Beata works as a qualified primary school teacher, a councillor for drug and alcohol addiction and a farm caretaker for organic olive grow.
Let me tell you a story...
My godfather has been taught by his father to be a bee keeper and he takes his commitment to nature and bees very seriously.
His family is of protestant stock. He married my godmother who was from catholic stock back then. Because they decided to marry out of their churches they have been condemned by both. I was abandoned by my parents and lived with them at the start of their marriage because I have had no where else to go. So I know some of this personally some they told me later. I remember living with them in a communist village to be away from protestant and catholic crowd. He was an atomic engineer by trade and worked in a nearby nuclear station as a safety inspector. It was his role to ensure that it ran smoothly and safely not to endanger the nearby habitation and villages like Chernobyl that was about to happen across the border in Ukraine. His station stayed safe, he spent there, days and nights ensuring it did. He was paid little for it as everyone was paid the same in the communism, but he didn’t mind, it was his job and just like with his planting trees mission and his bees, it became his life.
A catholic priest visited them in their house and said to my godfather who was the head of the household: “Your family is living in sin, you have to pray to God for forgiveness and you all have to come for confession and bible reading if you want to become a good people again. If you donate a quarter of your money from your honey business to my church, you become a catholic.” My Godfather listened politely and then he asked the priest: “My long life mission on this earth, is to plan local trees everywhere so my bees who are dying out can survive, will your church is interested in helping me?” And the priest replied, we do not care about trees we care about people souls. My godfather bowed to him: “Then we do not talk the same language my dear priest, I can assure you we are already good people.” He gave the catholic priest a big jar of honey for the road.
A protestant preacher came and told my godfather to come back and his family will be welcomed too, he can set up little honey stall next to church and give a half of profit to church and everyone will benefit. In return the church helps his family to grow in God’s grace. He asked the preacher if he helps him to plant trees for bees who are dying out. Preacher said people are first not the bees. My godfather bowed his head to him acknowledging they do not speak the same language. He assured the preacher his family is already graceful and he will sell the honey by himself. He gave the protestant preacher a big jar of honey for the road.
Then communist leader came and welcomed godfather in his village and praised him not to fall into the trap of religious people. He asked him to be a communist and give his honey business to the village communal farm cooperation. So he can share with everyone equally. My godfather asked him if the communal corporation will plant trees for bees so his bees will not die out and the community will have honey for years to come. Communists said trees are for chopping to make new buildings and new factories and paper for people. My godfather knew better than argue with a communist leader. He saluted to the communist commander and just said he will keep his small business but give the communal farm cooperation a quarter of profit so they let him to stay in the village and this way he can have a free house for his family, free education for his kids and work for his wife who can work as an accountant for the communal farm corporation.
The communist leader saluted back and replied: “We let you keep your small honey business because your father was a war hero whose plane was shot down fighting our common enemy, Germans, but we will watch you closely. “He gave the commander a big jar of honey for the road.
My Godfather saluted back and said: “I have no intention to spread any ideology or fight anyone of any religious or political affiliations. All I want to do is keep planting trees for my bees.”
And that what he kept doing all his life. Working as an atomic safety inspector during days and making honey and planting trees during nights or early morning hours often. Later he found out the communist village commander kept the quarter of his profit in his own pockets instead of sharing it with the communal cooperation. He mused that communists just like any religious or any political leaders become easily corrupt and that will be their own downfall.
His prediction was right and in a decade when I was barely over twenty years old the communist regime toppled in my country and around.
In the decades after when my country was lost replacing the hard core communism with a hard core capitalism where money rules and nothing else matters, my Godfather shined as a beacon for us all. It was his decision he wanted to stay a free person and make his own mind no matter what was happening around him and he taught me that in that few years I grew up in their household.
He had to make compromises but he set up a goal for life to save nature and his bees. He realized very early that none of groups mentioned above were willing to assist him in that. They had their own agendas to follow. So he kept buying his own seedlings and planting trees everywhere on communal land or in new private estates that appeared in new capitalist regime.
My Godfather nearly died when his brain was attacked by a virus. He was in a clinical death and they thought it is finished but he woke up and said, I can not be gone, I have to save bees. When we talked about what he seen, he said he seen his bees when he thought he is gone. He told me, it is our brain that makes us to see what we want to see the last images like when computer is switching off when we are leaving this world, and our energy goes back to universe to be used again in a great scheme of things.
My godfather started to plant trees from his pocket from the age of 20 but after his death experience at the age of 40 he made it his own quiet mission to return to earth what we people of all religions and beliefs take from it and use and waste and take for granted. He has become a free man on his own mission to do what is right in whatever religious or political surrounding he was growing up.
He suffered from great headaches after his illness. He also lost his memory so he lost his job. From the age of 40 he started to work as a night guard in the nuclear stations he was managing before. And the rest of his time he was spending with his bees and planting trees just like before.
He told me once, what has happened to him with his illness happened for a reason. He has more time to spend with his bees and planting trees because they are dying and fast. People in the nuclear station he was managing before saluted him still even if he was now at the bottom of the social ladder where power and importance we value so much as people is concerned. Even a new manager who replaced him bowed to him calling him: Mr. Beekeeper. Mr. Beekeeper who wants to save the bees!
I visited him this year when visiting my home country. In his late seventies planting trees everywhere even in private gardens now if owners promise let them grow.
