... call your pastor at 1am when a disaster happens and you live alone?

I live alone in a foreign country, culture and language and I have no family here. I am in my late twenties and started most 'adulty' things late in life, so I'm still a bit clueless. I have anxiety in the sense that I get frightened by things very easily, and an emotionally feeble constitution. Everyone knows I have difficulties.

But I have a support network. I have a few friends from churh and we can cintact each other at any time of the day or night with a problem; this is only ever an issue if one of us has work very early in the morning.

Well, a disaster happened to me: I was moving house to a different city on Monday morning, cross-country about 350 kilometres, and the man I hired to do my home removal cancelled at 1am on Saturday morning. I cannot drive so I really was dependent on being driven to my new place with the contents of my flat. It had been so hard to find someone I could afford on my low budget. My church friend whom I can call was away with her family. I felt utterly helpless and frightened and didn't know what to do. My new job started that week and my landlord was hard to contact. I was in a panicky state and there was nobody to comfort me or help. I knew that if I contacted my family, they wouldn't be able to help, and it would just make them panic too, and offload all of their insecurities back onto me and start doom-saying and making me panic even more - this is what almost always happens. I desperately needed a sounding board who could both help, practically, and reassure me and help me to feel safe and calm again. If I had a partner, he would have been it, but I don't.

So, at 1am I rang my church minister. It is a churh that places a high value on trust and obedience to the leadership: I trusted him enough to be my 1am call. I had no other safe person, responsible for me in a pastoral/moral capacity, in the country. I had talked to the minister about my moving before and he had already helped me by arranging a meeting and making sure I knew what to do. He had also rung me that week to ask me how the arrangements were going and if everything was ok. I had even told him that I might need to ask for his help if something awful happened and the man and van rental didn't work out. He said that that was okay.

But when I rang him in despair at 1am he didn't respond. I texted him and he didn't respond either then or in the morning. I saw him at church the next day. It was hard to speak to him, even though he saw me, he did not approach me until I went up to him, and seemed to want to avoid me. When I did see him, with despair and fear written in my face, the first thing he said was 'You shouldn't ring me at 1am!'. He was firm but good natured. His wife was less gentle about it and impressed on me that what I had done was an utterly terrible thing. She said I was wrong to ring them, and rebuked me for being afraid instead of trusting and believing that everything woukd be okay, and staying calm. In my heart I know that those who trust in God have no reason to be afraid. But neither the pastor nor his wife are God, and the church is not God either. The storm will not necessarily calm itself at their demand. I am battling an emotional health issue and a lot of luggage from my past that make it hard for me not to panic and despair.

In sum, the minister and his wife seemed to think that it was completely unacceptable that I had called him 1am, and the pastor's wife made sure I knew it by rebuking me at length, for that, and other things I had done. For my part I was alone and frightened and feeble, and working through emotional health difficulties that made the news hard to bear alone. There were others in the church who were glad to talk at virtually any time of day or night, and I couldn't imagine them being more patient and loving than the minister.

My question is not so much 'is it normal that I called my minister at 1am in despair' but rather, 'given the circunstances, were the minister and his wife right to respond by rebuking me for disturbing them (and his wife, at length and with some vehemence)'? There was nobody else I could think of calling who might be both able to help and able to calm and reassure my anxiety-ridden mind.

Is It Normal?
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Comments ( 3 ) Sort: best | oldest
  • he seems like a worthless human , i'd find another religion. maybe lightning will strike the church and burn it down.

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  • I know you felt hurt, but I think your pastor and his wife certainly had the right to set a firm boundary with you. If everyone in the congregation called him directly whenever they were in a crisis in the middle of the night he'd never get a moment of rest. I know you felt very desperate and afraid, but I think you ought to try to put yourself in this guy's shoes. Also, I'd send a very sincere not of apology to your pastor and his wife if I were in your shoes.

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  • They should've been more considerate of you. Im shocked they rebuked you but i guess some people still think it's a violation anyway. I will always and still do pick up the phone at 1 2 or 3am for anyone who needs help. "Treat people the way you want to be treated" It's shows genuine care when you go out of your way to provide assistance no matter the issue

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