A Story from a Pastor's Husband
by Frank Attanasia
When we first got married, one day Harriet, that is my
spouse, (why is the plural of spouse not spice?) Harriet
asks me as to whether she may borrow my tape cassette
You see there is a home bound elderly congregant who
would love to hear the sermons and hymns on Sunday,
but is too frail to get to church. May I BORROW YOUR
Feeling sorry, or should I say empathy, as any good social
worker should/would/could. I say to my wife,wanting to please
as a new husband, do an act of kindness, and be liked by
the Gray Panthers at her church, I say "of course". So above
said cassette-tape player is borrowed.
One month later, no cassette player is returned. I wait an
additional 10 days to be in solidarity with Jesus, so 40
days later I ask, "Harriet, is your homebound friend using
the tape player. She replies, "yes Frank dear."
Another interval of days go by. I ask the following Sunday,
"how is your congregant enjoying the sermons dear"? She
replies that it is wonderful, the elderly lost sheep is home
feeling less isolated and in communion with the fellowship.
I am somewhat happy/chagrined/puzzled.
I wait another week. I say "Harriet," she says yes Frank
dear? I say, "Harriet my little doe"? When will I be getting
back my tape-cassette player"? She says, "you are not."
I say, "excuse me,"? She goes on to explain that when I said
she could borrow it, she thought I meant she could borrow
it forever since we have another.
I look at her amazed/incredulous/ figuring out that since she
was married once before, that when one enters the labyrinth
within the labyrinth, being married to someone who was once
married, which by the way got me into trouble with the Roman
Catholic authorities, for at the time I was still a Roman Catholic,
this is another story, but needless to say the Gray Panthers at
my wife's church and the Roman hierarchy both went to the same
sensitivity training, the one given by Attila the Hun, Marquis De
Sade, Mary Shelly, (which is really fodder for another story),
although I think it more accurate to say, Roaming catholic,
as I had been exploring alternate spiritual homes, and this was
my first marriage, and I need to not only learn the art of sharing
in a marriage, having been a bachelor until the age of 36, and
perhaps in entering a time/space dimension/uncharted
constellation/galaxy, that few are brave enough to enter,
being a pastor's husband, there is a whole new use of language
and conceptual framework from which one operates.
I venture to show her the definition of borrow, that most folks
understand. THAT SAID ABOVE LENT OBJECT WILL
RETURN TO SENDER, (thank-you Elvis).
Harriet again says to me, "oh"?
Don't you just love Zen and minimalism in responses. An
art I have learned during twelve years of marriage and
counting, oh I gave up counting. I decided to use this most
perplexing, yet enlightening experience in a future sermon.
I wrote the above said experience, and concluded, that just
as being in a pastor/spouse relationship, as the said male
partner, one learns that, just like the tape-cassette recorder,
when we are baptized into the covenant by baptism, and
once we enter the sacred commitment, of marriage, Jesus,
like Harriet, borrows things/us forever.
I also reminded her that when Noah boarded the ark, he took
two of everything. She replied yes Frank dear, but he only
took one wife!