I do not remember having met Maury before he gave me the print of a brightly colored mushroom: “I thought you might enjoy this”. When asked, he told me he had taken the picture, and other close-ups of God’s creation.
As we talked, I learned that soon after Maury retired he had become very sick. I do not remember what he had, but people thought he would die – and he hoped he would!
When Maury realized he was going to live, he also realized that he had no hobby, or anything he really wanted to do. Maury decided to take up nature photography. As I recall, he even learned to develop his own film and to make his own color prints. Soon I was seeing close-ups of a grasshopper, water droplets on a spider web, a robin pulling a worm out of the ground, and a flower from when the bud pushed up through the ground to when it was in full bloom, translucent in bright sunshine. Each was an 8X10 and just fascinating. Here was a man with an incredible talent known and enjoyed by very few people.
The walls of the new Christ Church of Oak Brook building were totally bare. After I received the appropriate permission, I invited Maury to put up some of his prints. He was delighted and said this would be his gift to the church. Maury’s wife, Fran, had been a public school art teacher, and together they took over the project. Soon beautifully mounted color prints which showed the wonder of God’s creation began to appear throughout the building. Each was hung low enough so children could easily see them.
People began gathering around the pictures which were placed down the halls, and eventually, into the class rooms. God’s unique creation had suddenly become alive to our people – and quiet Maury became something of a celebrity. Children and adults alike wanted to know how he had been able to take such incredible pictures, and he would gladly tell them. Occasionally Maury and Fran would replace one picture with another. The interest and fascination of the church members continued.
When we planned our first one week family camp, we encouraged Maury and Fran to come – though they were twice the age of most of the adults in the group. What a special presence they were. Because of the interest Maury’s pictures had created, we found ourselves looking at God’s creation in new ways, often on our hands and knees. If a person saw something special, like a jack-in-the pulpit almost hidden in the woods, Maury would take a picture while fascinated people watched. Fran, forever the art teacher, had planned simple art projects that children of different ages could enjoy creating. We still have rocks painted by our children – with Fran’s gentle guidance.
Sometime after family camp Maury called Sally Jo. He had a Luna moth just about to come out of its cocoon. Would she like to bring our children over to watch this happen? After a few quick phone calls, several moms with their young children gathered around the Hull’s dining room table, mesmerized by what they were seeing.
When we live In Partnership With God we have both the privilege and the responsibility of creating an environment through which people can share their God given gifts and abilities. Often God’s people would like to share these gifts and abilities, but they need an open door, a little encouragement.
Maury and Fran changed how I look at God’s creation, and for this I am thankful!!!
“In the beginning God created…and God saw that it was good” — Genesis 1