Looking back over the 90 years of my life, I realize I have a lot of gratitude towards those whom I have encountered in my life. When I was a young boy, my grandfather influenced me as I was growing up. He was one of those “salt of the earth” types of people—he believed in working hard, taking care of his family and praising his God. He taught me to always show God my love for him. My grandfather wanted me to be a good man who was well respected and a large part of that included showing my faith and sharing my faith with others.
As a young man, my path took me into teaching. I began at 17 in Ireland’s Eye, a small community in Trinity Bay. In those days, a teacher was almost revered! Members of the community came to me with everything that had to be read and written. I had to register births, deaths, weddings, and everything governmental. Along with all government dealings, I was responsible for the weekly church services when the minister was busy in another community. Usually the minister managed to get to the community about once a month. So three Sundays a month it was my responsibility. I was teacher, lawyer, minister, and everything in between at 17 years old! Through the grace of God, I managed to do my best in all areas. At the time I wasn’t sure I was doing everything adequately, but looking back now, I’m proud of the job I did in that community. I certainly worked hard on Ireland’s Eye, and I enjoyed every minute getting to know all the people who lived there. When I would go home for the summer, my grandfather would ask me how I was doing, and I was happy to report that things were going well. I was working hard and praising my God!
Several years later, I moved to Kelligrews, C.B.S. It was there that I met my wife and had my children. Vera and I raised four children: three boys and one girl. We taught them to be kind and hard working. We taught them to love God and to include God in their everyday life. All four children became successful adults with successful lives! Vera and I attribute this success to loving our God and including him in our lives every day. As a family, we attended church regularly, and prayers were said every night. Watching my children growing, I was reminded of my grandfather. He was now passed on so I could only hope he was looking down on me from heaven and approving of how Vera and I were raising our family to be hard workers and loving our God.
Eventually, Vera and I ended up moving to St. John’s and it’s here where I spent the majority of my life. We are now grandparents and great-grandparents! In many ways it seems hard to believe that all this time has passed and I’m this old! In St. John’s I’ve been a teacher, a Sunday school teacher, a lay reader, a member of the Lion’s Club, a friendly visitor, a volunteer, a university professor. I’ve tried to work hard, to take care of my family and to praise my God.
My life is filled with family and friends and faith! Even though this year has been a really strange one, the pandemic has certainly helped me to focus on what’s really important in my life. All of the experiences in my life have led me to this point in my life where I feel the most grateful and the most blessed!
As you are reading this, we are in the season of Lent in the church calendar. Lent asks us to focus on the sacrifices of Jesus Christ. Jesus spent 40 days and nights in the desert looking back over his life and what was ahead for him. I imagine he reminisced about his childhood, his youth and his life to that moment. Take some time during this Holy season to look back over your life and reflect on your relationships with your family and your God.
God bless you all.