A year ago tomorrow, Jack Layton died. I wrote this then.
At his funeral, the Reverend Brent Hawkes spoke of Jack’s faith, saying that Jack told him, “Brent, I believe how I live my life everyday is my act of worship.”
These words struck me to the core. I dabbled with organized religion in my teenaged years but am pretty convinced that faith is an individual experience of worship not of some external force, but as a relationship with the self, an actualization of what it means to be a part of the human race in some kind of meaningful way.
Let’s remember these words, and remember Jack, tomorrow and always.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.
Why see the world as full of hate or anger, or even bad intentions? Why choose fear of others, even if they are different? Why result to despair, when, even in the darkest times, joy is possible?
If I ever forget this, if I ever, in all my bitching about public transit and whining about life as a cyclist and griping about injuries and recovery, forget to remember this, I’ll be breaking a promise to myself and to a legacy I want to remember.
Let’s not forget.
Hearing the news about Jack Layton’s death, a flood of emotion comes over me sitting here at my computer, intending to do some work. I know this isn’t about me, but I can’t help thinking about my own recent devastating loss to cancer. The emotions are so raw and fresh still that hearing of the death of this great man, who first beat prostate cancer and now lost a battle to a new and different cancer, it was all too close to home. I haven’t taken the time I need to reflect on my greif over Dad, but I have done my best to celebrate his legacy, and live my life in a way I feel would honour that - athletically, musically, joyfully. I stumbled across this picture from my wedding, at the end of the night, when we all stood in a circle singing “Hey Jude”.
To me this captures what we need to do, today and always: Take a sad song and make it better.
Rest in Peace, Jack.