I Grew up on Swansea Road. It Was Where Love Took Over.
I grew up on Swansea Road ……………. It was where love took over.
Growing up for me was rather different than most. It really was. The first ten years of my life we lived on Swansea Road, a corner row house in the city yet you would have thought it was a huge dwelling. It certainly was no such thing. Later we moved to Jarrettsville, talk about country, wow. I think we had one blinking light, lots of horse farms and the nearest grocery store was 11 miles away so there never really was an in between for us. No suburbs just pure city and then pure country. I will try to describe the Swansea Road experience the best that I can. I can tell you one thing for sure: God was there. No other person can do what God can do. Maybe that is the reason my Dad lived and did not succumb to the terrible disease he encountered called Lymphoma. One thing about Swansea Road is that love was truly abundant and God was always right there with us. He always was there. We prayed together and both our Mom and our Dad taught us how to love.
I am sure most people remember the first time they walked or talked. Their parents at the very least will remember such important memorable times. I remember the first time I prayed. I had older siblings. When I was one, they were 13, 11 and 7 years of age respectively. So when in Rome you do as the Romans. I grew up rather quickly and kind of got an “old man” persona to go with my very little body. God was right there in that little row house. My Mom and Dad saw to that. We learned about Jesus from early ages. I knew even then what Jesus had done for me. I was always amazed and always blessed.
My Dad was taken sick in 1967 and he remained bed ridden for the better part of more than two years. Doctors had given up on him. The hospital had given up on him and sent him home to die. He was very ill and not expected to make it through this terrible disease. Evidently though, God did not and He had more work for him ( my Dad ) to do. Dad and God never gave up on each other and Dad would battle the cancer with God right alongside of him. Eventually he would gain weight, get better and even go back to work but those two years were very difficult for the family. They were especially difficult on my Mom. She cried a great deal during these hard times. I can tell you that my Dad getting better was nothing short of a miracle. So if someone inquires of my faith I can simply say that I have lived it. God has made Himself very obvious to me in every way imaginable. My prayer is that He reveals Himself to others as vividly as He revealed Himself to us.
I would hear stories about how my parents would help anyone in need or even families who were down on their luck and I would just think they were stories. As my dad got better those stories became real life. It became reality and Mom and Dad would share their wonderful blessings. We had a club basement with a bathroom and kitchen facilities (see what I mean about the huge dwelling reference) and you never really knew who was going to be living in it. There were times when entire families lived down there. Sometimes relatives for various reasons. I am sure it probably sounds somewhat bizarre and I guess in some ways it was but I guess we were bound and determined to pay it forward. Sometimes I think my Dad thought he was the father of the whole neighborhood. There really were no lengths my parents would not take to help someone out. Food, money, shelter you name it my parents provided and so God provided for us tremendously and abundantly. Often times my Dad was able to find people jobs. We were blessed in so many ways. I never really remember wanting for anything.
Seeing this and living it made us want to emulate our parents. One of my sisters used to comment around Christmas time, “You have been wrapping presents for people since you were three years old and they still look the same.” My wrapping obviously is not the best. I would wrap up my toys and give them away because I wanted to be like my Mom and Dad. I leaned early on that giving was way better than receiving. It just was and it certainly is. So it may not have been exactly Ozzie and Harriet. It clearly was not. However, it was Joe and Betty and most importantly it was Jesus. I cannot and will not even try to describe the incredible feeling knowing God was right there in our home. He is just downright amazing, awesome and so incredibly loving. Wow, what a God we indeed have.
Dad had asked God for ten years. Sometimes he would pray out loud for God to help him. Dad lived another fifteen years and passed away from a different cancer in 1982. He had defied all odds. With God anything is possible. I have been so blessed to have incredible parents and they both came right from God. My siblings are also amazing people and incredible believers and are incredible blessings. So very many blessings. Far too many to even count.
Here are some verses on giving. Thanks be to our amazing God.
Deuteronomy 15:10 You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand.
Deuteronomy 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.
1 Chronicles 29:9 Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly.
Matthew 6:3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
Luke 3:11 He answered and said them, " He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise."
Luke 6:30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
God bless always.