Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Workshops, seminars, and retreats, oh my!

Prayers appreciated. John and I are leading a marriage retreat this weekend. I don't do retreats and I don't speak in front of people but when someone prophesies over you and says you are to "do the unexpected" and "be the unexpected" these opportunities just sort of start popping up. And unless you want to end up in the belly of a whale, it's usually not a good idea to say no to such a request.

Do you think they'd still want me to speak if they knew that I've never been to a marriage retreat? I went to a marriage workshop once. Worst fight of my marriage, I think. I was forced to go and I don't take to force very well. And it was only because I was the pastor's wife and since the pastor was forced to go to a marriage workshop, by default his wife has to go as well. I was fuming by the time I got there. It must have been obvious (in fact, I'm certain it was obvious since I wanted it to be obvious) because when I sat down next to another pastor's wife friend of mine (as opposed to the health insurance worker's wife friend of mine or the policeman's wife friend of mine) she proceeded to tell me that she didn't believe in divorce but there were times she just wanted to shoot her husband. Wise council, indeed. The church will be most happy to know that I've never considered divorcing their pastor. Anyway, it was such a terrible experience that at the first hint of another upcoming marriage workshop where it was possible the pastors would be required to attend (and, of course, their wives), I made certain that our calendar clearly stated that I had other plans. I was not taking any chances, even when the Good Doctor assured me that there would be no compulsion to attend, no oppression, and no arm-twisting tactics this time around.

It was a bit awkward explaining to my teen daughter why the calendar for October has a huge portion of a Friday blocked off for me to wash the cat when we don't even have a cat and I am deathly allergic to cats, but it got a bit more complicated when she noticed that all of Saturday is blocked off so I can dry the cat. Sometimes one just has to suck it up and withstand the allergic reaction rather than suffer the consequences of a forced-focus on one's marriage.

But oh how I digress. Worse than marriage functions are retreats in general. I think the last time I was on a retreat was when the Good Doctor was asked by the over 60s Sunday School class to lead their retreat. Once again, it was a package deal. Purchase a pastor, get his wife, too. So I went. Now, I will admit that this was a fun group. I did enjoy getting to know many of the attendees (don't tell the pastor I said that). But you know, every time I walked down the hallway of the individual rooms and passed the beautifully decorated name plates on the doors, I heard this little voice calling out to me, "Switch me. Switch me." Finally, thinking it harmless enough, and not able to ignore the voice any longer, I switched the name plates.

All was well until I started hearing whispered conversations about someone who had switched the names on the doors. One poor woman walked into the wrong room, thinking it her room, only to find another couple in "her" room. One woman was very agitated and in her displeasure was bound and determined to find the criminal mind that had plotted such a heinous act. I decided I just had to confess before she worked herself into a frenzy and ended up hospitalized all because of me.

So, the next morning, during a rousing rendition of "To Tell the Truth," the perpetrator was to be revealed. I and two other possible felons were chosen for the hot seats. We were questioned and interrogated until everyone had made up his or her mind. When it came time to vote, only one hand went up for me. The room was deathly silent as I stood up to confess. Their faces were priceless. Their perception of the perfect pastor's wife had forever been changed. A pianist, hospitality coordinator, receptionist, nursery room teacher, or church interior decorator would have fit their preconceived ideas; a miscreant did not.

Mission accomplished.

I wonder if they'll have beautifully decorated name tags on the doors this weekend?

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