I learned sad news last week while traveling. David Raithby, a fellow Faculty member at The Haven, had passed away suddenly.
I admit I was stunned by the news. David and I go way back. Yes, we have had our differences, our conflicts. But David was one of kind and someone who truly believed in the Haven.
He was a remarkable man and great facilitator who cared deeply about people and healthy relating. Even in our differences I respected his words, his heart and commitment to life, living and being human.
I so appreciated the piece he had written days before his death which was shared with the Haven community by his family. The piece spoke to what seemed like the freedom he had found in life and the fullness of a life well lived.
Now home for a spell. I find myself wondering. Why? Why are so many gone. Why don’t I feel sad in their passing. I do feel deeply for his family and their loss. But sometimes when a life seems so well lived, shared, and connected to all around, I don’t cry or feel despair.
While other deaths and tragedy’s leave me in deep despair.
I don’t know any of the children in Gaza that have died. But I have cried as I read stories of children screaming in pain in the bombed hospital.
I don’t know any of the Israeli families holding out to see the return of the hostages or who are sending their own family members into war. But I felt deep sorrow for the fear they carry for always living with a belief that they are targets of hate.
I don’t directly know anyone who has lost their home or family through the war there or in the Ukraine. Yet, those stories fill my heart with pain and deep sorrow. The loss of life so tragic and the situation so irreconcilable.
I do believe there is beauty in conflict. Even in what can seem like irreconcilable conflicts.
However, when the divide has become religious or political, the humanity seems to get lost and there are only sides, enemies, and righteousness.
People lives become numbers.
No time to bury the bodies.
To be together and honor a life too short or one well lived.
The pain just stays, and the conflict and divide grow deeper.
There becomes only agony and pain. Hate
This is why I don’t care much for religion or politics.
The right or wrong of the many paths all seeming to come from the same point of origin.
So many wars have been fought.
So many lives lost.
I know many will say for freedom.
But I can’t help but go to the words of Nelson Mandala:
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Not sure we’ll ever get there through religious or political beliefs.
Though I imagine based on David’s words – he got there.