Friday, 1 February 2013

Signing off

Today I am signing off from this blog as The Curate and I have reached the end of his journey as a curate. I started this blog to help me make sense of the second half of the journey to become a full time curate in the Church of England and a curate's wife. It was a journey that I had not expected to make twenty seven years into our marriage. I thought we would be working hard at our respective careers, enjoying fine wines, foreign travel, life in the country and visiting our sons - where ever they had settled in the world. But life isn't that predictable! 

When my 'unchurched' husband found God, - or God found him, our life's journey started changing and I discovered I was powerless to stop it.  I soon realised I could leave him or go with it. I decided the latter and there have been many times, even during this curacy, that I have regretted staying on the bus. But I have also been stretched and squeezed, shaken and churned and, I hope, shaped into a better person.

'The Other half' blog was suppose to record the second half of The Curate's curacy and my acceptance not of his new role, but my own. This is because life is different when you live with someone who has a collar round their neck! Our situation had been eased by the Bishop moving us to a second curacy where I could continue my work as a learning support teacher. It came with a price. 

 We squeezed our belongings into a much smaller house. The lack of space added stresses that we hadn't anticipated. We didn't dare sell any furniture as we were due to move again at the end of the curacy. My commute to work was a stressful start and end to the day. I will never understand road planners that design roads with three lanes merging into one lane on a commuter route! The saving grace of all of the problems was that we were living on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. Dartmoor has been a great joy for both of us and our sanctuary when times were tough.
And times have been tough. This second curacy has taught The Curate and I so much about the importance of being inclusive, understanding and welcoming...and how difficult it is to restore the trust of people when mistakes have been made. It is not The Curate I hasten to add - curates are allowed to make mistakes as a curacy should be a safe environment to learn and grow in. But The Curate has been in the position to feel the hurt and pain of people who have felt neglected, rejected and unaccepted by 'The Church'.

We thought we were going to a parish church that was centred on the community. We looked forward to living within the immediate community who might only use the church for weddings funerals and Christmas, but who saw the church as their church. The reality was that our neighbours didn't want to have anything to do with the 'happy, clappy' place. It was a sobering realisation and to find that The Curate was judged to be 'one of them' even before he had had a chance to speak to anyone.

I have learned a lot about church traditions and a lot about myself! I realised that if I worked during the week I (like many people) was not prepared to spend Sunday mornings being talked at in church. If the music on the radio is not up to scratch - I turn it off or change channels. Fortunately there were a number of churches in our locality and I have enjoyed the timeless simplicity of rural churches and the bustle and superb music of our town church. So I ended up where I had the best fit and not where I expected to be. The Curate - who has been sent far and wide to small moorland parishes and has conducted the services in town - has experienced such warm welcomes and we both find these places the most difficult to leave behind.
This other half of The Curate's curacy has not been the easiest and we have both learnt much about ourselves, our relationship, our work, our vocations, our passions and our vunerabilities.
So much has had to go unwritten. At times we forgot how to laugh and we seemed to be sinking in a sea of stress. Some how we survived - someone threw us a lifeline,- we bobbed up in our life buoys. God just held out his hand and we had to remember to grasp it.
If you asked me now if I enjoyed being The Curate's wife - I think I would be honest and say no. I would never have chosen this route through life. I do know it has been good for me - like a medicine that doesn't taste good at the time but it might be making me better!

On Sunday The Curate takes his last service and a week later we move to Dorset. The Curate will be licensed as The Rector of six rural parishes and I will be following him 'Up the Rectory Path'. Please do visit me at the new blog and I will share the delights of Dorset and the ramblings of a rookie rector's wife - although I still can't promise any scones or flower arranging. (I shall remain The Curate's wife - one never likes to accept growing up!) I hope I have provided some hope for any other reluctant curate's wives - you can come through it - just broaden your shoulders and hang on - I'm sure it will be worth it!  Thank you for your generous support - I do so value your comments and I hope you will explore 'Up the Rectory Path' ( clicking here should take you there or use the link on the sidebar) with me. I look forward to sharing another beautiful part of the UK with you.
The gang coming with us to the Rectory

34 comments:

  1. I'm coming!!!! So glad your journey is still including those of us that find inspiration through your words and photography. Wishing you thee very best from sunny Arizona, USA.

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  2. How lovely to have you join me - I'll be along at the next blog shortly - see you there!

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  3. I'm coming too! I rarely comment but I have enjoyed the times you have shared with "us". May you have much joy in your new home and I look forward to hearing of new adventures (and less stress!).

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    1. thank you - I do enjoy your blog from the other end of the UK!

