from my person.  While that affects mostly me, the other side of that equation is what a terrible job I have done over the years giving my wife and family the priority they are due.  Every pastor knows how unpredictable life is -- people have a habit of having a crisis or of dying on the days I am supposed to be off or we had plans.  Although I have promised to make up for those times when you could not get away, I have not done a very good job.  The truth is that the congregation has enjoyed much of the free time I was supposed to take off for my family or myself.  I am sure that I am not alone but that does not give my family much consolation nor does it leave me off the hook.

It would be worse but God gave me someone who constantly holds me accountable.  That gift is a wife who is better at boundaries than I am and who guards my boundaries for me.  She is a gift and a blessing to me for being jealous of my time and of my mental and physical health.  The reality is that the is about the only one who has the perspective and who knows what is going on and who can take on that task for me.  I may be the provider but she is the protector of me, of my reputation, of my health and well-being, and of my inability to say no to just about anything related to the work of the Church.  At times, I have put her in the awkward position of competing with God, as it were, for my full attention and calendar.  That is how it seems, anyway.  And who can say no to God?  

Amy has been more than I deserve and I was better off than she has been in this thing called marriage.   I make this public statement because I hope and pray that other pastors will do a better job than I fear I have done in keeping the boundaries of the home and the time for those within the marriage and family.  I also write this in the hope and prayer that every pastor has such a loving and faithful wife who keeps tabs on them and calls them to account when their boundaries are broken.  She has sat beside me on the precious few days away we have enjoyed while I was on the phone, consoling a family or planning a funeral.  She has put up with the unpredictable hours that were once a not so funny joke:  I will be home in a few hours....-- yeah, right.  She knows better and even I do but I hate to admit it.

Since February 12 when I fractured my ankle, she has been there in spades for me.  I am a terrible patient and patience is not my strong suit but by the time you read this I hope she will be relieved of some of her responsibilities as driver, lugging around the knee scooter, watching the wound heal, taking me to a more doctor's appointments and physical therapy sessions that I have ever been before, and doing everything to make sure that, despite my impatience and frustration, it all heals up.

We are celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary today.  She is more than my wife -- she is my best friend.  She knows my faults and loves me still.  She has forgiven more than her share of broken promises and watched as too much of her life ended up revolving around mine and the congregations I have served.  What can I say but Thank you, my love!  Thank God you came into my life and God bless you for all I have put you through.  Everyone says C. S. Lewis said it and if he did not, he should have.  Love is never wasted for its value does not rest upon reciprocity.  What that means is this -- the love you give that never gets returned is not lost or wasted or foolish.  That love is the most profound love of all.  Thank you, Amy, for your love.  I will have to go a long way to be as loving and faithful as you have been and are to me. 


gamarquart said...

Thank you. A wonderful homage to your wife.
Please accept my warmest congratulations and best wishes on the occasion.
Peace and Joy,
George A. Marquart

jdwalker said...

Hope you had a blessed anniversary!