keeping quiet

writers-blockA couple weeks ago I wrote, “Neither being a stepmom nor being a pastor’s wife are good life choices for a writer, because it means entire huge swaths of your life are off-limits.” Some more thoughts on that:

–I can’t write about some of my frustrations about capital-C church, the Church In General, because it could be seen as criticism of the church in particular where I worship and serve. I’m no longer one of the anonymous masses at a megachurch. Things change when you marry a pastor.

—I can’t write about any frustrations I might have with my specific church, things that are hard or happening behind the scenes, because several members of our church read the blog occasionally and it wouldn’t be appropriate. Matt’s dealing with a lot as he attempts to turn this little church around and focus it toward its community. But you won’t hear much about it here, except for the victories and the lessons learned about what it means to reach extremely rocky soil.

—I can’t write about most of the conflicts and drama involved in being a stepmom or a supporter to Matt as he co-parents, partly because I’m not interested in airing dirty laundry or being perceived as that cliched second wife, and partly because the kids are still young and some stuff doesn’t need to be in print. (Yet. I get more material for a book every week.)

cop 2—In addition to not having a public space in which to process much of my life, there is no private outlet that really helps, either. For both good and bad, I am unafraid of conflict and I prefer to process anger by confronting the issue or the person and talking it through. But when you marry a pastor and divorced dad, those encounters simply do not come. I have zero appropriate opportunities to share my thoughts with most of the people who cause me trouble, a situation I never experienced before marriage. In that life, if I had a problem with somebody or something, I dealt with it. But right I now have no voice—just anger.

—A fundamental of good writing is using details. You don’t say someone ate cereal, you say they plowed through three bowls of Frosted Flakes. But I can’t give details. That’s the point. Even writing this blog post is barely okay.

—Being the pastor and being the divorced parent are the hard jobs. I get that. But being the wife of the pastor and the stepparent isn’t easy either.

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