I grew up in Southeast Dallas, the old Pleasant Grove area. During those years (1960’s), most of my memories of living in our neighborhood are good. I don’t remember my parents being concerned about crime in our neighborhood. Things were relatively calm in that neighborhood.
In my memory, life was full. Baseball in the summer and touch/tackle football the rest of the year. We had a field behind us that belonged to a nearby Baptist church where we played both sports. It was the gathering place on hot summer evenings.
In the summers, when we were out of school, I would get on my bike in the morning (often with my friends Kip and his brother Dale) and stay gone most of the day. I rode with friends to stores, to the park, to nearby streets, and to the community swimming pool. These were different times. In fact, the one warning that I got from my mother (who would be working at a bookstore all day) was “Don’t be late for supper.”
At one point, while I was still in elementary school, my daddy and mother took my younger sister, my brother and me to walk through a couple of new houses. There was no real estate agent present in any of these houses. They were simply open to walk through. I remember the smell of freshly cut wood in the two or three houses that we walked through. They were not yet finished and I remember being amazed at how clean and large these empty houses seemed, compared to our red brick house on Alhambra Street. In fact, I made a mental note that several of them had more than one bathroom (unlike our house).
As a result, I somehow concluded that we were about to move. (I never knew if my parents were seriously thinking about this or not.) I began to think about what it would be like to leave our neighborhood with my friends and miss out on all that we typically did during the summer months.
Decades later, I still remember this time very clearly. What I don’t know or understand is exactly how God was working through all of these various events and people. I don’t know exactly what he was doing and exactly who he was influencing to ultimately make a difference in my life. Yet, I know he was and is at work. There are some memories in which I have such a certainty regarding his activity to influence my journey. Yet regardless of my awareness or lack of awareness, I know he is faithful and continues to work in my life, even in the details, today.