I get asked variations of this question all the time these days. It’s funny, because the question is either based in 1) the person not knowing what else to say/ask/talk about, or 2) the person wanting to assist me with suggestions as to where I can apply for work. In both cases, I tend to be a disappointment.
In the first case, I’m not much for small talk. I’ve never understood the point behind chatting idly about non-subjects. Ironically, I’m currently in a position where 90% of my talking with others (aside from my husband or on the phone with family) is small talk. Being a pastor’s wife at a new church opens me up to a LOT of small talk: “Where are you from?” “What do you like to do with your time?” and the #1 current question: “Are you getting settled in yet?” None of these are bad, and I am doing my best to answer them with grace, but inside I want to roll my eyes and sigh. I hope I haven’t reflected that in my face, though.
The other reason behind the title question ends up being a futile attempt at helping me. You see, I’m a certified but not yet rostered or commission Director of Christian Education. I’ve got the stamp of approval from the university, but until I am called by a church or RSO (that’s Recognized Service Organization, anything the Lutheran church deems to be a Lutheran-enough ministry), I can’t be listed on the official church-wide list of DCE’s, and I’m not entirely sure I can use the title.
It doesn’t really matter, because I’m not working as one anyway. I worked at our last church, got certified through doing the necessary steps to be colloquized (boy, this is a lot of church jargon), and could have been called. But then we moved, and now we’re at a church that already has a DCE. So unless he leaves, which I doubt will happen (nor am I wishing for it), or the church staff expands (again, I doubt it and I’m not hoping for it), I won’t be working there. And I don’t want to work for another church. It’s too hard on our marriage to be at separate churches. Too much of our lives is wrapped up in the ministry we’re a part of (I say “we” because even if I’m not employed, I’m still involved).
So in terms of employment, I’m kind of stuck. There are not a lot of options out there for someone in my position. And I’m ok with that. I never intended to be a stay-at-home mom, and here I am, WITHOUT kids, and staying at home. Weird. I sometimes feel guilty or out of place, like I’m leeching or wasting my gifts, but it’s usually only when I’ve been asked the title question. And I hate that, because I’ve always prided myself on NOT caring what other people think about me. I am content with taking care of the house, the laundry, the meals. I’m looking forward to when I have some of our paperwork caught up so I can establish some routines for myself. And I hope to continue writing on a regular basis, and maybe someday when someone asks me, “What do you do for a living?” I can say, “I’m a writer.”