Friday, June 15, 2018
Earlier this week we received sad news of the death of the writer, Stephen Reid. (If interested, there's an interview with him on As It Happens -- the whole program is here; go towards the end of it for the interview.)
It's made me sad that too much of the coverage has seemed to focus on his crimes -- not, as far as I'm concerned, what he should be remembered for.
Maybe I'm just soft-hearted from having spent time as a volunteer in various penal institutions. But really, those experiences have only reminded me that everyone makes mistakes (admittedly, some are much bigger than others) and for many of us -- myself included -- being incarcerated may well be a matter of the old "there but for the grace of God" theory.
Stephen was a husband, a grandfather, a mentor to many (both in and out of prisons) and a wonderful writer. I was lucky enough to review his book of essays, A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden in the Vancouver Sun.
Even luckier is the fact that I own one of the beautiful drums Stephen made. Every time I see it, it now holds a new significance, a touchstone to a beautiful soul.
As his wife Susan has noted, a group of orcas passed by the nearby beach shortly before Stephen died. Among beliefs about them is that they guide the traveller home. Expanding on the thought of what 'home' means, their visit is also believed to signify a coming death. This indeed proved to be true.
I like to think of them as seven orcas coming to escort the soul of a brave warrior spirit home. Someone who, like the rest of us, was in his own way, flawed.