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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 
player. 

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 
TAPE RECORDER? 

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!

 
rowland @ johnmarkministries . org
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