Retirement has given me the luxury of pursuing my interest in family history. Thanks to the Internet, finding family and friends from the past is easier than ever. These past couple of weeks I have reconnected with three people who meant something to me a great many years ago. And I find myself saying Thank You, Lord, for the chance to say thank you to people that I never properly thanked at the time.
I’ve talked by phone with a cousin I’ve not seen in 50 years, though our families were together often when we were growing up and we shared a great deal. Char and I hope to visit Dianne and her husband later this year in Virginia.
Many times over the years I have recalled someone named Roen from my early childhood. She was a teen living in Fort Bragg, about an hour from my hometown of Ukiah in California. I could remember nothing about her except that somehow I had felt respected by her. I didn’t even know if we were related. Researching my mother’s family, I discovered Roen! She is the niece of my mom’s first husband. She still lives in Fort Bragg and Google Earth street view even shows her in the front yard of her house. Two years ago, visiting a I called her, thanked her for having been so nice to this little kind, and made plans to visit later this year.
This morning, I made another attempt to find a former high school teacher, Roy Kent, whom I tried many time to find over the last several years. Bingo! He is living in Wyoming. Just minutes ago I talked with his wife and am now awaiting a call from him.
Roy Kent began teaching at Ukiah High School my senior year. I had no classes from him but did have some contact. He initiated a Forensics Club on campus and persuaded me to join the debate team. We really never had personal conversations — I didn’t even know how to have a personal conversation with anyone. But I never forgot that somehow he had been different from the other faculty members.
Two years after graduation I became a Christian and felt an immediate urge to write to Roy Kent to tell him about it. He’s the only one I wrote to and I didn’t know why it seemed so important to me. Before long, I received a letter from him, thanking God for my new faith and telling me that he and his wife had prayed for me every day for three years. I cannot begin to say how much that meant to me. Even now it brings tears to my eyes.
And there’s a cherry on top of this treat: He will be at Mayo Clinic in Rochester in a couple of weeks. I may well get a chance to thank him in person.
What inexpressible richness there is in the gifts of God, the people-gifts. Thank you, Lord, for Dianne, for Roen. for Roy, and for the chance to tell them each that God used them in my life many decades ago.