It was into this hubbub that Ruby dropped another bombshell. We were enjoying a late Sunday afternoon tea on our balcony overlooking the Firth. I had been extremely busy with “Party Animal” from Thursday evening until the early hours of Sunday morning and had not joined Ruby on her church visit. In fact, since she had started going to the services at the Kirk on Grayfriars I hardly ever accompanied her. She seemed particularly distracted as she busied herself in the kitchen, and I should have known something was coming when instead of our regular collection of cups and plates, Ruby served tea on our best China.
Ruby started telling me about the changes that were happening in the Church of Scotland, about new ministries and mission objectives. I tried to appear interested, but a lot of the talk went over my head. Then she paused, and started again, only this time the conversation was more personal. She launched into stories about her own relationship with God, and I began to feel uncomfortable. It’s not that I’m an atheist or anything extream like that, it was just that I never really thought about the topic. Now to hear my Ruby blithely talk about such matters was unsettling.
“Tony,” She looked straight at me in that direct way she had when it was something crucial, “I feel that God has given me the desire to minister to people where they are at in life and that he has placed me here in Edinburgh for a reason.”
I didn’t know what to say, and she continued, “I have spoken to the Elders at the Kirk, and they agree that as God is calling, I should answer. So, I am going to give up my job and became a full-time student of Word and Sacrament Ministry.”
I was trying to take in the enormity of what she was saying. “You’re going to be a Church of Scotland minister? Like, with a dog collar and stuff?”
She laughed, which broke the ice somewhat, and we talked late into the evening about what it would entail, and how long it would take. It was only as we were finally heading to bed that she asked one more thing of me.
“Tony, I would like us both to go and meet with The Elders to discuss this. I think it’s important that they see you are as committed to this as I am. That is if I have your support; do I?”
It was the first time that my acceptance or otherwise of her decision had been mentioned. We had talked about practical matters, about finances, about living arrangements, but not how I felt about it.
To be honest, I was still too shocked by the idea to have any feelings, but just looking at Ruby’s pleading eyes melted my heart. “Of course, I’m with you baby,” I said.
Long after I heard Ruby’s breathing gently relax into sleep, I laid in bed, staring at the darkness. I knew I couldn’t stop Ruby; indeed, I didn’t want to stop her. But our lives would be irrevocably changed, and I could not see the future. My last thought before I too fell asleep was how “The Elders” would react to a ministers husband running the Party Animal bus.