He Carried a Vision of Love Alive in the World

chris head shotSomeone incredibly dear to my heart and soul
left his body on Wednesday.

A spirit buddy. A soul friend.
A guide. A mentor.
A lover of life.

One who sought to “open eyes and entice hearts out of their prison into accepting a simpler, more loving way… I want to hold their hands and say, “don’t worry, we really can be fully ourselves, love makes its own way. Let’s laugh and enjoy one another and be caring, and vulnerable, and alive, and free.” ~ Chris Weaver

Chris held space and invited us into magical places, inside ourselves and out in the world. He modeled ways to live a more loving, compassionate and interconnected world. He was devoted to helping children be as fully alive and whole and connected to loving community as possible. He focused his attention on the places where children gathered. Including his sons.

Chris was a teacher. a father. a husband.
And so much more.

He was a wordsmith…
a poet
a writer
a storyteller
a metaphor maker

He could paint words that evoked worlds.
Co-creating cultures that felt like family.
He was a wisdom weaver with the elements.
It’s been said, that Chris was magic.

He carried a vision of love alive in the world.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I haven’t had a real conversation with Chris in about 13 years.
I don’t know where he was in his life journey.
But I do know that he experienced life deeply.
He was a feeler. He was awake to the joy and the suffering of living.

And when I knew him, he had old, old patterns. Patterns that could pull him into dark and isolating places. Sometimes those places were called depression. He was committed to learning to navigate those patterns.

“sometimes i feel like my dramas are like boats. they go somewhere. if i forget that the ocean is love, & is me, then i’ll stay on the boat (down in the hold, banging my head against the wall). but when i remember that it’s just a boat, then, well…maybe instead of dissolving it back into a wave of undifferentiated love (always a fun option), right now maybe i’ll just stay on the dramaboat & use it, follow it a bit further, find out what it is teaching me, let it shine & surprise somebody…

… and i sure remember my own version of the panic of feeling myself circling back into the prison-boat of my own depression (clang)” ~ Chris Weaver | 10.13.04

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

shofar-temple-mount-rosh-hashana-tallit-prayer-jerusalemYesterday was Rosh Hashanah.
I have not celebrated this religious holiday in many years. I felt called to go to services. The Rabbi spoke of the symbolism of blowing the shofar (a ram’s horn). Its sound is raw and piercing. It sounds pained, like crying. It is also a triumphant sound of joy and celebration.

She told us that it’s meant to remind us to pay attention and be alert to the raw truths happening around us.
To listen to people when they tell their own stories.
To hear the cries of those who are suffering.
To hear the mothers wailing for their lost children, even if their children are your enemy.

In her sermon, she connected this to the need for us to hear the declarations that Black Lives Matter and the accounts of how Palestinian people are suffering. We must listen to their stories in their own words. We must allow ourselves to hear and feel their cries.

After services I went to the river for a ritual (another tradition on this holiday). When I returned home, I learned that Chris had passed. I hear in his death that he was suffering. I feel shock rippling through his community. I return to the stories of the shofar.

Chris gifted us with so many different ways to experience life, love and beauty.
And it feels like perhaps he kept people protected from seeing the depths of pain and suffering that he also felt.

Some of the most amazing and magical people on this planet, who love so deeply and see fiercely how to make this world a more loving and just place, these are also people that are suffering deeply on the inside.

In my grief, I am also praying with all my heart, that we who are living,
…that we will get better at hearing the raw cries of those that are hurting,
…that we will see other options than to isolate ourselves when we are hurting,
…that we will shake up the patterns that have so many people unaware of how difficult life is for others,
…that we will give more loving attention to the realities of living with mental and emotional challenges,
…that we will grow in our abilities, as communities, to love and care for one another.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To my dear friend, as you transition to greater freedom…

Thank you for the beautiful gifts of living, loving and experiencing life that you have shared with so many of us. Our hearts and lives are forever changed for the better. May the love you cultivated be of profound support in helping those who loved you dearly find solace and peace as we adjust to you no longer being in physical form. May we always feel your presence. Rest peacefully. Fly free, dear one.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A few windows into his life:

4 Responses to “He Carried a Vision of Love Alive in the World”

  1. christy September 23, 2017 at 12:12 am #

    oh dearest ashley. these holy words of yours blaze with so much love, reach so far deep down and so far into the vast mystery. thank you for introducing me to chris, your spirit buddy, who gifted me too as he did so many, with his warm attention (placed his heart with me), and evoked beauty and wisdom i hadn’t ever even guessed at before. all my love to you, dear heart.

    • ashley September 23, 2017 at 12:55 am #

      What awe and gracious power to be able to touch people in that way. I love you, dear.

  2. John Engle September 23, 2017 at 7:33 am #

    Thank you for writing this beautiful reflection, Ashley. I so appreciate the five things that your grief has led you to pray for with all your heart. I join with you in this prayer. My heart breaks. I just cannot begin to imagine the grief of those he was closest to. When i see the things he’s been working on since i fell out of touch with him, i so regret that i didn’t stay in touch. The tears are not ready to stop. I lost my father several months ago and miss him so dearly. But I’m 54. I had so many years with him. Chris’ sons Aidan and Noah, whom I have never met…I just can’t imagine their grief, especially knowing how their precious Dad must have suffered leading up to his decision. I’m reminded of what Haitians say when death happens: It’s a part of life but something we can never become accustomed to. Thank you again Ashley for sharing these reflections. Warmest regards to you as you grieve.

    • ashley September 23, 2017 at 11:52 am #

      It’s sweet to feel you here in this circle of mourning and grief. I know that when Chris and I were close he really respected and appreciated you as well. I pray and imagine that he filled his boys up with all of the goodness and love and eternal connection that he had, preparing them for if this day should ever come. I can’t imagine what the journey will be like for them. I wish for love and peace and for them to always feel his presence. Warmest regards to you as well.

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