No person knows what I’ve experienced in life but me. I’ve had a wonderful life, a full life, and a life of joy! Growing up in a pastor’s home was not always easy and fun. In elementary school, many of the children teased and bullied me, because I was a preacher’s kid. I often heard the comment, “You think you’re something because your daddy is a preacher!” It seemed to follow me every where I went. I grew up in the 50s when little girls from our church only wore dresses. How I dressed became the “standard” by which the other little girls at Wilson Grove Baptist Church were dressed. I even had a dear lady tell me that when her daughters wanted to start wearing pants and shorts they were told by their father, “When Carolyn Digh starts wearing pants, you can wear them.” I’m sure that caused them to resent me. When I got to high school, boys didn’t want to date the preacher’s daughter. But little did I realize that just over the hill next door, a young man was living that saw something in me. He didn’t look at me as the “preacher’s kid” he only saw me as a person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with; we’ve been married for 53 years and have never been happier.
Even today, I’m still that preacher’s kid. And you know what, I’m proud of it. People who remember my father connect with the fact that I’m a 72 year-old PK. My dear husband has become known as “the preacher’s son-in-law,” and my daughter’s have become known as “the preacher’s granddaughters.”
Today, I can honestly say…I’m a stronger person because of the road I’ve traveled. I wouldn’t take anything for my journey in life, and it definitely has influenced my writing. Growing up in a pastor’s home has given me much insight into the character and lives of people. I have used some of the knowledge I’ve gleaned from many of the “church people” to form the personalities of my characters. Not all “church people” are nice.” Daddy used to call them “disgruntles.” They were always crotchety and cantankerous. Notice I used the term “church people” not Christians. One of the problems I observed over the years in southern Baptist churches is family control issues. One family gets into power, and the family across the way gets upset and starts a ruckus or a bruhaha. Most of the time the two factions are kin to each other. Next thing you know, it’s like a political arena. Because of my life experiences, I can almost spot a “disgruntle” a mile away.
Yes, I’ve seen much in my 72 years. If all writers were to be honest, they would have to admit they base their writing on their experiences and what they know. A writer has to write about what he or she has knowledge of. All I have ever known is life in the church and the Christian life. Therefore, that’s what my novels are about. They are packed with imperfect people that God has touched and redeemed.
If you were to walk in my footsteps today, you would find that I have slowed down and learned to evaluate life more through my spiritual eyes than through my physical eyes. Life gets sweeter as the days go by. I can describe a sunset with deeper clarity, because it looks more beautiful than it did in my youth. The birds and the trees are lovelier than they have ever been before, and I can describe them with more detail. Today, I view things honestly and attempt to describe them simply and accurately, whereas years ago, my writing would have had no depth or exactness. So, follow in my footsteps today and you might see life differently.