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Thursday, June 21, 2012
Ask the Matriarch - Calling and Family
Our question this week is quite specific, but it hits on broader issues that many of us have to grapple with at one time or another. Might you have some insight for our colleague? Read on...
My situation is this: I was told of a job that sounds good for me -- my interests, gifts and experience fit it well and it combines pastoral work with chaplaincy. The initial response to my application was quick and very positive. However, it is over an hour commute (with traffic) and though the hours are flexible, I would be away from home about 3 nights a week, plus weekends and taking a turn at on call. The pay isn't bad for pastoral work. There is the option of a parsonage/apartment. My spouse is well-established in a great job, and our youngest will be a senior in high school. We own our own home (or it owns us).
The decision is difficult since moving (i.e. to the parsonage) would take our youngest out of her well-established niche, a place where she is happy and thriving, and move her to a less desirable high school. The commute would likely kill my old faithful SUV after about a year of that much mileage. (Not to mention the gas money! YIKES) And the organization would like us to worship as a family with them, something that my family is not excited about changing at this point. Even a year from now, when Youngest Child is off to college, it would be a hard choice.
I came into my Call well into my marriage and family years... so their concerns are not without merit (i.e. this was not part of our life together from the start) and I am hesitating. I'm definitely pulled towards this job...
I fully realize that my response here should be one of reflective listening and perhaps offering resources on discernment and certainly encouragement to pray and discuss these things with your family and God and your family and God some more. BUT, to be more blunt, I think your second paragraph answers the question. 3 strikes and this opportunity is OUT (1-moving senior from high school, 2 - commute that will void salary and family time, 3 - worship commitment)!
At the same time I hear your as you describe being 'pulled' towards this job. Certainly there is room for figuring out what it is that pulls you towards it (interesting that it does so even with the weeknights, weekends and on-call time). Is it possible this job opportunity opens up an avenue to talk with your spouse about what is 'next' once youngest moves out of the nest?
Prayers for you and yours as you attempt to hit that Call/family/personal balance that all of us strive for.
I (earthchick) am with Kathryn! I personally couldn't conceive of pursuing a call that would be this disruptive to my family and my life. Even though my call came well before family and marriage, it does not somehow trump that part of my life. To me, there are too many red flags on this one. It sounds like it would be ideal "if only" - if only every other major part of your life (spouse, child, house, car, worship) were not an obstacle. I like Kathryn's suggestion that you might consider this an opportunity to explore with your husband what might be next. This has obviously triggered a yearning in you - how might you listen to that yearning without necessarily attaching it to this particular opportunity?
We did not hear from other matriarchs this week, but we would to hear from you! What counsel would the rest of you offer to our sister? Please join us in the comments section. And as always, we welcome your questions at askthematriarch[at]gmail[dot]com. The queue is empty, so now is a great time to send your questions our way!