On a plane in conversation with a seat-partner or in a line at the grocery store when I introduce myself and my profession, I notice the surprise that breaks across the face of my conversation partner. Sometimes, the surprise holds a twinge of disapproval, but most of the time it reflects general disorientation. I know my gender and age have a significant part of their reaction: I am not what they expected. As a blonde thirty-five-year-old mother of three, I am not the typical ordained Baptist pastor.
But an article I read this week caused me to wonder if the reaction might be, instead, a reaction to this ancient profession to which I have been called.
While the article is written hyperbolically, I know it attests to a real perception amongst our culture. “What do you do during the week?” is asked with some regularity. If someone has longer than a few moments with me, they seek some details of what keeps me busy, with an underlying sense of judgment or disbelief.
I discussed the article with my husband last night as we cleaned up the kitchen. My oldest son listened as he was playing Legos at the table. I know he is listening in on our conversations more lately. I look over and wonder, what will he think of me one day? What will be left of this clergy tradition? Will he understand this vocation to which I give my life? Will he know what I do in the office each week? Will he know what I labor over and whether it was all worth it?