Spending your Presbytera Points


I hate the bother of carrying ‘points cards’ with me to the store. Sure, when our kids were young and the budget was tight, I used to do the old-school saving trick of clipping coupons. Nowadays, my husband is usually the one who, with his persistent cheap streak, goes to the trouble of swiping those numerous cards at the grocery store or department store or gas station.

Occasionally if asked I will give a phone number to the cashier, in lieu of digging out a card which may or may not actually be in my bag somewhere. But then I forget all about the points. They build up and up, with me none the wiser. I rarely have anything I really want to cash them in for.

Life in the parish can earn the clergy wife points of a different kind. Mostly for keeping your mouth shut. Or at least, you can get docked points for not managing to keep your mouth shut. Call them presbytera points.

And every now and then you are going to come across an opportunity to spend the points. But there’s a catch—namely, that the time and effort it takes to build up the points is waaaaay out of proportion to how quickly they can be spent— and for how little they mostly purchase in return.

If you just make it a habit not to spend those points, ever, a day may come when you have a deeper reserve than you ever expected, to expend on something important. Or then again maybe not. Because maybe the program has changed and the points don’t get you as much any more.

Or you never do use them, and your chance to ever use them just expires when you move parishes or retire. With the former, of course, you can start all over earning points from scratch. But it’s okay, because there was never anything that was worth the trouble of cashing in the points.

And maybe once in a long number of years you will know there is something you must buy, some issue you cannot in good conscience remain silent about. So you spend the points, even to the very last one. And maybe they are enough to accomplish what was needed. And even if they weren’t, it had to be said. Even if you wonder afterward if all you did was cast pearls before swine.

So then you have no points left. But it’s okay, because you do not go to church for what points can get you. You go for the same reason you go to the grocery store every week, because you need to be fed, whether or not there is any points program to encourage you.

No-one else can tell you if or when to spend your points. I have saved for long years, and I have spent in one fell swoop without regret. But for my money, saving your presbytera points for a rainy day is the best plan.


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