Born and raised in coastal Georgia, I had the distinct privilege of coming up in a home of ‘CHURCH FOLK.’ I was considered a PK; many of you know the term translates as ‘Preacher’s Kid.’ My beginnings were, in appearance, a life of luxury and prestige. Other kids looked up to the PKs and pretty much followed their lead. Why not? They were the best examples, right? Not so fast!
Preachers’ children are not always the epitome of all that is holy and good by any stretch of the imagination. I would be remiss if I did not include that Preachers are not always the epitome of all that is holy and good. In many cases, just the opposite. For me personally, the preacher I knew was a monster in a suit or clergy robe. Between the age of 3 yrs -14 yrs old, I was in church 3-4 times a week, for 4-5 hours at a time. (black church, y’all. Some of you can relate).
With all of that… I never saw Christ in the home. How sad is that? I left the home… or should I say, the home left me. You see, I was managed quite well. Oh, I was provided shelter, food, clothing (second hand clothes while the preacher and first lady wore the finest). We rode in the finest cars; the church took great care of the pastor and his family. Much was provided… yet much was lacking. Darkness lurched in many corners of that home.
Satan had wedged his way into the home and ripped it to pieces. Lives were shattered and scattered. As I reflect back over the course of those years, I understand how the horror of my childhood had ended. Yet a new set of evils had grown in its place. Years of abuse had left a young life, empty, cold, bitter and hostile. There was no rescue or counsel sought for me. You see, pastors must be protected or they will lose their congregation and the respect of the community. So what was done in that home was swept under the rug… and so was the life of a young girl.
I now see that I was not a lone victim in that life; my auntie was nearly destroyed when what was hidden was brought to the light; and what was not known… became known. In addition to taking my innocents, her husband had taken on a mistress (among the saints) and fathered a child while all the time preaching powerful sermons that rocked the church. My auntie had hidden a great deal in her heart and from the critical eyes of the Church Folk.
I was whisked away to distant relatives in New York while the House of Cards began to fall. When I returned, the home was gone and we had moved to the part of town that we looked down upon before. I guess you could call it the “across the tracks” part of town.
I barely recognized my auntie. Exposure did not look good on her. She went down to the bottom and withdrew from daily life. I could still see her… (tears as I write this). Losing her marriage, job, home, cars, nearly a hundred pounds… and drinking everyday? Her safety blanket had become our pet dog, Rex. He went with her when she walked to the package store. I could still see the silhouette of a woman with a bag clutched beneath her arms and a dog walking beside her… in the dark of night.
My auntie no longer took pleasure in her former duties as a guardian; so I was left to wander and find my own way… in the dark… across the tracks… stranger land. The Lord did not leave my auntie in that condition for very long. She was somewhat of a female Job. (as in the Bible story). Her latter years turned out to be greater than her former years.
My sibling went MIA and sought out a path of his own. Let’s call him Rufus. Even now today he is haunted and stunted by the trauma of our childhood. But Rufus eked out a life for himself without looking back on the failures of the past. He just settled for new failures… those self-made that eats away the soul. While struggling with drug abuse, promiscuity, and a life of dodging personal responsibilities, the newest trend is to declare himself an atheist.
As for me, it took some refining.
I was not groomed for the world; in no way was I prepared for its complexities. I never heard the words “I love you” in the home. Maybe it was in the chastising. That could translate into love… you reckon? It didn’t keep me from becoming worldly but it did keep me from utter destruction. I am grateful that drugs and alcohol had never been vices. You see, even though I was not a born again Christian, I possessed so much of the Word of God inside that I could never get comfortable living outside of God’s Laws. I mean, I really had to work on ignoring my conscience. The truth was Living out LOUD inside of me. Sinning didn’t come easy.
For nearly four years, I wobbled through life trying to find my way and trying to get a grip as a young, un-wed mother. Not knowing what love was, I didn’t quite recognize what it wasn’t. One thing for certain, my child made all the difference in the world and life of my auntie. Amazing how God used a beautiful bundle of joy to cause her to snap back. Gives new meaning to the song by Faith Hill – A baby changes everything.
My child received a great deal of love and care. I had all the help I could have wanted… and then some. I took advantage of that, to my own hurt. You see, I had the freedom to destroy my life; and I was on the road to doing just that. Again, not having the vices so many others used as weapons of destruction, the mere fact of not having a structured and guided life led me down a similar path. Heading to the same place just a different route.
There were those times I sat down and began to muse over my life and its meaning; from time to time, God would come up in the equation. Where exactly did He fit in? While wandering in the darkness and living a lackluster existence, one day I crossed the path of a red-headed angel. Patsy was as Irish as they come and she had fixed her eyes on me. Why? What did she see in me? Had God told her something about me? In the guise of a life coach, she was one of those people who seemed to look deep into my soul without being given permission. I kinda’ understood how Adam and Eve felt after they had fallen from grace. All of a sudden they felt naked before God. I felt my sin and past were exposed to Patsy. But what she really saw was a hungry girl. So she offered me a meal. Literally.
Stay Tuned – To Be Continued…
You have got to read Part II – ALL I HEARD WAS “BREAKFAST!” God used Bacon!