Jocie Brook, preacher’s kid, reporting here from Hollyhill, Kentucky.
Have you ever been at an all day church service? I mean literally all day? Morning till the sun goes down? If not, you must not be a preacher’s kid. Preachers’ kids spend a lot of time at church. A lot of time. Preachers’ kids are expected to behave all the time. ALL THE TIME! If a preacher’s kid messes up, then the church people don’t just notice the kid being bad. They think the preacher is to blame and then they’ll shake their heads over that preacher’s kid.
Of course with me, there’s a double whammy. I’m a preacher’s kid with a mother who the church members can only talk about in whispers behind their hands. My mother didn’t win any motherhood awards. She left Hollyhill and me behind when I was five. No looking back for my mother. I wasn’t in her plans from day one. But you know, when something like that happens, sometimes the Lord makes something good happen to make up for it. And my dad was that something good for me. He’s the best.
But he is a preacher. So that makes me a preacher’s kid. A preacher’s kid who sometimes talks too much or Aunt Love would say talks when I shouldn’t say anything at all. A preacher’s kid with no mother to guide me. Only Aunt Love who never had any kids of her own to practice on and who doesn’t know much about girls like me. She does think she knows how a preacher’s kid should act and she does her level best to bring me up to her preacher kid standards. If I don’t live up to those standards, and I don’t, you can’t fault Aunt Love’s who works hard to keep me in line.
Dad says however I am is fine. Well, I do need to behave, but that I can be a kid. A regular kid and not worry about that preacher kid bit. That’s just as well. I do talk too much. I do sometimes want to stick my foot out in the aisle and trip up one of the deacons taking up the offering. No, I haven’t done that. Just thought about it. Trouble is, Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount that thinking about doing something bad was almost as bad as doing it. Or maybe he said it was just as bad. Sigh. Maybe I need to read that part in Matthew again.
Anyway, because I am a preacher’s kid, I can’t get out of going to church. Ever. I don’t want to most of the time, but sometimes the church decides to have an all day meeting. I don’t care who you are. Those wooden pews get hard after a while. Real hard. And sometimes a girl’s feet just get itchy. They need to move and move more than just swinging your legs or tapping your foot. Some of the older members probably think tapping your foot in church is sinful anyway. No dancing allowed and tapping a foot is the next thing to dancing.
Yesterday was Homecoming Day at Mount Pleasant. We have them once a year. The dinner on the ground almost makes the five or six hours sitting in church worth it. Usually the morning message isn’t all that bad. That’s just like regular church. And like I said, the dinner on the grounds is wonderful. Mrs. Jefferson brought her banana croquettes. I can sit a couple of hours on a church pew for them. Then there was Miss Sally’s devil’s food cake. That’s about as close as Miss Sally ever gets to the devil. But then after the dinner, we all have to go back in the church for a memory fest. Dad says I should listen and learn from the older members. I guess I should. But they talk about stoves in the church and coming at daybreak to start fires to warm up the building for services. They talk about revivals where so many attended that people spilled over out of the church. They talk about preachers I’ve never heard of. And this or that member who’s watching from up in heaven. Sometimes they cry. Sometimes they laugh. I try not to wiggle. Preacher’s kids are supposed to know how to sit still.
After they all talk a while, then people sing. Some from our church. Some visiting from other churches. Sometimes they can actually sing and that’s not so bad. But sometimes they say just listen to the words and then you know you’re in for it. They won’t be able to carry a tune in a bucket. But Dad says as long as they are worshiping by making a joyful noise unto the Lord, that’s good. I say some cotton stuffed in my ears would be better!! But preacher’s kids are supposed to listen and keep smiling. Other kids can go out and sit on the steps. But not preacher’s kids. Well, Dad might let me, but Aunt Love would have a stroke.
But I did survive the all day meeting. And when I think about it, the good things outnumber the bad. Maybe I’ll learn how to be a good preacher’s kid yet.
So what do you remember about all day meetings and dinner on the grounds?
Want to know more about Jocie? Read about her and her friends in the Heart of Hollyhill books.