The Year Was…

The year was 1946, June to be exact. My dad, Vincent, was just turning eleven, and living in a sweet little house in Oakland, California. He lived there with his dad and his mom. His older sister, Charmaine, had died at the age of 14 a couple of years earlier from pneumonia/kidney failure. The following April, 1947, my dad’s dad died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 61. Their home which was once filled with family, music and laughter, had changed drastically. The only thing that hadn’t changed, and in fact, was strengthening, was the deep faith of my grandmother, Charlotte. I recently acquired her Bible, and I’d like to share a portion of the last letter she wrote to her husband, my grandfather, Jack. It was written on March 11, 1947. He was soon to be returning home from a business trip. The letter was safely tucked away in her Bible all these years… She died at the age of 89 in 1988.

We are very lonesome too dear, and will be glad when Friday arrives. Vincent just came home from school and he is practicing. He is a good pal, and does everything I tell him. He has lots of school work and we do them at night. He also is my little bed partner right now…Am looking forward to Friday so you can hold me in your arms…

One month later, Jack was gone, leaving my grandma and my dad really lonesome in this world, except for each other, and our God, who never leaves us nor forsakes us. Not long after my grandfather passed on, my dad and grandma needed to move out of their little home in Sheffield Village, no longer being able to afford the cost of a home.

Why do I share this tale of my family with you today? Because yesterday, my dad and my brother, Keith, took a drive by the little house in Oakland, and were able to actually enter into the house. The owner, who is the granddaughter of the very people who bought the home from my grandma back in the 40’s, still lives there. The house has remained in their family for almost 70 years! And when my brother introduced my dad as the previous owner, the woman exclaimed, “You’re the Vincent?!” What a welcome home!! You see, back in 1946, my dad and his parents had written their names in the cement out back. My grandparents’ names have long since disappeared from wear, but “Vincent - June 1946” was still visible in the cement! He was thee Vincent they had wondered about for so many years.

When Searching And Noticing the Divine, sometimes we have to wait a very long time to see God’s mysteries revealed. Many times we think God will never come through for us. But He always will, either on this side of Heaven, or the other. I know my grandma knows that now because on another small note contained in my her Bible she penned these words, “Make no mistake – eternal life is available to every one if we reach out in faith. I have no fear of death. In fact, I look forward to it with joy and anticipation.” Charlotte is now not only in the loving arms of her husband, Jack, but also in the loving arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ. Perhaps when she saw Jesus, she said, “You’re the Christ!” I’m sure Jesus gave her a hearty, “Welcome Home! You’re name has been written here in the Book of Life all these years!”