Excuse Me.

I've struggled to point to examples of why my relationship with my colleague isn't ideal. In some ways, I am blessed that I can't conjure up a list upon request. I cannot cite all of the wrongs. I can only share that these moments hurt. The emotional impact lingers more than the details of the would-be crime.

But, here I am on my colleague's day off working on the church newsletter and wondering about the summer. I learned yesterday that there was a woman near death. She's not a member. She's beloved by one of our members. He wanted to know if he or I would do the service. Of course. The call came today. She died last night. The funeral home called my colleague at home and he agreed that one of us would do it. My colleague then called me and asked me to do it for a particular time on Saturday.

I was in Bible Study when he left the message. I had gotten a similar message last week, which I consider to be rude. I know that people die and these events interrupt our lives as clergy. We are called to be there. I'm ususally happy to be there -- but not when I don't get the first call. Not when I don't get to talk to the funeral home or the family to agree on a time. Not when it's dictated to me when and where I should offer the blessings of God. It just rubs the wrong way. Tell me I'm overreacting, if you must. Tell me that's what I'm called to do. I know. I just want to feel like I'm actually part of a team rather than waiting in the wings for someone that doesn't want to go on stage. You can also tell me that was a bad metaphor for what we do. This isn't a stage -- but I'm feeling dramatic.


Songbird said...

I will say this: as a solo pastor I often don't get any say in when a service is; the family and the funeral home "tell" me. But I understand there are broader issues here.

LadyBurg said...

I hear you. As an associate, its not that you have to do it, its who tells you to do it. We don't get the respect, just told what to do.

I also know that these things build and build. Small crimes become bigger and bigger crimes because the overall relationship is wounded. I am sorry. I know this too well and I wish I had some helpful advise.

In my case, things turned around but that is not the norm.

LittleMary said...

granted, i am not an associate but this seems like you are being dumped on when he doesn't feel like doing something pretty important. not fair. life isn't fair, fine, but still.

Pastor Peters said...

songbird, you're right. it's not that we have the choice. but it'd be nice that he say he's unavailable to the funeral home and then having them call me rather than triangulating me (and them).

i want to think he's not dumping, little mary. but it seems he is more often that not. i can only pray to find myself in a position like ladyburg.

Songbird said...

Yes, I agree about that, pp.

apbs said...

i too appreciate it when the rector says, "i'm not available. here's our associate's number. please call her." then he normally calls me before they get to me to tell me who died and which person from the funeral home will be calling. the outcome is still the same--i do the funeral--, but it makes a world of difference to me for a minimal amount of effort on his part. his does all this unprompted, though.

also, as a sidebar, the family, the funeral home, and the church work to find a mutually convenient time, based on everyone's schedules, not just the family's and the funeral home's. sometimes the church has been reserved for months for a concert or something, and that can't just be ignored (though we do sometimes butt up right against things).

anyhow, that feels crappy to me, too, pastor peters.

more cows than people said...

yes, i agree, it feels crappy. i know it is rare, but it seems that my friends who are happy associates truly find themselves on collaborative teams. it sounds like, at least in this area, this is not your experience. i'm sorry to hear that.