He chuckled when he told me the news. After communism fall apart the catholic priest and the protestant preacher both visited him again. He was planting trees on the private land nearby his falling apart shack he lived in. They told him they are in power now because their status was restored, and if he would stick with them in previous communist time now they would reward him. They are in power now so he would get extra help from a new government but he will get nothing. And he stood up and look at his trees and he said: “I ALREADY HAVE EVERYTHING!” They looked at him and shook their heads: “You are mad, this land belongs now to our new political leader from Catholic Party and he is going to build a new golf course here!” He looked at them again and said: “You are truly mad, your plastic unnatural golf courses are graveyards for bees and trees and nature, they take so much of our precious water for nothing! Just for your pleasure to chase your plastic ball around with your plastic club sitting in your plastic car! Where is your God in all of this?”
My grandfather sighed and continued to plant the trees continuing: “When I plant these trees I do not have headaches. I do not feel my age.”
My godfather is tall and lanky. He eats very humble mostly produce from his own tiny garden, behind his falling down shack. He avoids plastic where he can and get rid of his own waste. He is trying to reuse paper because his beloved trees were chopped to make it.
HE IS HIS OWN MAN AND HE HAS HIS OWN MISSION. He thinks very little of himself and he tells you, I am just a man, I do not have time to question if God is there or not, I do not have time and I told this to communists in previous regime to question if sharing equally is the best for people. I do not have time and I told this to capitalists in today regime if making big bucks is solution to all of our problems.
I spend my time on this earth doing my bit that is all I can do.
Nellieanna Hay on November 28, 2018:
What an important writing about an important life!
Chris Hoffman on November 28, 2018:
An Interesting article from a different perspective.
Beata Stasak (author) from Western Australia on August 28, 2018:
Thank you dear Shauna for your beautiful reply after reading my story. My Godfather believes in people and he sees himself as a common man and I know reading your reply you are just like him and many, many more around therefore there is still hope for our survival:)
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 23, 2018:
Beata, this is an amazing story and your godfather is an amazing man! To have stood for what he believes in all these years, despite political and religious restrictions is commendable. And to put the earth before himself is incredible. Mother Earth has taken him under her wing. The rest of the world would be in a better place if we all followed the path your grandfather has all his life.
Thank you for sharing this inspiring story!
Beata Stasak (author) from Western Australia on August 23, 2018:
Thank you Peggy and Zulma for your wonderful comments. I have just had a wonderful discussion with one religious man who told me that he would listen to my godfather but advised him how to find God and path to his salvation because he will never be truly saved until he does. I mentioned it to my Godfather and he said to me: "Reply to this kind man that none of us will be truly saved until we leave the labels that divide us behind, be it religious labels we give ourselves or ideological labels and approach each other just as human beings, nothing else and nothing more. Once we do, we will stop talking to each other from the higher ground of giving advices to someone but from the equal ground of two equal human beings and only then we can truly share and help each to save humankind as one whole and our planet.'
Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on August 21, 2018:
I think, possibly, because man has created God in his own image. They seem to think God is someone they can bargain with like they can with another person. Who can say for certain why people think the way they do? I gave up years ago trying to understand. I just live my life the best I can.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 21, 2018:
It sounds like your godfather is a humble wise man. He knows what is important in life. You were fortunate to have him in your life at an early age. Thanks for telling us this story about him. We should all be so wise!
Beata Stasak (author) from Western Australia on August 20, 2018:
Yes dear Eric we are just footsteps we follow, we step on the footprints left for us to follow by our long gone family members and we leave another footprints to follow for our next generation, we can only hope we leave the good ones to follow hey:)
Beata Stasak (author) from Western Australia on August 20, 2018:
My godfather believes he is just an average man and anyone can be like him. He truly believes it and I truly believe it too but why it is so hard for majority of us dear my Zulma?
Beata Stasak (author) from Western Australia on August 20, 2018:
My fellow hub writer, what I wanted to tell with the story is also the simple and humble truth that we as humans often spend so much time philosophising and theorising and fighting whose idea is right but often miss the whole point of our existence. We play golf on the 'nature graveyard' and waste tons of plastic that kill everything alive out there while musing if God is there and if he sees how good we are and how good profit we made this year and how much of it we will give to some church. Got it???
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 20, 2018:
A very well done article. Much food for thought. By myself I only meddle in man's affairs. With God I reach much higher. I love my long passed away godparents. What a blessing.
Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on August 20, 2018:
Your godfather is a very wise man. You are truly blessed to have someone like him in your life.
The Logician from now on on August 20, 2018:
“Vanity of vanities; all is vanity”
A statement at the beginning of the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. The pointlessness of human activity is the major theme of the book. The old saying that “you can’t take it with you when you go” has an element of truth to it. No one takes his wealth with him in death. It is left behind for others. This is not necessarily bad in itself, for Scripture tells us that a good man leaves an inheritance for his “children’s children” (Prov. 13:22). Nevertheless, if we look at things only from the perspective of this life, it can be strange and hard to understand why we labor to build something that we ultimately leave behind to others.
The answer, of course, is that we are not to look at things only from the perspective of this life. Ecclesiastes repeatedly uses the phrase “under the sun” inviting us to consider whether there might be another life that is not “under the sun,” a reality that gives meaning to that which escapes our full understanding.
To say “I spend my time on this earth doing my bit that is all I can do.“ tells me he got it.