Dick Hunt's Blog

June 21, 2010


by Dick Hunt, June 21st, 2010
The morning I was ordained a Deacon in the Church, 53 years ago, Bishop Calvert gave us a pep talk prior to the service. There were four of us and I was by years the eldest of the lot. He said, “fellows, I want you to always remember and never forget (waving his finger at us) , if you forget all the theology you’ve ever learned, I want you to never forget that there is no substitute for kindness”.

I have never forgotten his admonition. His advice is priceless and precious. It is so much a partner of the the second of the two commandments, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. As much as yourself. I have found throughout my life that when I am unhappy with my own behaviour, I have trouble loving myself. And of course, self help systems always fail. We do not have the wisdom or the strength in ourselves to change our lives. Only when we turn to our Creator in penitence and obedience can we expect to find our lives changing into what God knows we can become. We are dependent upon Him for our every breath.

A smile can give great blessing to one who observes it. A touch of your hand on the shoulder of a lonely person can help them to bear the burdens of their day. For those who are largely confined to their home, to be able to enjoy a drive in a car just to see the outside world gives a great boost to their spirit. It is one thing to be taken to the Doctor when that is necessary and of course that is a kindness. But to see the outdoors beyond the view from the kitchen window is a bit of heaven for those who are shut in by reason of age or creeping infirmity. Often it is not too time consuming to say to the needy one, “we are going to see such and such in their ‘new location’, would you like to come along”? That is a joy beyond our experience if we have not been confined to our home space. And it is a happy thing for the giver too!
That is why it is such a great Vision to follow the progress of a planned Country Retirement Community just a few miles out of Calgary on natural prairie land. The Vision is the result of dreaming on the part of my Sister Ruth and deceased husband Wilfred with a will to share their blessings for their life together in the rural district where they spent their life together. They worked very hard, paid their bills, carefully and deliberately made all their Mortgage payments, enjoyed their many friends and denied themselves to help their family with their needs.

They wanted to make possible a community where rural retired people could still be with their friends in the country, in safety, with whatever help they needed, with walking trails, gardens to grow food or flowers, or sit and watch the world go by . Where they could look up and see the stars on clear nights, where the traffic noises are a distant purr. Where they could visit with other retired persons and swap yarns, and feel comfortable and appreciated just be being themselves.

The most recent news is that the County authorities have unanimously voted to give their go ahead to make the Vision a reality. It has been dubbed “The Hunt Coulee Ranch Retirement Community”. My sister obviously wants to live to see it a reality and even live in it if she is granted the years beyond her ninety third birthday on July 28th, soon to come.

She has given 160 acres for the project. Forty Five acres are to be dedicated for the Centre itself. The remaining one hundred and fifteen acres are to kept in their primeval state in perpetuity as an island of unspoiled nature. We will be cheering for the people who have devoted huge amounts of voluntary service to bring it about and there is no doubt that they have set an example which is gaining wide approval in other areas around the City of Calgary.

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