Jack Layton Eulogy – Reverend Brent Hawkes

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Jack Layton Eulogy – Reverend Brent Hawkes

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[Jack Layton Eulogy – Reverend Brent Hawkes]

[John Gilbert “Jack” Layton, (July 18, 1950 – August 22, 2011)]

[Brent Hawkes – Canadian Clergyman] Source: LYBIO.net
“Normally, it’s Christmas Eve, and the Metropolitan Community Church occupies this space. Normally, I look up there in the balcony and Jack and Olivia are sitting there. Normally, I greet them outside in the hall with their Santa Claus hats on.

[Brent Hawkes] Source: LYBIO.net
People have said to me, ‘How do you prepare for this talk or speech.’ They say, ‘It’s probably the most crucial (speech) you’ve ever given. And I say, ‘Probably the most crucial, probably the most nervous I’ve been was my first meeting with my future mother-in-law and father-in-law.’ I know that I speak for everyone participating today that we are all so honoured to be asked. We are all so honoured to participate today, because we all want to give Jack justice.

[Brent Hawkes]
Early in July, Jack and Olivia invited me to their home. To talk. The conversation began the way it almost began with Jack. ‘Friend, how’s John doing?’ John is my husband. And then, Jack said that … he wanted to talk to me about his funeral, and that he still intended to beat this. He still wanted to come back but he needed to cover every option, to make sure all of the plans were in place no matter what the result was. We talked about making the plans and filing the file and putting it in the filing cabinet – and hopefully pulling it out years later. And so we began a number of conversations about this service and about life and death and dying. And so today I begin to talk to you about life and death.

[Brent Hawkes]
Life is amazing. Every morning when you wake up a new day, a new beginning, every breath that you take, an opportunity to love and to be loved, an opportunity to go deeper spiritually. It’s not about which spiritual path you choose, it’s about choosing a spiritual path and going deeper and respecting people on various paths. It’s about learning and growing becoming better people. And, ultimately, it’s about making the world a better place for those who will come after us. Yes, in life, there will be disappointments. Cancer, yes, in life, we will have the death of those close to us. And it’s about how we face those situations, those disappointments and how we get back up and where we go from here.

[Brent Hawkes]
Life is a wonderful gift given to each one of us by God. You are intentionally placed here for a reason. Be grateful for the gift of life and every single moment you have and make the most of it. Jack and I talked about his life and he said that he was very, very grateful. Very blessed to have lived so long, very blessed to have met and worked with some wonderful people. Inspired by many of you, particularly young people, and he was in awe at the trust given to him of late, especially the trust from the people of Quebec in him and what we can be together. (applause) He talked – he talked about his love for his family, and for you Olivia. He talked to me about his love for you, his respect for you, for your wisdom, for your strength, for the rock you have been and for the partnership you have together. (applause) And while Jack was very grateful about his life, he was sad that he did not have more time. More time to continue and inclusive a broadly inclusive a movement towards a better Canada. Jack was a spiritual person. He didn’t wear it on his sleeve, but in one of our many conversations, he said to me, ‘Brent, I believe how I live my life everyday is my act of worship.’ (applause) I also.

[Brent Hawkes] Source: LYBIO.net
I also speak to you today of death. I asked Jack how churchy I could be today, and he said, ‘Go for it.’ (laughs) And while there are many questions we have about why, why now or why Jack? Some of those questions today; we have no answer. But the reality is not ‘Why?’ but ‘What now?’ Many faith traditions have wrestled with the issue of death and here is my belief that death is not an ending but a transition. That sometimes we mistakenly believe that we are physical beings on this earth occasionally having a spiritual experience, maybe in a church once in a while. (laughs) But the reality is just the opposite. Indeed, we are spiritual beings, and we enter this gift called life through birth and we leave it to continue our spiritual journey. And we don’t know exactly what that journey will look like but we trust in it. (applause)

[Brent Hawkes]
Jack and I talked about his attitude toward death and he said he was not afraid. That he was not sure what it would be like but he sensed that somehow we would connect again with those who’d gone on before us. … He talked about seeing his dad again, and said I’ll be standing by my dad and looking up here and hearing that booming voice.

[Brent Hawkes]
In one of those meetings, Jack shed a tear and he told me something and I asked him at the end of it if he wanted me to share it today. He said, ‘I have had a great and blessed life but it has been far from perfection. I have made some mistakes.’ He said, ‘I am sorry that I don’t have more time to make amends to some individuals. And if there was anything I said or did that hurt someone,’ he said, ‘I’m sorry.’ I believe this reminds us to be quick to say I’m sorry, to make amends, to take the first step, to be quick to forgive each other.

