When I started at the estate, the first thing I noticed was an older man who worked occasionally in the vegetable garden and formal rose and dahlia gardens while spending most of his time sitting on the couch in the kitchen/breakfast room. Sitting there, his view was through plate glass windows and sliding glass doors opening onto the slate terrace overlooking the ocean.
Except for an hour absence when he went into town for lunch at the same small restaurant each day, Enoch could always be found seated on a sofa reading the thick, large print Bible he’d received as a thank-you for his support of Jerry Falwell. Morning, afternoon, and into the late evening, Enoch sat there keeping watch for the owners.
Born in 1899, Enoch had grown up on this same estate, the child of domestics. One of the duties of Enoch’s father was raking the long circular gravel driveway each time a carriage arrived or departed. The gravel was to be kept perfect.
When Enoch became a man and left his parents, he moved to New York City, married, had two sons, and worked as a home heating serviceman. He never spoke much of these decades in his life. His wife had passed away years earlier, but I gathered his marriage had been a happy one. Not so much his relationship with his sons. Several times I inquired about his sons, but was saddened to find out Enoch didn’t hear from them. I never found out anything about them. Where did they live? Were they married? Did they believe?
Enoch wouldn’t speak of them other than to say they were not in contact with him.
When I was hired, I learned Enoch had been working for the family for over a decade. The year was 1979, so Enoch was eighty years old. When I left three years later, he had turned eighty-three.
My first lesson from Enoch was one day during a conversation when I told Enoch something or other had been a “disappointment” to me. Walking through the breakfast room to exit into the back yard, Enoch was sitting on the couch reading his Bible. As I passed, quietly he asked me, “How you spelling that, boy?”
“Spelling what?” I asked.
“You spelling that d-i-s or H-i-s?”
It took me a second, but then I got it. Enoch was gently correcting my understanding of God’s sovereignty in my life, pointing out every smallest thing I complained about was from God. Nothing was a disappointment. Everything was Hisappointment.
From that moment I loved Enoch and thanked God for sending him into my life. What good discipline for this proud young man studying to be a shepherd of God’s flock! Who did I think I was?
Who did I think God was?
(To be continued.)