I was just watching an interview on CNN with Rev. Dr Art Cribbs - a wonderful pastor from San Marino United Church of Christ in California.
He was voicing his opposition to the banning of gay marriage in his state.
His rationale was voiced so eloquently and succinctly in his impassioned speech when he said "God is love"...and that the bill was an attack on love...
This hit a chord and got me a little choked up as on this day - June the 4th every year I take a bit of time out of my work day to reflect on the meaning of life and love.
My Mum - Janet Harvey was born on this day in 1954 and passed away nearly 11 years ago.
Rev. Cribbs extolling the universality of love reminded me of the way my Mum practiced her faith. You see my Mum was a Christian in the truest and best sense of the world.
Her god was one of love and of truth. Not about derision and divisiveness. Her love for her God was based in the knowledge that God, Truth and Love are all inseperable. They are facets of the same great universal bond that holds us all together.
She saw that fundamentally, at the heart of religion and ALL the faiths of the world was man's attempt to reconcile what he can see around him with the intuition that there is more than that. And she saw that goodness, truth, virtue, honesty and most importantly LOVE were the things that defined people. Not what faith they chose.
Now don't get me wrong - my Mum was devout in her Christian faith, and in her belief that Jesus Christ was her lord and saviour but she could not, and would not, deride anyone else for their own faith when she could see that at it's base they were all striving towards the same goals of truth, love and oneness.
My Mum, even though a strict Christian introduced me to Hinduism and to Buddhism and was happy for me to research and investigate these as a child, teenager and young man, and make my own mind up as to whether I would take up a religion or faith.
At the time, and through my years in a Christian school, I rebelled against what I saw as the tyrannical, bigoted christian orthodoxy even though I could see, day to day in the eyes of my Ma and feel in the warmth of her daily hugs that the wrongdoings of people in ANY faith are the result of their own human failings of greed, narcisism and materialism and not the faith itself.
I guess as youngsters we are prone to being firebrands, and in the cocoon of the protection that childhood affords we can afford to be so.
Pragmatism is a virtue we gain with the wisdom of age.
The cocoon of childhood was shattered for me on the day that my Mum passed away in my arms in Dec 1998. I struggled for years with guilt, remorse and loneliness. I think that a Mother is synonymous with 'home'. And I know, and I have seen in others who have been through the same, that when you lose your mother, particularly at a young age, you feel as if you don't have a home anymore.
I certainly felt like I had been launched into the world and subsequently have spent at times years wandering, trying to find my own place again to call home.
I've always been a seeker. Even as a little child I wondered 'why?', 'what is the purpose of life?' 'Is there something more?' 'Why are people so unhappy?' 'How can I make the world a better place?'...
There are people who wonder about life, about the world, about why things are the way they are, and there are people amongst these who find some answers, no matter how small, and through these epiphanical moments find ways to help others.
I am blessed to have been given a grounding in the most important lessons in life by my Mum - a true spiritual warrior, and to have had her in my life for 19 years, and of course she is still in my heart and thoughts every day.
Most importantly I have become content. I have made my peace with God, whatsoever we each conceive him to be and perhaps this peace is the greatest lesson my Mum left with me...
The dedication in my first book "Choosing You!" reads: "This, my first book, is dedicated to the memory of my Mum; Janet Harvey who taught me that knowledge holds power, and that knowledge when tempered with honesty, humility and love, becomes wisdom, true and timeless..."