Recently in my water aerobics class, a new woman joined us and I started a conversation with her. We were enjoying each others company and learning about one another when “the” question came up. I knew it was coming. There seems to be no way to avoid it – whether it’s the first conversation or a few conversations later – it always comes up and has to be answered….truthfully.
“What does your husband do?” she inquired.
“Oh he’s the pastor of “name of our church”, I answered with a cheerful smile on my face.
Her response was similar to many others I’ve had over the years. A slight hesitation and then “Ohhhh….he’s a pastor?”
My interpretation of that particular “Ohhh” is “Un oh, I’m talking to a pastor’s wife, I better be careful what I say.” And usually the conversation changes from talking about our lives, to lighter topics like the weather and the latest news. I used to think I was imagining this shift, but after experiencing it innumerable times, I can safely say it’s not my imagination. I also must add, there have been many occasions when the response has been very warm and open as I shared my husband’s occupation. I am always thrilled when that happens!
This time, I simply replied yes and continued on (as if I hadn’t heard her hesitation) by asking her other random questions, hoping to take her mind off this new discovery. As our class began to tread water, she swiftly maneuvered to the other side of the pool and began chatting with someone else. I moved nearby and tried entering the conversation with a few comments and questions, but there was no response.
At this point I had to make an inner decision not to take her reaction personally. Fortunately, these days I smile to myself and think, “I bet we could have been really good friends!” or “I think you might even like me if you got to know me a little more.” But please believe me when I say, these thoughts are far different than they were when I was younger! Back then it was an emotional struggle and most generally I took it very personally.
The solution to this problem came some years ago when Jesus whispered something very precious to me! Those words embedded deeply into my heart, and they continue to resonate within me to this very day….even when rejection tries to wash over me. I find it interesting He didn’t come and preach a sermon about how not to feel rejected or that I just needed to “get over it” and face the fact that I was a pastor’s wife. No, He very gently said,
“Cheri’, I like being your friend. You’re a good friend to me.”
And honestly……that did it! It settled something in me once and for all!
Jesus likes being my friend! Jesus thinks I’m a good friend to Him! It still warms my heart when I think of it!
So, here’s my little piece of advice. If someone moves to the other side of the pool — no matter the reason — just listen for His voice telling you He likes being your friend!
Because ….. It’s true….and it’s enough!