We were hosting a get together at our house for the Church family. This was years ago in Birmingham. It was common that we would have people over for food and fellowship. Everyone was outside sitting in lawn chairs, laughing and talking. The kids were weaving in, out and all around, getting scolded or snatched up by a frustrated parent.
I was in the kitchen preparing food to take outside, and my Pastor’s wife came in to help. You know how it is in a kitchen with several ladies working. Each one is doing her part, filling glasses with ice, pouring soda, adding serving spoons to bowls of food, washing a few pots. Sister Raggio’s task must have been to open a can of something. I suspect baked beans.
We were all chatting as we worked, content just being together. That’s when I heard the words that I would remember for the rest of my life. Over the hum of chatter and from across the kitchen, I heard, “Oh, this can opener!”
My Pastor’s Wife embarrassed me.
I literally stopped in my tracks. Clueless. What was wrong with the can opener? I walked over to see what she was referring to. It looked the same as it always did. Actually, the same as it had for years. It was only the continued look of revulsion on my Pastor’s Wife’s face that caused me to look more closely.
As I leaned in for a closer inspection, I saw what she was reacting to. Thick, caked on crud was tightly gunked into the gears and around the magnet. Who knew you had to clean an electric can opener? Not me. I had never given it a moment’s thought. I had used this particular can opener for years, and never had any trouble. It had always worked fine. It had never occurred to me that it might be important to maintain it’s appearance for guests or to sanitize it so that they wouldn’t get sick. It had never occurred to me that what was on the outside of the can opener might cause a problem if it got inside the food I was preparing.
Until my Pastor’s Wife embarrassed me.
I never told Sis. Raggio that she embarrassed me. As a matter of fact, we never spoke of it again. I realized that it had not been intentional. She had simply reacted to filth. It was so disgusting and foreign to everything that she practiced in her own life, that she reacted without thinking. I couldn’t hold that against her. I also never forgot.
To this day twenty-fiveish years later, I cannot use an electric can opener without that incident coming to mind. I examine it closely. Every. Single. Time. I don’t remember if I went to work cleaning that old kitchen tool back in the day, or if I just chunked it and bought a new one. Today, I have a sleek, stainless steel model with detachable cutting gears that can be tossed in the dishwasher at a moment’s notice.
I wonder what would have happened if I would have gotten all bent out of shape that day. If I would have reacted in anger toward my Pastor’s Wife. If I had insisted on making my embarrassment the focus instead of the dirty can opener. I would have lost my relationship with one of the most important and influential people in my life…as well as made a lot of people sick through the years.
There are things in our lives that need cleaning up. Attitudes, conversations, wardrobes, entertainments, our very thoughts. Our Pastor’s Wife is often the one who notices these things and reacts first. Let’s not be offended at her, but simply start cleaning the dirty places in our lives. We’ll retain a beautiful relationship, and not infect a whole bunch of folks with the yuk we’ve been living with for years.
Sister Raggio went to be with her Lord years ago, but the lessons she taught me are just as powerful today, if not more so. She was an anointed speaker and teacher, but I find the lessons I’ve remembered and applied the most are the ones she taught me in our day to day relationship.
I’m so glad my Pastor’s Wife embarrassed me.
POINTS TO PONDER:
-Do you have a Pastor’s Wife that can speak freely into your life?
-Have you ever become offended when a spiritual leader gave direction?
-Are there areas in your life that you know you should clean up to be more spiritually productive?
-Can you think of a time when your Pastor’s Wife embarrassed you, but looking back, you are glad she did?
As always, feel free to leave a comment, share on social media and link back to http://PatVick.com.
Warm Regards, -Pat