Photo by vassiliki koutsothanasi
Photo by vassiliki koutsothanasi
I originally wrote much of this in May of 2010 in a Note on Facebook. Since the blog was shut down in April of that year, Facebook was the only place that I could put down these thoughts. Now that the blog is active again, it is important that I save these thoughts here for posterity. Who knows, Facebook could go offline tomorrow and Mark Zuckerberg could catch that flight to Mars that’s being planned.
I grew up with a strong religious background. My Dad was a faithful member of a strong fundamental church with a history based in the Restoration Movement. Small autonomous churches banded together with a common mission of “speaking where the Bible speaks, and remaining silent where the Bible is silent.
As I got older, I rebelled somewhat from that church, but would always go back to my roots eventually. During the 1990s, I joined another of these churches in Columbus, MS led by a minister who immediately connected with me. His direction at that church was truly inspirational as well as educational. He didn’t tell the same tired stories with the same analogies and lessons. He pulled more from the stories and lessons…there was history, and reason, and logic along with the faith. The church was alive with his direction.
He left that church shortly before my family and I left Columbus to move to Mobile, AL. He became a coordinator for a religious radio station in Montgomery. A station that didn’t belong to “his church”, but with this man, any mission with a purpose to serve God was an honorable mission, despite any sect affiliation. I spoke with him by phone a year or so after he was at the station; his first words were of genuine concern for myself and my family and our lives and happiness in Mobile. He assured me he was serving his “mission” and was, as always, encouraging to me and our new lives in Alabama. We talked of meeting in Montgomery at sometime in the future, but it never came to pass.
I lost touch with this sweet God-loving man over the years. Last night I discovered by doing a Google search that Gary Hundley had passed away at 7:10 on November 18, 2007, from cancer. The news hit me as if it happened yesterday. I was angry, upset and sad. This was a personal example of “when bad things happen to good people” and I was years late to the grieving process.
His daughter, Erin, had kept a blog of Gary’s condition, his fight with cancer, and his ultimate death. In the true spirit of faith, the Hundley family was both sad to see their father and husband die; but joyous in his Faith that he would see Heaven, his true home.
Some would say that I’m not as “religious” as I once was–they’d be right; but I have enough Faith to believe that Gary did go to his true home in Heaven and he shall receive that reward. And, if I’m wrong then I still believe that if Gary does not receive that spiritual reward he deserved, then he could still rest easy knowing he provided a portion of that reward to his friends while he lived on Earth.
Below is the comment I left to Gary’s daughter at her blog–God Is Good To Gary
Not sure if you still check for email from this blog, but I hope you do.
I decided to Google your dad’s name tonight because I had been thinking about him lately. The last time I communicated with him was a year or two after he started working for the radio.
Gary meant a lot to my wife and I and our entire family. When we joined the Columbus Church of Christ, Gary went out of his way, (or in Gary’s case, it was exactly his way) to welcome us and befriend us. He came to visit us and took the time to get to know us. I suppose our family was somewhat unique to the church, but we bonded with Gary and found his direction of the church so in tune with us. He confessed to us, his own personal struggles as we struggled in raising our young kids and growing as adults.
With Gary’s help, we felt we belonged to that church family. Gary’s sermons always enlightened me, and made me think differently about older Bible stories. He educated me on the history of the story and what it meant in first century terms. His teachings stay with me, even though I may not be in touch with a church on a regular basis any more.
Having lost my Mom and Dad several years ago, I know that time doesn’t necessarily heal all wounds, but even though you still miss your Dad…tonight it’s as if he just died for me. You have my deepest sympathies for your Family and for Hope. I share in your loss tonight. I have lost another father-figure, teacher and friend. I have always missed Gary and now I find I will miss him just a bit more.
With deep admiration for Gary.
And now in 2016, I look back on these words, and my ever-changing path of faith, belief, and spirituality and know still; that Gary was and is still a man of inspiration and ultimately, of an undying faith. My admiration is a constant.
And So It Is.
“The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats and biodiversity… that’s all there is. That’s the whole economy. That’s where all the economic activity and jobs come from. These biological systems are the sustaining wealth of the world.”
Earth Day weekend featured a custom header banner celebrating Earth Day and a custom background featuring trees. A full-length screen grab will be available here to view the site as it appeared.
