I’ve mentioned before that I’m married to a pastor. Let’s just address that one real quick. I fell in love with a musician who loved Jesus and teenagers and all of a sudden I was married to a middle school youth pastor-clearly, a man unafraid to wade into awkwardness on all fronts. I often tell our girls that there are all types of brave in this world-we hold up firefighters and police officers and our service men and women, these people who rush headlong into physical places we all rush away from. And then there’s the kind of brave their dad is-he’s the guy who walks through the hard times with that rebellious middle school kid, or the kid whose parents are divorcing. He enters into emotional space that few ever dare to. Yes, he does retreats and cleans up puke and plays dodgeball and gaga and buys pig brain in milk gravy for the 6th grade initiation… but he’s so much more than silly. And that’s why I love him.
The route I walk takes me past the local middle school/high school. Often when I go past, there are middle school students out for their gym class. I see them all… the kids sprinting on their warm up lap, trying so hard to look strong and finish first…the kids who either didn’t bring gym clothes or don’t have them, and are doing their best with what they have on…and the ones who are running and tugging on their ill-fitting clothes that just can’t keep up with their ever-changing bodies. They try for awhile but get so tired of the tugging that they just decide to walk and act like they feel totally fine about the situation. My heart squeezes so tight when I see them, and I just wish I could give them all hugs and tell them this time doesn’t last forever. But then they would probably call the police and look at me weird, so I just keep those thoughts between me and God and keep walking.
Sometimes we assume that once we grow up, we’ve all outgrown that ill-fitting discomfort stage. Because of certain positions people have, we immediately think they’re all alright. But the news is this… those assumptions just aren’t true. Even as a pastor’s wife, I still feel like those kids in the back from time to time. There have been entire, long seasons of life as an adult where I have still felt that way. And I think if we’re honest, we all still have those moments or seasons-we’ve just gotten much better at hiding them.
I offer no grand solution other than to say, “Me too.” You’re not alone, I’m not alone, and we both have a Dad who has picked out some new clothes for us to try on…maybe some clothes that would free us up a bit.