Looking at Life with New Carefulness
ON FEBRUARY 10, THE CONGREGATION OF FELLOWSHIP PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, IN HUNTSVILLE, AL, honored John Herndon ’85 with a celebration of his full recovery from the near-fatal brain aneurysm he suffered last summer. Their pastor for 22 years, Herndon had to learn to walk and talk again over a period of several months.
Herndon is also a psychophysiologist who had a 20-year career with NASA. His job was to help evaluate prospective astronauts’ physical and mental fitness for space flight. “He was looking at the interplay of influence between mind and body in demanding circumstances,” writes Kay Campbell, Faith and Values editor of The Huntsville Times. Her article on John Herndon, “From NASA to the Pulpit,” was published in the paper’s February 1 edition.
In Campbell’s interview with John Herndon, he noted that “the astronauts who were also believers seemed to have an anchor in optimism that also helped them in their work.” Campbell wrote that “Herndon said his own brush with death has taught him to look at life with a new carefulness and with a sense of how close to death we all are—a parallel to how astronauts treat each space mission.
When you know you’re in danger, you’ll make certain everything is done right,” Herndon said. “Tragedy is always a part of life. I’ve learned to look at life with a sense of urgency, and with a sense of urgency about sharing the good news of the gospel with people.”
We are grateful to Kay Campbell and to Michael Mercier, chief photographer of The Huntsville Times, for allowing us to reprint portions of the article and to use the image of John Herndon.