My preacher's wife is dying. And it's a hard pill to swallow ... for everyone who knows her.
Let me back up a little. Having been a preacher's wife long ago, but deciding I wasn't meant for the fishbowl life that my mother had lived, I know what those wives go through. It's really hard to please everyone, you see. The scrutiny that preachers' wives endure is incredible. Everything the family does is analyzed, from the way the kids are raised, to whether or not the PW (we'll just shorten the subject at hand) is teaching in Vacation Bible School. She should be, ya know! She should be teaching in every class, Wednesdays and Sundays, and in VBS. (tongue in cheek here)
Even as a PK (preacher's kid), I remember answering the phone one day (a mere teenager at the time), chirping, "Joe's Morgue ... you stab 'em ... we slab 'em ..." only to be met with an awkward silence.
I quickly hung up, and the phone rang again. Mother made me answer. I raised my voice an octave higher, "Hello?"
A sweet, sweet lady in the church, one whose husband was currently MIA in Vietnam, had called both times -- the first time, met with my strange answer. She told my mother she must have called the wrong number.
Anyway ... I actually developed a pretty rotten attitude before my career as a PW ended ~ something like, "If you want something to talk about, I'll give it to you."
I was a huge disappointment in many ways. Let's just leave it there for now. This is enough honesty for now.
But having worn those PW shoes, I understand how difficult it is to wear them. A PW has to be very selective in her friendships; yet, she has to be a friend to all. She has to be gracious, hospitable, and gentle. But in order to be a good wife, she also has to have strong, solid boundaries, which I couldn't maintain.
Our "Belinda" did, though. And as a PW, she was all of the above ... gracious, hospitable, gentle. The first time I heard her speak at a ladies' day, I was enamored. Her gentle spirit was a knock-you-over kind of spirit. Her faith, very real. Her smile was warm and literally invited you into her life.
Almost two years ago ... I was in a very bad time. A counselor had strongly urged my husband and me to go through something called, "Dynamic Marriage." I wanted nothing ... nothing ... to do with it. But because this wise counselor was so convinced it would make a difference, I grudgingly agreed. After all, it was only eight weeks, and I could at least go through the motions.
Belinda and Tim (her husband/our preacher) facilitated the sessions. Eight grueling sessions. Even though I came into the program with a hard heart and an angry, defiant spirit ... never did Belinda draw back from me. In fact, she welcomed my comments each week, smiling warmly at me with encouragement and love ... her eyes riveted on mine ... welcoming anything I shared.
Needless to say, that experience was a life-changer. So much so, that a few months later, my husband and I signed up to go through the program again. We thought we could gain a little more for ourselves, since the first time was so raw and emotional. Once again, Belinda and Tim were there. [The funny thing about that second go-around was that we didn't gain for ourselves - but we wound up being there "for others" - which is really another story for another day.]
During the last couple of weeks of the second go-around, Terry and I sat on the front row, where I spoke with Belinda for a few minutes about migraines ... because Tim had mentioned she'd had some bad ones. I call my migraines "LEFT," I told her. They always hit my left side. I shared that I had only had the "sparklies" a couple of times, when all you see is sparkles before you are totally blinded on that side. She told me that she, too, suffered with bad migraines. We talked about "pressure points," and I shared that I had tried using that pressure-point technique ... as well as Imitrex, before finally turning to Codeine when all else failed.
Little did anyone know.
Little did anyone know that two months later, Belinda would be diagnosed, not with migraines, but with an inoperable brain tumor.
Little did anyone know that she would face chemo and radiation.
Little did anyone know that a doctor would say he couldn't do anything else ... that Hospice would be called in.
Little did anyone know that Belinda would be in her final days, but still encouraging others to march on ... press on. Because the days are few. The trials are many. Life is short and very unpredictable. Press on, for you know not the day ... nor the hour when you will be called home.
None of us want to say good-bye. But we must. This world is not our home ... we're just a'passin' through ... we sing that together sometimes, but some of us don't really believe that deep down. We think we might live here forever.
Thankfully, there is a God, One Who awaits Belinda's arrival. His smile is gentle; He is gracious; He has prepared a home for her ... because He is hospitable like that. His daughter, Belinda, is like He is in that way. Hospitable.
Too much for you to think about? Well, death is too much. But it's part of the Master's plan. And I'd rather face death with a faith like Belinda's, than face death with no faith at all.
So I'm talking about it. And I'm working on that faith.
And I'm talking about Dynamic Marriage, a life-changer. Because no matter where you are in your marriage, this program is a life-changer. It was Tim and Belinda's ministry, among many other ministries.
My preacher's wife is dying. Do you hear me? It's a hard pill for us to swallow. But for Belinda, it's just going Home, and believe me ... she's ready.