The most famous Americans are still leaving us! Dec. 31 took out Betty White and only a few days from her 100th birthday. I thought things were getting back to normal in the new year, but there were others that followed. The one that stopped me dead in my tracks, though, was Academy Award-winning actor Sidney Poitier! Wow!
James 4:13 says, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Another Scripture says it this way: “What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears.”
This is my tribute to Sidney Poitier, dead at age 94. He died back home in the Bahamas, where he was born on Cat Island. During the early 1970s, my family often watched together the movie in which Poitier starred, “Lilies of the Field,” where he played his role so eloquently that he won the Academy Award for best actor —the first Black man ever to do so.
“Lilies of the Field” is a black-and-white film released in 1963, during a time when America was going through so much unrest and racial hatred. The Student Nonviolet Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was marching, going to jail, working to help our African American citizens to get the right to vote, to stop useless murders of our Black people. In fact, on Aug. 28, 1963, there was a March on Washington, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders. This film was released only two months after that historic march.
Great movie — no kind of violence or romance. Just a great wholesome film that teaches us that you never know when the Lord will make us into angels to help someone else. Even after we have done that heavenly work, we still probably won’t know what we have really done to help further the causes of Christ.
In the movie, Poitier helped the Sisters to build a chapel. It got done, then Mr. Poitier left the scene singing his “Amen” song that he taught to the Sisters! It is a joy to watch.
One of my favorite books, “This Life,” was also written by Poitier. It deals with how life was for him growing up on Cat Island, in the Caribbean Islands. Born unexpectedly in Miami, Poitier grew up with his family grew up in his home on Cat Island. His mother decided to teach her children by talking with them.
Years later, as a newly divorced woman, I recalled how Poitier’s mother raised her children by teaching and talking with them, encouraging them. It truly did make a difference in their lives, and my doing so made a difference in the lives of my children.
In conclusion, I wish to share with you all how Sidney Poitier became friends with my brother Dalton Grant, who lives in Los Angeles with his wife and family. He has a floor sanding and finishing business, one that has been extremely successful over the past 40 years. His company was honored on the cover of a floor magazine for doing such outstanding work. Well, he did the floors in the home of many famous actors, singers, athletes and, yes, Sidney Poitier, too. When he opened up his business in a new location, Poitier came to his grand opening.
You will truly be missed, Sidney Poitier, but we are all so grateful for the trail you left behind for us to follow. We thank you, and we know that you will rest in heavenly peace!
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.