Full-Length Screengrab provided by the Google Chrome Browser
–Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
I’m writing this late in the evening . It is Earth Day 2016 and activity regarding the day is over. Many cities and states will take advantage of the weekend tomorrow to also carry out Earth Day Celebrations and activities. Here in my area, the Earth Day, Mobile Bay takes place Saturday, April 23, 2016 with a day filled with activities, music, and vendors.
Earth Day activities presented by the Earth Day Network included coverage of the signing of the Paris Summit on Climate Control which was signed by 167 countries making commitments to reduce their carbon outputs by certain dates.
Countries will aim to keep global temperatures from rising more than 3.6°F by 2100 with an ideal target of keeping temperature rise below 2.7°F.
The deal will also encourage trillions of dollars of capital to be spent adapting to the effects of climate change—including infrastructure like sea walls and programs to deal with poor soil—and developing renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.
The Earth Day Network’s theme this year is “Trees For The Earth”. Their goal is to plant 7.8 Billion trees over the next 5 years. The organization and the movement will celebrate it’s 50th Anniversary in 2020; and are working on campaigns involving alternative energy, “green” building, sustainable cities, climate change, poverty, and more. They insist that these big problems require big action and long-term sustained effort.
When I heard that the theme was “planting trees”, I admit I wasn’t “bowled over”. Hell, the action of planting trees, handing out pine tree saplings, is as old as I am. We did it when I was in elementary school. (A 100-foot tree stands in the yard of my old homestead to this day) It seems like a throw-away gesture of no consequence. In fact, in my yard today, there are five trees, that I would like to cut down. Why in the hell, would I or should I plant another one? Give me something else to do. Can’t I do something big? Save the Polar Bears? Shut down a nuclear reactor plant? Build a park?
Sure, I can do those things. Big problems require big action. But, to make long-term, continued results sometimes requires small simple steps.
The folks at TreePeople tell me that trees can do some amazing things , other than drop leaves in my yard.
Excess carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by many factors is a building up in our atmosphere and contributing to climate change. Trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles.
Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.
In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.
Average temperatures in Los Angeles have risen 6°F in the last 50 years as tree coverage has declined and the number of heat-absorbing roads and buildings has increased.
Trees cool the city by up to 10°F, by shading our homes and streets, breaking up urban “heat islands” and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves.
Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants.
Shade from trees slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns. Most newly planted trees need only fifteen gallons of water a week. As trees transpire, they increase atmospheric moisture.
An apple tree can yield up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year and can be planted on the tiniest urban lot. Aside from fruit for humans, trees provide food for birds and wildlife.
Studies have shown that patients with views of trees out their windows heal faster and with less complications. Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Exposure to trees and nature aids concentration by reducing mental fatigue.
Neighborhoods and homes that are barren have shown to have a greater incidence of violence in and out of the home than their greener counterparts. Trees and landscaping help to reduce the level of fear.
The beauty of a well-planted property and its surrounding street and neighborhood can raise property values by as much as 15 percent.
Besides recycling my aluminum cans and using fluorescent light bulbs, maybe I could plant a tree or two. Maybe the gesture does have consequence.
But no matter, it’s too late. Earth Day is almost over. Earth Day suffers the same malady that the Christmas Spirit suffers. For some reason people think that once the day is over, then the reason for the day is also gone. We will wait until next year, to get back into the spirit of Christmas. It’s almost midnight, I can’t plant a tree now, and the recycling center is closed–all those aluminum cans will have to go into the trash.
As long as you draw a breath, drink a bottle of water, eat food, wear clothes, drive a car, or turn on a light-bulb–then you need to realize that the actions you would have taken part in on Earth Day are indeed the actions you need to practice everyday. You may not accomplish it all; but doing just one thing a day to improve our life on Earth is worth your action. Whether the action takes place on Earth Day or a Monday.
The first Earth Day happened 46 years ago. To me, it seems like a lot less time has passed. The year 2o20 and the 50th Anniversary will be here in no time at all. We need to start and continue to make simple actions to save our home, this planet, our Earth; a part of our everyday life. It’s not being a “hippie tree-hugger”; a Communist, or a left-wing liberal. It’s being a good steward of the resources we have been given. It’s speaking for the planet, it’s speaking for the trees, because they have no tongues, it’s speaking for our fellow man.
We must continue to “speak for the trees”.
Today’s blog entry featured a custom header banner celebrating Earth Day and a custom background featuring trees. A full-length screen grab will be available here to view the site as it appeared on this day.
Full-Length Screengrab provided by the Google Chrome Browser
— George Lucas
Photo from FilmmakerIQ