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  4. It's lovely to read such an honest and intelligent account, Harriet, of what has been a challenging time for you in the role you've chosen to take. I hope things become less stressful for you in your new place - and that all goes well for you both. Axxx

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  5. I was worried at first that you were no longer going to blog. I'm looking forward to seeing what wonderful, and perhaps not so wonderful things will happen next. I'll be waiting for your new blog. Blessings.

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    1. Hi Bonnie
      Im slowly sorting out the new blog - expect to see it changing regularly - I'm forgotten how to set them up!!! Finding the time at the moment is proving dificult.

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  6. I've only recently found your blog - such a shame as I'm a vicar's wife and only down the road in Plymouth! But I'll continue to read your adventures ... not least because I'm a Dorset girl myself. Don't let them change you ... you are who you are - and God planned it that way. They'll get over it!

    Every blessing in your new home.

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    1. Oh yes - I wish I had found you too. I keep saying there needs to be a network of wives - I had no one near by who would share their experiences or even be a listening ear. Thank goodness for Blogging!Being a Dorset girl yourself, I shall be looking in your direction for some useful suggestions of places to visitand so on!

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  7. As both a fan of Dorset and an interested reader I too will come visit at your new blog. I hope the new post works out for you both.

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    1. Looking forward to your visits! Any advice on where to go and what to do in Dorset will be very welcome.

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  8. I echo Annie's words, Harriet. This is such an honest and perceptive post and shows som clearly what you and The Curate (soon to be Rector) will bring to your new life and parishes. I've bookmarked the URL and look forward to being able to subscribe as a Follower once you've unpacked all the boxes. Wishing you all the best for the move.

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    1. Good to know that you will be along soon. Your comments and support have been so encouraging. Up the garden path boxes are being slowly unpacked - but I have forgotten how to do it soI am struggling a bit!

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  9. I have enjoyed reading about your journey and the challenges you have faced. I look forward to sharing the next adventure too. Blessing and prayers for the transition.

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    1. How great to have you joining us - see you ' up the rectory path'!

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  10. I will definitely follow you and the curate and the gang up the rectory path.

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    1. I'm glad you are coming too! See you there!

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  11. I'm coming too to join you up the Rectory path- your blog helps me understand my husbands perspective as a Curates other half

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  12. Me too.... I look forward to the next installment. I have enjoyed following your journey so far, and this post, in particular, is an amazingly powerful piece of writing about your struggles, and your incredible strength. Fondest wishes for the next bit. J.

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    1. Thank you for your good wishes - hopefully the next stage will be a bit lighter - just got to get the move over. The blog ' Up the Rectory Path' is just about up and running but I don't know how much time I'll get to write.

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  13. Your blog also helps me, as a member of the congregation, understand our Vicarage family's perspective of what it means to be the family/wife/chldren of the vicar. I'll be with you just as soon as I can enter your blog title into my RSS reader! With best wishes for you and your new churches.

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    1. It's such a good idea to try to see the family's perspective. Don't get me wrong, lots of wives love their role and life but some ( often the children ) do struggle. It is something that is very difficult to share. Lovely to know you are coming ' up the rectory path'. The blog is just about up and running.

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  14. Good Luck in your new parish and with this new phase in your life and ministry. I too will be following you in your new path.... And hasn't Tess grown and isn't she getting (even more) gorgeous. I'm sure she'll be a huge hit with the Curate/Rector's new parishoners and a good way to start conversations. Being the vicarage dog is a ministry all it's own!

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    1. Hi Catherine I'm so glad you will be following ' up the rectory path'. The blog is just about up and running. I have a feeling Tess will be featuring often - she is certainly taking over this house. I'm not sure what we will do when the removers are here. I expect we will find her in every packing box!

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  15. I have been a long time lurker and have enjoyed your blog and your journey.
    Best of luck on your next adventure.
    Vancouver Island,Canada

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  16. Oh I love ' lurkers' - it's good to have you here! I do a lot of lurking around other sites because I just can't think of a sensible comment to make - even if I love the blog- so I lurk! Do keep ' lurking' and follow 'Up the Rectory Path'. It must be very different to Vancouver Island!

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  17. Up the Rectory Path blog is just about up and running. Please let me know if you experience any difficulties. See you there!

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  18. I'll be right over!! :) :) I love your writing and your photos of your journey...no matter where. xo

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  19. Can I simply just say what a comfort to discover someone that really knows what they are talking about
    on the web. You certainly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More people ought to read this and understand this side of
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  20. Thank you for your kind comments... Yes I write from the heart! As for being more popular - I don't seek readers - they find me. It's good to see you here - do follow me on to my next blog when I go up 'the rectory path'.

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