My husband David went to seminary in August of 2001. So I guess I should say our family went to seminary too. We had been living in Richmond, VA for nine years when we sold the house, quit David’s job, found a new home for our dog, shed tears with many great friends and loaded up the moving van and headed south to Wake Forest, NC.
We traded in our beautiful, large, four-bedroom house with a fenced-in backyard for a tiny 1,000 sq. ft., three-bedroom corner downstairs apartment. There were eight of us in the family at this time – three boys in one room, three girls in another and well, the looney adults in this master plan in the final room. We sold three-fourths of our Richmond home’s content to fit in the new apartment and even then, using the word cozy to describe the situation is an understatement. We found ourselves making decisions like couch or piano; the piano won.
David found a job working for UPS. He brought home $554 a month. We knew the meager proceeds from the sale of our house would not last long. Thankfully, about mid-October, David was given the chance to interview for a loading supervisor position. It was one of the quickest opportunities given to a new employee in anyone’s recent memory. We were very grateful, or at least I thought I was grateful.
On the afternoon of the interview, I walked David out to his car for a good-bye kiss. As he was getting in the car, I started thinking about how this promotion meant we were beginning to put down roots in NC. I said, “Don’t go. I don’t want you to go for the interview. I want my life back.” Visions of my house I loved, the children’s private school, vacations at the beach, dinners out, afternoons spent at the pool, and my fantastic friends all flashed before my eyes.
“Jamie, honey, I know this is hard and a big adjustment, but I have to go to this interview right now. We will talk about it when I get home,” David gently replied.
David was now in the car and the door firmly shut. I leaned in towards him through the window. “No, please, we need to talk about it now. I don’t want to stay here.”
“Jamie, honey, I am going to roll up the window now. I have to go or I will be late. I want to hear about how you are feeling, I really do, it is a blessing this interview came so quickly. We will get health benefits and a little more money. Now kiss me and back away from the car, honey.” I held on to his window for dear life as it slowly began rolling upward. Somehow I had decided that if he were to go to this interview my life would never be the same. There would be no turning back. It didn’t matter that we had no home to return to live in, had sold most of our worldly possessions and had moved – he could not go to that interview. The window stopped right before my fingers would have been smashed. “Honey, we are here right now, so I have to provide. We will talk, I promise. But I am going to pull away now and I really don’t want to run over your feet. Take your hands off the window, please, and back away from the car now.”
I let go. As the car started to pull away, any rational thought left in my head vanished as I remembered I had two feet. I began to chase my husband up the street as he drove off. I shouted, “Please don’t go! I want my life back! I don’t want to do this anymore!” Tears were streaming down my face as my arms swung wildly in the air. I was running out of steam as the road had a slight incline. I bent over, hands on my knees, and cried out one more battle scream, “I mean it! Get me out of here! I want my life back! Do you hear me? I want to go home!”
As I stood there panting, crying and gasping for breath, with the car’s taillights rounding the corner out of the neighborhood, it dawned on me I was in the middle of the street. Who on earth had witnessed the spectacle I had just created? I turned to walk towards home when I saw her. My new friend and neighbor Janet was walking towards me. She put her arm around my shoulder, fell into step with me and sympathetically declared, “It’s okay, Jamie. Seminary draws men closer to God and makes women wonder if there even is a God.”
Her words brought me comfort and there was a lot of truth with each syllable she shared. But we both made a pact that day to encourage one another and sharpen one another. To not be that woman who wondered.
I have to be honest, with all the reality shows on television, it has always amazed me that no one has thought to create one called “Seminary Wives.”