Love, War and Wings

Tim-“I want WINGS with sauce.” Sam-“Oooohh Gross!”

It’s not easy to get in a good argument at church, especially when you’re Mr. and Mrs. Pastor. You snipe when no one’s looking and then smile when someone appears, get in a good dig and then pretend all is happy for the crowd.

“La La La …you peanut butter bone head.”

But yesterday, my husband and I even didn’t have the strength to play the happy Christian poser game.

It’s never a good idea to argue with a sick and hungry man (i.e. BIG CRANKY BABY) but I forget who I was dealing with, possibly because it seems like my husband is sick all the time (thanks to our germy toddler) or maybe because I had zero sympathy for the man who has a perennially runny nose.

Just as my husband was accusing me of never wanting to go his favorite restaurants (which I do all the time even though his idea of a good meal is how many sauces are offered) a darling woman from church approached us.  Normally, I would feign gaiety but this time I turned to her and blatantly confessed, “Excuse us; we’re fighting right now.”

She looked slightly stunned and then laughed. “Well can I interrupt your fight?”

Tim and I looked at each, snarled, and then turned to our friend and nodded our heads in agreement.

“I just wanted to say hi. What are you fighting over?”

“Where to go to lunch,” we said in unison.

“I have an app on my iPhone for that. I just shake it and it gives us the place to go.”

Tim and I looked at each and laughed. Maybe she was on to something.

I just wish there was an app that went further and got to the root of the problem. You could shake it and it would translate Mars to Venetian-like a mini-mobile me counselor.

When Tim says Sam never wants to eat his food he really means “I’m feeling sick, cranky and needy right now. I want to be taken care of and babied. I want you to want to eat wings and sauce, or maybe you could make me Top Ramen like my mom used to and then I would feel really loved.  I’m grumpy because I have a paper for seminary due tomorrow and I’m already exhausted before I even start the darn thing. Waa Waa.”

When Sam says she doesn’t want to go to Wild Wings she means-“I’m feeling overwhelmed and I can’t stand wings because they have 1900 calories before you add the sauce.  I don’t want to go home and make you Top Ramen because you will then turn on the football game and I am so sick of the NFL I can barely breathe. (If the tables were turned and you had to watch ten hours a week of chick stuff you would poke your eyes out too)  I have two huge writing projects I am working on and since you’re already overwhelmed I can’t even ask you for help, but I guarantee you will assume that I will care for the children while you do all your work, and oh, by the way, I still have to get my work done and I guess I will write in my sleep because clearly your crap is more important than mine. Waa Waa.”

It’s never really about “where we are going to lunch?” The fight is always about ten layers deeper than what you are bickering about and it has far more to do with feeling understood, empathized with and cared for.

And the truth is, when our bucket is full and we feel understood, we’d eat just about anything or anywhere (even Wild Wings) and watch endless hours of football for our beloved (remember dating?)

So, where did we go for lunch?

We went to Nordstrom’s Café, (where I wanted to go) and then we came home and I let Tim study. It was a compromise and that’s what we do in marriage.

But it would have been really fun to shake the phone.


My super-power is…

A woman came up to me last week at my son’s football game and said all in a rush, “I just discovered your blog and I’m like totally addicted and I had no idea you were so hysterical because in real life, you’re just, you know, the pastor’s wife. And, I’m not saying you’re dull or anything, but you’re not like all-out there in your face funny. And I really love your writing. I really do.”

“Uhhh, thanks,” I replied sheepishly.

I stood there with a dumb smile on my face not sure whether I should be flattered or insulted. And while I appreciate that she thinks I’m a funny writer, there’s this part of me, some striving little girl in legwarmers from the 1980’s that wants to be funny in public too (even though I’m most decidedly not).

I’m the girl who’s a bit socially awkward. I can fake twinkly gaiety and confidence around crowds for a set period of time, but I’m generally exhausted afterward (unlike my extroverted husband who’s like the energizer bunny).

I’d rather get to know a few people well at social occasions. I like deep probing discourse and intellectual stimulation. Smalltalk is death to me and what’s with the church hug? (I never know what’s appropriate) Either go in for the bear hug or go home-just don’t go in halfway and awkwardly hit my boob.

I am deeply envious of those quick witted folks who are stand-up comics on the fly. My friend-pastor Jeff Maguire is like that.  His body language alone makes me snort and blow corn out of my nose. I can laugh just thinking about him.

One time at a wedding, Jeff was out on the dance floor showing off his Rico Suave moves, when this little old lady inquired about him. “Is that young man a professional dancer or a comedienne?”

“Actually,” I replied. “He’s a pastor.”

Which has to be the least funny job of all time, right? It’s like we lay down our right to be a sarcastic on the altar of religion.

I love it when people find out I’m the pastor’s wife and this look of horror comes over their face. “Oh no, I just had a beer in front of you (or said a bad word, or talked about sex).”

Once the cat’s out of the bag, people stand up straighter, tell me how they should go to church more often, and then tell me how they are more spiritual than religious. It’s like we have to get the confessions out of the way and I have to make the sign of the cross over them before we can really get to know each other.

I met a unique young woman at a blogging conference recently who struggles with bi-polar tendencies. She was transparent and funny and I found her irresistible. She named her blog “Crazy is my super-power.”  I love it when people take their weakness and turn it around (with God’s grace) to be a force of strength and encouragement.

So I guess I’m a bit like Clark Kent-really, and my alter-ego is cooler than my regular gal aura.

And might I suggest that my super-power is funny and maybe that’s good enough. (Because even though Superman is awesome, Clark Kent isn’t cool, but we love him anyway)

But if I make you laugh hard enough to pee or snort corn, please let me know…comments make me deleriously happy.

What’s your Super-Power?

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