Somehow you forget what it was like.
Your baby eventually does rip off five, six hours of sleep in a row and you forget what it was like in the beginning. How you stared incomprehensibly at your toothbrush — where does this thing go again?How you couldn’t figure out why the Letter to the Romans was not behind Revelation in your Bible — this thing is alphabetized, right? You forget how you lost your glasses on your face, your keys in your pocket. How you put peanut butter on both sides of a piece of bread. And how you almost lost all faith and religion and even Jesus in the dark interminable nights when the flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone would not (for-the-love-of-God) stop crying. Somehow you forget what it was like; and you ask a baby-strapped colleague at presbytery: So, how is she sleeping?
Seated at the right hand of the Father, you imagine that Jesus tweets a facepalm emoji!
You must feel that Jesus weeps when a six-week infant must attend meetings. Yet, you were impressed and encouraged and inspired and full of hope when the Lord sent the Spirit like a Wild Mama Goose to roust your colleagues into creating an overture for PAID FAMILY LEAVE.
Even before they get into the weeds of G-2.0804 and G-3.0303c, not to mention the Board of Pensions, you could already imagine the pushback: Churches won’t be able to afford that.
You don’t need to be a policy wonk to realize that the overtures were essentially bypassed by parliamentary magic. And, if you are honest, you suspect that the Church Polity and Ordered Ministries Committee presented late on Friday night because everyone was already tired — too tired to take up the resolutions. You would not like to be cynical.
So, you hope this is not the end of such overtures. You hope people will not become too tired or discouraged. You hope and pray that smart, faithful people may find ways for churches to support pastors in their calls to ministry and to family— to both sides now. Because, you reason, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility (even with financial limitations) that people of good will might remember what it was like. And so, a pastor might have her or his peanut butter … and eat it too.
ANDREW TAYLOR-TROUTMAN is pastor of Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church, a congregation in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and has a certificate in narrative healthcare. His recent essays have been published online at Mockingbird and his poetry at Bearings. He and his wife, Ginny, have three children.