Faculty Wife | Part 15
By summer 1972 D knew things might not work out for him at the Bible College. I wasn’t sure they would work for me, either. After we got back from our fabulous trip to the West Coast, routine kicked in for me. So did depression and loneliness for adult company.
Though we arrived at the Bible College in fall 1969, I didn’t attend any monthly Faculty Wives Fellowship meetings. They were held at the president’s home, hosted by the president’s wife. She was bright, gifted, outgoing, a creative artist, mother of several children, and a cheerful friend to our young children. I liked her. I trusted and admired her.
I also knew a few other faculty wives who lived on campus. They remembered me from my student days, and always had kind words for me. I knew I would be welcome at the monthly meetings of these women. Maybe this would help me with my loneliness.
When I arrived at my first meeting, the ladies welcomed me warmly. After coffee, tea and goodies, we all sat in a circle in the living room. The procedure was simple. After a brief devotional we went around the circle giving updates about how things were going, and any prayer requests we might have.
I felt relief, along with a bit of nervousness. I needed this group, even though my gut was grabbing and I didn’t know exactly what I would say when my turn came. I did, however, know what I needed to talk about. Which I did. With feeling, a few tears and a request for prayer.
I described my loneliness, depression, weariness, and sense of being isolated because D was gone all day and some evenings doing Bible College work. I didn’t hate my children; I loved them. And I couldn’t do all this by myself.
What happened next was totally unexpected, though looking back I understand too well what I tapped into. A few of the younger women had nodded empathetically as I spoke. Most of the women, however, were older than I.
Two of them immediately took me to task—in a kind yet brutal way. This was my job. I needed to get over it. Grit my teeth and do what needs to be done. That’s why I’m here, and that’s why I’m married to D. So he can do what he has been called to do as a gifted professor. Some nodded with approval; others were silent.
Then there was prayer, which included prayer for me. I felt unglued, and couldn’t stop crying.
At the end of the closing prayer the president’s wife turned directly to me. She told me I should get down on my knees every day and thank God that I’m married to this brilliant man who is doing and will continue to do a world of good for whomever he meets. I need to get over it and move on because it’s going to get worse, not better. I’m married to D and this is my calling.
The woman sitting to my left was the wife of my church history professor when I was a student at the Bible College. I admired her then and still admired her. She had a professional life of her own and had raised several children. She was also a woman of few words. She took my hand and told me she identified totally with what I’d said, and that if I could just make it through these early years, it would get better.
I never returned to any Faculty Wife fellowship meetings. I did, however, take my friend’s words to heart. It didn’t solve everything. I still needed help. But I knew I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t the first young mother to feel this way.
To be continued….
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 29 October 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, October 1972