You might not guess it from reading this blog, but I am hesitant to be angry. I’m not sure that “slow to anger” expresses it accurately. I get angry in a hurry, but I am diplomatic and talk myself out of feeling or expressing anger. There are two sides to every story; cut them some slack -- they are trying to do the right thing; everyone has a bad day.
Talking to myself that way is an effective method of getting through everyday frustrations. I don’t ascribe malice to store clerks who are rude, or to friends who occasionally forget something important to me.
Sometimes, though, anger is the only thing. These days I lie awake at night having completely interior rages. I am furious, outside myself, that a narcissistic control-freak is calling the shots at our church; that he seems to lack the capacity to express pastoral concern toward many people, that a large portion of the staff and congregation seem emotionally and spiritually parched. That his wife is an ambulatory abcess of festering anger, blame, and manipulation who calls my husband in the room when she wants to lance a boil. For us to remain here means that Husband will continue to be abused and manipulated, though he guards against it much better than he used to. For us to leave means that God cannot use Husband to strengthen the very significant weaknesses in this congregation.
AND, above-mentioned unacknowledged weaknesses of sr. pastor mean that MY FAMILY will move to yet another church, settle in yet another community. That my son may well attend five different schools before he is 6 years old, this child whose particular anxieties reach their peak when stability and predictability are removed. It also means that my three-year-old's ruptured appendix will not be the most memorable thing about late 2009. I thought I'd have the sort of life in which that would rank as THE MAJOR TRAUMA of the year.
Deep down I trust that God is with us and we will be ok, but when I picture moving anywhere, I imagine plowing through the big transition and then arriving, settling, and sitting alone in my new house wishing I were not me. God would be with me there. I know it would end after a while, that I would make friends and adjust to wherever we are, but it seems like that would be a long way from here, with a deep valley in between.
For all that, I also feel compassion for Mr. and Mrs. senior pastor. I know they are miserable and stressed and probably feel trapped much as I do. I'm sure that they love God and want to serve Him.
Someone has described my situation as “a tight spot.” An accurate and generous phrase, I’d say.