I sat in the lounge room at my daughters doctor appointment. Browsing through the readers digest magazine I came across an article. Its a story of life and death. A vision and a miracle.
David Milarch was the son of nurserymen. He learned the trade by working long hard hours under his father and grandfather. At age 18 he took a trip with a friend after graduation to the Muir Woods National Monument. Home of the giant redwoods. Because of the logging industry at the time, large areas of the park had been cut down leaving miles and miles of stumps. Disgusted at the site David returned home only to find his work unsatisfying.
Working with clones chosen for their beauty and leaves and not for their size David took over the family farm, married and had 2 sons. During this time David drank heavily and at a public event he tripped and stumbled. Embarrassed for the public display he was shamed and went home and locked himself in his room to detoxify himself and quit drinking cold turkey. He ended up in the hospital where friends and family surrounded his bed as he died. During his near death experience David went to a space where he felt "pure goodness and unconditional love".
David woke up a changed man. He had seen a vision. "Earth’s forests were disappearing, he said." Not just the redwoods he’d mourned for decades but all the forests. “Picture earth in space,” Milarch told his wife, his friends, and his sons. “Can you see the mantle—the green verdant layer encircling the planet? It was the lungs and natural filter system for all living things. It existed for millions of years. We’ve shaved it almost completely away.”
David was also given a solution. The tree's could be cloned. Their DNA could be preserved, and their clones could be planted around the world in appropriate regions. Using the skills he had learned from his youth he set out to find the worlds tallest and oldest trees. It wasn't easy and he spent his entire life's savings and bankrupted his farm. In 1996 with his family behind him they launched a non profit Champion Tree Project. At first no one was interested in the project or realized how important this work was to save the trees on a larger scale. Little by little as they cloned the trees more people became interested and started funding the project.
David loved his redwoods and they searched for trees that they could clone. They searched for a hidden grove they had heard about. When they finally found it - it had been preserved by a 91 year old man who privately owned the land. The old man had been a logger and when he realized what the industry was doing - saved this area of trees and guarded it safely. He allowed David and his sons to climb the trees and take grafts.
The boys got to work. A month passed without success. Five months passed. They grieved each failure. And then one day they found success. The first baby sampling of the giant sequoia was born.
This story is impressive in many ways. I've re-read and thought about it over the past week. It took a lifetime for David to realize his success and fulfill his dream of saving the giant beautiful trees. In his youth he was taught the skills he needed to know the trade. He worked hard and put in the effort. On his road trip to the national forest, the love for the trees was planted in his heart. And during the most depressing and lowest time of his life he was given a vision and a mission to accomplish. There were little helps along the way. The old man who preserved a portion of the forest. The support from his family and friends.
Do we need a near death experience to change us? Do we realize the talents and skills that we have the opportunity to develop? More importantly do we help others in their life experiences and journeys to find God in this life? W ether it's preserving nature or preserving the children of men we each have a divine purpose. If God can take a drunk man and use him for a greater good then what can God do with you? With me? Do you look into the hearts of the people you are serving? Do you see their potential? Do you see beauty in a pile of ruble?
Take a moment to look at your life and which direction you are going. Great things start out small. Even as small as a seed.
Find the entire story here: http://www.rd.com/culture/david-milarch-save-trees/3/#ixzz3VUgfdhOa