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.