Quite frankly, there's something that bugs me about you

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Rev. Walter Klockers

Most nights, when Jeanne and I go to bed, just before we turn out the light, I say to my dear wife, “Thanks for hanging out another day,” and we laugh. I will often add to that statement, “I don't know how you do it. You're a saint, having to put up with me.”

On Aug. 21, we will have been married for 37 years. So we've had a little time to get to know one other. That would include learning to live with each other's “quirks.”

That said, in order to keep peace in the family, I won't be revealing to you my wife's “odd little habits.” I wish to live another day.

Also, I'm not going to unveil my own laundry list of current potentially irritating idiosyncrasies. I mean, do you really need to know?

However, I will reveal a little habit I have had in the past, and I would ask that you please don't hold this against me.

One day, not long ago, a parishioner wished to talk to me privately. What was his concern — a crisis of faith, conflict or a health issue?

After taking a measured breath, he looked at me and said: “Pastor, I wanted you to know that you have a habit that bothers me.”

“What would that be?” I replied.

“You use the word 'beyond' all the time.”

I thanked him for his observation. I told him I was unaware of this and would try to be mindful of its use in the future.

It wasn't too long after this that my wife had a conversation with me. She said that she had difficulty hearing my habitual use of the word “beyond.” She also said that I may use it in a way that sounds like a corrective measure and a put-down.

I took her words to heart. Upon reflection, I knew she was right. I told my wife that I didn't realize that it came off that way. I apologized, and I promised to try and break that habit.

I think I've been successful in cutting down the use of that word that shall not be mentioned.†

Something funny happened. Now I keep on hearing others use that word, but not always in a bad way. However, I have also heard it used as an over-under that puts others down. The whole thing makes me laugh at myself.

The Apostle Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, says: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

In a world that is becoming increasingly hate-filled and polarized, I believe it is a precious gift to swim against this strong current.†

I do not wish to be one that touts my belief system as superior and that yours is somehow deficient. However, I do wish to express my beliefs so we can compare notes. That's all – to respectfully give you the opportunity to ponder. This is at the very heart of why I write. It is a service that I offer this community. Please don't take it otherwise. That is not my intent.†

My beliefs are not beyond yours (sorry, Jeanne), but they are my beliefs, and I express them as part of who I am.

Most nights, when Jeanne and I go to bed, just before we turn out the light, I say to my dear wife: “Thanks for hanging out another day,” and we laugh. I will often add to that statement, “I don't know how you do it. You're a saint, having to put up with me.”

Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 30 years.

Editor's note: The print edition of this column erroneously stated that the column had been written on behalf of the Moses Lake Christian Ministerial Association. Pastor Klockers submits his columns independently of the Ministerial Association. The Herald regrets the error.

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