Help! I feel like a girl!

No doubt you’ve heard the sayings “wait ’til the boot is on the other foot” or “your chickens will always come home to roost”. It’s like saying “what goes around comes around” or “you get what you deserve”. Seems like there are so many ways to say it. But I’m getting mine.

Some nights of the week, my wife will walk in the front door talking to someone from work on the cell. I think she’s talking to me so I start to talk back, only to see the hand go up. I feel miffed. Slighted. Other nights after she’s arrived home, she’ll be sending and receiving text messages and I think “for God’s sake, you’re home now, enough already!”

You see, the kids and I haven’t seen her all day. By the time she gets home, the kids have an hour before bed. They all have stories to tell about their day, but she’s still making calls and firing off texts. I wonder why she couldn’t get it done during work hours. I wonder why it can’t wait until tomorrow. I’m always up to my armpits in the sink, or trying to dish up food, couldn’t she help get the meal on instead? I feel hurt. Snubbed. Aren’t we important too? Doesn’t she want to talk to us? I feel like a desperate housewife longing for some attention when the husband gets home.

Then I remember all too well. When I was pastoring, I did it all the time – and worse. I did it from my bed late at night. I would sit outside in the driveway on the phone. I would get phone calls on weekends dealing with all kinds of problems. I would take calls in the car on family trips. One burned out pastor I spoke to said his wife once called him on his cell while he was in the house. She claimed she wanted to hear him talk to her like he talked to his parishioners. OUCH!

The rationale is hard to escape. I used to figure that if I can fire off a few texts, make a few calls, it will get the monkey off my back. It will ease the pressure – alleviate the workload. After all, if I can just get to these few things, it will only take few minutes and tomorrow won’t be so hectic. If it doesn’t get done today, it will pile up and tomorrow will be hell. There’s a lot of merit to the mentality and it’s so easy to buy into.

But the message it sends to loved ones is that work, and other people are more important. And it’s not the time spent doing it, it’s having your mind in two places. You’re physically present, but your loved one’s don’t have your presence, and that is more hurtful than if you’re not present at all.

I feel for anyone trapped in a job that is so demanding, it overflows into their family life. It’s not a nice place to live in. Now that I’m on the receiving end, I know I’m eating humble pie and getting my just desserts, but I still can’t help feeling like a girl when it happens to me!

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4 Responses

  1. Jack, more of us guys need to fell like a girl from time to time; and do we need some humble pie!

    Now if we were a radical Christ centred church we’d be addressing the problem of work as an idol, one of the biggest issues in the English speaking world.

    Enjoy the pie 🙂

    Simon

  2. Yeah works overrated simon! Actually most recent research on the link between work and happiness showed that when we are working commensurate with our desire to work we are happy. If we feel under or over worked our happiness decreases. Interesting huh.

    I work three days per week (one picking tomatoes, and another working for a NGO in mental health) and I think that’s enough. I’m worried that any more than that and it will start to take over my life…..

  3. Ah yes Jack I was that pastor who was called by his wife at home. I question whether I will ever work full time again, not so much because of burnout, but because I forgot how much I could enjoy life. At first I felt stripped of identity. Now I see my real identity being reclaimed. The journey is worth it after all.

  4. Hey Bobby, you’re right. The life I used to live was so wrapped up in the church and I didn’t realize what it was like to live outside it. The world is so much bigger than the church, and there’s no pressure to “be” anything. And like you, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to full time work. I’d rather have less money and more time for relationships and the things I love. I think my life will be “richer” for it.

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