Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Agreeing to disagree (with myself)

I reread my untitled blog entry from May 28 and decided I don't really agree with it after all. (That's really something, to disagree with yourself!) I had several opportunities to listen well last week--with dear friends, with hurting people, with family--and the truth is, I love it. I love being able to offer to the people I care about something real--the space to think through their own thoughts and a caring place to feel what they feel. And I don't really feel deprived of that in my own life--if you're reading this blog, chances are that I could pick up the phone and have your loving attention in a heartbeat.

So what was it that I was trying to say? I think I was frustrated with feeling used. It's probably the same way that accountants feel when people pump them for free tax advice at parties or the way doctors feel when people say, "Could you just look at this place on my back real quick?" It's when I sense that the other person has no interest in me or in a real friendship (maybe it's the fact that they talk for hours without ever asking?) and when they demand my time and sympathy. I think maybe it's the "pastor's wife" label--it makes people think they're entitled to it and frankly, sometimes it makes me feel as though I have to give it to them. So maybe that's what I was trying to say. Or maybe not. We'll see . . .

1 comment:

Electric Monk said...

That's gotta be the toughest thing about being a professional minister. You gotta live like Jesus, who didn't get paid, and yet you've gotta put food on the table as well. I think you should carry a timer with you. Everyone gets some arbitrary amount of time, say 15 minutes. Whenever someone starts talking about their nanny's boyfriend, you pull out the tomorrow and, without a word, start it. Then, once the timer reaches zero, you're done with the pro bono work and you start charging them an hourly rate! That way, you can still feel like you're helping people, but maybe they'll start taking the hint!