Charlotte Jackson, Contributing Writer
Living in the outskirts of far East Harris County, I have seen so many changes in the last 45 years. When my father’s job transferred our family here in 1971, it was as if we lived such a distance from “the city,” yet we were always close enough to enjoy life in Houston. While there were a few Creole families that attended the same church as my family, it was not until the sixth grade that I had a Black classmate. Now at age nine, my granddaughter is one of a very small number of Caucasians in her entire school and in the same neighborhood. At the same time, as I grew up, all of my cousins were Caucasian. Now, my grandson is one of several biracial grandchildren in the family. Here I am, still living in the same zip code 45 years later.
I grew up in a home where my parents were married 46 years before divorcing. Not only did my two marriages last shorter than my oldest son’s marriage, in its 10th year, but my younger son chose not to marry the mother of his son. My 24-year-old daughter left a week after graduating from high school and has lived in three states, as well as South Korea, before coming back to Houston.
My father dropped out of college, needing only a handful of classes to graduate. However, my younger son did not just earn his Associate’s degree before the age of 22, but he earned two.
At the age of 77, my mother can probably count the times she has attended church outside of her own religion on one hand. I was raised Catholic and saved in a Southern Baptist church. I was later led by the Holy Spirit to join a United Methodist Church to serve. My life is all about allowing God to use me to fulfill my purpose. It has been a life full of change. I now have an open mind to see things from another person’s perspective as well. There are things that I am truly passionate about, but I am also willing to listen to others and grow in wisdom.
Growing up, the holidays, weekends, and vacations were quiet and included immediate family only. Raising my children, our weekends were full of activities, as well as countless holidays spent with extended family. In the past few years, it seems like I have traveled more with friends than family, but yet again, people who meet me, know that soon you are family. Looking back, I do not remember many hugs and probably fewer times of being told “I love you,” but those of you who follow me here in d-mars.com or know me, know that I am a hugger. My children joke that when I get to Heaven, I will probably push St. Peter out of the way and stand at the Pearly Gates to welcome people. And being blessed enough to be a part of the St. John’s Downtown family, it goes without saying, that hugs are natural. Like the familiar quote, “I love you and there is nothing you can do about it.”
While there are some things that we need to remain constant in our lives, let’s never grow stagnant. Let’s be ready to change as needed to passionately fulfill the purpose God has for our lives.