Monday, April 2, 2012

in the middle

that title could be used to describe a lot about my life, but for right now i'm using it for what i would consider the middle of my testimony so far.

in the summer between my 5th and 6th grade years, my family moved from our tiny hometown in arkansas to a suburb of kansas city, kansas. we lived in a county affectionately called "crimedotte" by its inhabitants. pop had a career change and became a southern baptist pastor, and i was instantly given the dreaded title--
    preacher's kid.

okay, maybe not so dreaded, but it was definitely a change. 

when you're the coach's/teacher's kid, there are certain expectations people have--
you'll be smart, well behaved at school, always prepared for class, acceptably athletic, involved in everything school related... 

those of you out there who never had that title probably think i'm exaggerating.
anybody out there who has had that title will probably be adding to the list.

that doesn't compare, though, to the expectations a preacher's kid sees.

*remember, this is coming from my point of view. i'm not saying everybody really has these expectations for kids with these titles, but i am saying that that is the perception...or at least, it was in my experience.*


at school, it was well known that i was a preacher's daughter.
let me tell you, i wasn't really singing, "oh the joy that fills my soul!"
as a preacher's kid, it seemed like all those expectations were there, but they had grown exponentially.
to go along with that, the kids all knew who i was, too. that was good and bad.

bad: in junior high and high school, there were times when kids in the hall would stop talking when i walked up. it was almost as if they were afraid to talk about bad things in front of me for fear that i would tell pop, even if they didn't go to my church.
good: i wasn't offered anything. seriously, i might have been just about the only teenager who was never offered any kind of drug or alcohol. honestly!

now to go along with all of those, it was as if i was supposed to know all the answers at church. 
i shouldn't be flipping through my bible to find those obscure books people have trouble finding (you know the ones. they're the ones that make you secretly watch other people find them first so you know where to look--the ones that make you feel like you're cheating on some test). even when someone tells me to look up zephaniah 3:17, i should be able to turn straight to the page.


if something was going on at church, i was supposed to be there. we were there twice on sundays, usually just home long enough to eat dinner in the middle. we were there every wednesday. my family also spent many saturdays cleaning the church. if there was anything else going on, we were there.

there's a christian comedienne who has a bit called "2nd row, piano side." it's been a while since i've heard it, but i highly recommend any of her comedy. that was my family, although it seems like we always sat on the 3rd row. there we were, the preacher's family, lined up for everybody to stare at the backs of our heads. we were often used as sermon illustrations (actually i lucked out a bit on that one, with a big brother to take the brunt of that), and it seemed like everyone in the church knew our business.

there were open houses at the pastor's house, with people traipsing through every room. i don't know how many people saw my bedroom while we were in bonner, but i guarantee more people saw it than have seen any other bedroom i've had (maybe with the exception of when i was a baby).

besides all that stuff, we were also from arkansas.
    go ahead--get all the redneck and hillbilly jokes out of your system.
    i can hear some of my friends from up there right now: ar-KANSAS.
i had an accent, and i said things like "fixin to." i dropped the g off the end of -ing words (still do).


once when we first moved up there we were playing in the yard at home when a man from church stopped by. it was summer, and we were barefoot. i didn't hear him, but my mom told me later that brother bert pulled her aside and told her that the church could afford to buy us shoes if we needed.
     all us crazy hillbillies, running around barefoot all the time.
the first time it snowed at school, we were all looking out the window in our 6th grade classroom. some of my classmates turned to me and said, "you've probably never seen snow before, have you?"
     seriously? wow.

 

despite all that (and i know it seems like i'm doing a lot of complaining here, but hang with me), there were many good things, too. i met people up there who became almost instant family. even with all the miles and years between us, those are the people i know i could still turn to.


me with one of those people. yes, that date says 1997 along the side. wow--hopefully she doesn't disown me for posting this picture! :0)


that feeling that i was supposed to know all the answers at church? i really can turn any book in the bible without much flipping (that's thanks to years of bible drill before being a preacher's kid, too, though). when we moved north, i ended up in a school that gave me opportunities i never would have had in my arkansas hometown. i played tennis, swam competitively, sang in an amazing choir, took part in quiz bowl and science olympiad, and got to sing and dance on stage in school musicals (the long days and late nights spent in the auditorium rehearsing for "bye bye birdie" are still some of my favorite memories from my school days).


as i mentioned earlier, being a preacher's kid also kept me away from a huge chunk of the temptations most teenagers face. it was probably helped by the fact that my brother was a senior my freshman year of high school and was a huge guy who scared off lots of temptation for me...


like i warned, i'm getting a bit long winded here. maybe i shoud say long typed...but i digress. i guess for today i'll leave you with this:


remember the show 7th heaven? it was big during my junior high and high school years, and it was a show my whole family would watch. once, my brother was asked if that show was really true to life for a preacher's family. after thinking for a moment, his response was, "yeah, but their dad is home way too much."
     if there are preacher's kids in your life, try and remember that they are sharing their dad with everyone in the church. every once in a while, remind yourself that they are ordinary kids who have been thrust into this life of being a preacher's kid.
and maybe, just maybe, cut them a bit of a break :0)





 
 

4 comments:

  1. I would never disown you...even for posting that picture :). And yes, I was cracking up through all this...I miss hearing fixin to lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was definitely your voice I heard saying "ar-KANSAS!"

      Delete
    2. I miss hearing "fixin" too and you and your family being up "north"! Hope along with Erin, you know that David and I or the rest of our family will always be here for you for anything, anytime! Love & hugs to you!! Liz

      Delete
    3. Your all's family was definitely who first came to mind! Love you all...

      Delete

Thoughts? I would love to hear them!
~Mandy