Trigger. As in “pull the?” Exactly. It is day fifteen and I just had the trigger shot. Some of you know what this sentence means without me explaining any further. For those who don’t, I almost wish I was still in your shoes. I didn’t know what this meant until about two months ago when my husband and I decided to go forward with in vitro fertilization (IVF). For unexplained reasons, we can’t conceive. No one knows exactly why and it doesn’t really matter. We are in our mid-thirties, own a house and a business, have successfully raised pets and tomatoes, so babies seem the next natural step. We want them and are trying not to be desperately wanting them.
After ten years in ordained ministry I have finally been called to a head pastor position. I’m on my own. I make the decisions. I hire and fire. I don’t have to ask permission to start a new ministry or go see someone in the hospital. I get to preach Christmas and Easter and stand in the aisle and ask questions for the sermon if I want. It may not be glorious work, but I love the work. I love the people. And I have lied to them. It’s wonderful fun to lead the congregation I have been called to and I love being on my own. But what does one do when they need to miss a Sunday to go have an ultrasound and blood work? IVF requires almost constant monitoring and I just can’t say, “Oh I need to be away to see if my ovaries are progressing well and my estrogen levels are healthy.”
What is the appropriate line to share with my church leadership? How do I tell my parish secretary that I will be away a few days so I can maybe see if we might be able to bring a little one into our lives? I haven’t figured it out…so I lied. I told them I was going to a conference (which I was actually scheduled to attend, but didn’t) when I was really traveling to the largest city near us for IVF monitoring. I feel guilty, yet not enough to let them in on our quest. It’s so emotional. I’m not embarrassed. I just cannot handle their expectations on top of my own. My sweet hubby’s desire to be a dad is almost more than I can bear alone.
When is it okay for the parishioners to be the pastors and the pastor to be the one in need of care? I don’t know the answer to that one either. So I sit here on day fifteen, having pulled the trigger on my body, and wondering if I pulled some sort of other trigger in my ministry. A trigger that allows lying and doesn’t allow weakness. Sounds pretty un-Christ-like to me. How can I be so bad at being vulnerable?