Monday, April 16, 2012

Life on the Second Row, Piano Side: The Pastor

I was Daddy's little girl.  Daddy was the person I most admired and most wanted to emulate. 
I don't know if I can even begin to share all the feelings that are associated with my daddy.  Of both my parents, he's been the hardest to let go.  Mama and I shared a different relationship.  In the early years, she was my greatest enemy and in the latter years, she was my best friend.  I got angry with Mama, spoke my mind, questioned God to Mama because I knew I could.  She was my safe place.  A mama loves you no matter what! 
In my eyes, Daddy lived on a pedastal.  Growing up in the parsonage, I didn't dare share everything with him-especially my doubts and fears about God and my faith.  I felt like he was....well...holy or something.  It's not that he didn't have faults.  It's not that he acted superior.  He was the most humble man I have ever met. I guess I just wanted more than anything to please him.  He took me everywhere he went.  Many people called me "Little Preacher."  But Daddy was sad and I wanted to make him happy. Not many people know that he was actually a man who struggled with depression, anxiety, and poor self-esteem.  Daddy was serious.  Maybe I am remembering the years after my baby brother died.  But in most of my memories, Daddy is sad.  I remember one Christmas asking Daddy, "Why are you sad?"  He responded, "It's hard when you don't have any family left."  I didn't understand, "We're your family."  "I know, but I've lost my mama, my daddy, and my brother," He said.  I went away and cried.  I always cried for my daddy.
Daddy was raised by his grandfather.  His daddy died when he was only 1 year old and he and his brother and mother moved in with his grandpa.  His grandpa had lost everything during the depression years and was a sharecropper.  This is his story...

We lived on a one-horse farm and tended the land on halves.  What that means is the man who owns the farm and house lets you live in the house rent-free during the year.  You are paid an agreed-upon amount of money for groceries and basic needs.  The sharecropper plants the fields with seed, fertilizes, plows, and gathers the crops.  After harvest, the money from the crop is divided in half between the owner of the land and the sharecropper.  When the sharecropper receives his half, he then in turn repays the owner what has been borrowed during the year for "run bill."  One year, after all our debts were paid, we had only $8 left. I always felt inferior to everyone else.  Maybe it was because I didn't have a daddy or because I was practically blind and had to wear thick glasses at a young age.  We were poor and  I was made fun of by other children because of the clothes I wore. I got in many fights to defend myself.  My glasses were often bent out of shape and always lay crooked on my nose as a result.

Maybe that's why he was sad.

The past few years have been the hardest and I find it difficult to remember when Daddy was happy.  Putting mama in the nursing home was the hardest thing he ever had to do.  Being a sick man himself, we knew that he could no longer care for her.  He cried everyday of his life until she died.  He lived only 6 months after her death.  My brother, sister and I took turn caring for him.  I never left him that I didn't cry.  Once again, Daddy was sad and I couldn't make him happy.

This post was rewritten several times.  There's much more that I will share in the weeks and months to come.  As I lay in my bed last night, asking God to heal my hurts and cause me to remember the time when he wasn't sick somethings occured to me...Daddy, The Pastor, was a man of compassion and love for people.  He took seriously his responsibility to care for others.  He gave his life in service to others.  He carried the weight of the world on his shoulders.  Many times I said to him, "Daddy, God didn't call you to walk on water."  He couldn't save the world, but I think he tried. 

Maybe that's what made him sad.



  1. Bonnie: Beautiful post. You can tell that your Daddy was a man of compassion and caring. I think you are very much like him in that way..Happy Monday..Judy

  2. oh my....i cannot believe i found you thru your comment on my blog post today....we have just put my father into a very nice private skilled center..and it is killing me a day at a time....i am going to read all of your posts tonight!! your newest follower-chris from midwest cottage and finds

  3. Chris, I will be praying for you. It's the hardest thing we ever did. I worked at the nursing home and was there everyday, but is was still hard. If I can help, please do not hesitate to email me at Sometimes I just needed someone to cry with me or vent to. Feel free!

  4. Your Daddy was complex and wonderful Bonnie. You saw a side of him he did not allow many to see. Now that I have lost both parents and a brother and have several more living relatives that do not wish to talk to me I know about this sadness I think.

  5. Did you know that there is a book out called 2nd Row Piano Side written by Chonda Pierce? I grew up Nazarene and my daddy was a preacher (not a pastor). So many of the things she shared in her book paralleled the lives of the kids in my family. So much sorrow, heartache and even poverty sprinkled with enormous offerings of love and compassion. I learned to sing because of my father's faith in me...but I also learned to doubt at times as I struggled with our all too human family.

    Beautiful heartfelt post. It spoke to me and I love the way you write.


  6. He is not crying anymore, sweet friend. He is rejoicing! He is singing! He is healed!!

    I pray peace for you. I pray your tears will turn into joy and laughter. Rest in Him, friend.

  7. Thank you my sweet friends. It's amazing how God has much like-minded people in blogland into my life.

    No he is not sad anymore. Thanks for the reminder:)


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