[Brent Hawkes]
And now to the main thing that Jack asked me to share – my sermon start now. Jack didn’t have the time to spell out the details of this part of the sermon but he gave me some clear things that he wanted me to address. In the details, I tried to capture the essence of his points. Jack didn’t want this celebration of life to primarily focus on him. He wanted to somehow talk about the issues and the themes and on an inclusive rubric, gathering all of us, all of us together.

[Brent Hawkes] Source: LYBIO.net
Jack believed that Canada was a great country and yet he was very clear there’s a lot of work that is yet to be done. And that, yes, there are people coming from different places with different beliefs and different approaches. And yet, we can be one inclusive rubric for a better Canada. And he wanted this service to inspire us and to challenge us. Each of us as individuals – and this was very important to Jack – not just as individuals but working together in partnership. Bringing people together – young people together, diverse voices, different perspectives and opposing beliefs. Remembering that the best decisions are made unison. And the best actions are taken together. It’s not so much the organization you choose. Too often we make the organization and get caught up in it. We know that Jack loved coalitions, we know that he loved his NDP family. We know that he loved serving the city and in Parliament. But Jack was clear that there were two things that were very much more important.

[Brent Hawkes]
The first was the goal to make life better and not to leave anyone behind. What changes need to be done, what actions need to be taken, was the goal of making Canada a better country. That was important. The goal to inspire us and hold us together. Whether the goals were big goals, like ending homelessness or the rights of transgendered people or getting HIV/AIDS medication to poor countries … Or whether they were little goals like helping your neighbor or picking up litter or turning off a light. Yes, making life better for others.

[Brent Hawkes]
And the second thing that was crucially important is how we are with each other as we do the work. What are the values that will guide us? Caring for each other, forgiving each other, listening to each other, really hearing, taking the extra time to hear. To really hear the hopes and dreams, respecting each other, staying optimistic even when the disappointments come, optimistic even when the defeats come and optimistic even when disease visits the first time or the second time. … It is leaving every situation better because you were there and every person there because they met you. It’s about how we care for each other. Whether our hometown is Hudson, Ont. or Hudson, Que. We’re across this country and across the aisles in Parliament.

[Brent Hawkes]
Over the past few days something has been happening. Young people have said in Canada that they don’t want this feel-good moment to be a fleeting moment. If the Olympics can make us prouder Canadians, maybe Jack’s life can make us better Canadians. (Standing ovation.)

[Brent Hawkes] Source: LYBIO.net
I happen to be in the business who believes in miracles. We can do this. We can do this together. We can be a better people. We’ve seen how to try. (applause)

[Brent Hawkes]
When all of the talking is done, when all of the tributes are done, when the chalk is washed away on the concrete at City Hall, when our crying finally stops, the legacy of Jack Layton will not be in how much power you have, it will be in how all of us exercise our personal power for a better world. (applause) It will be in our actions and how we take those actions together. Yes, bring your passion, but also bring your compassion. Yes, bring your agendas for what you want to accomplish, but also bring a commitment on how we can accomplish that together. Yes, bring your seriousness about serious issues but also have fun – sing together and pick up a harmonica once in a while. And it’s about remembering, about remembering to say, ‘Hi Brent. How’s John doing?’

Hi, (inaudible), Prime Minister. How’s Laureen doing?’ (applause)

[Brent Hawkes]
It’s about saying, ‘Hi Olivia. How’s Beatrice doing?’ It’s about remembering each other and our loves and our lives together. Over the next few years, we won’t not be able to say, ‘Hi Jack. How’s Olivia doing?’ But you can say, ‘Hi Jack. How are we doing?’ (applause)

[Brent Hawkes] Source: LYBIO.net
I met with Jack on the Friday and the Sunday before his passing. And Olivia left us together for a while. And we talked and prayed together as we have done before. And I said to Jack, ‘Jack it seems like it’s getting closer.’ And I said, ‘Jack, I want to say to you now something that I know you will hear shortly. ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ (applause) And may we, and may we rise to the occasion, because the torch is now passed. The job of making the world a better place is up to us. (applause)

Jack Layton Eulogy – Reverend Brent Hawkes. It’s about making the world a better place for those who will come after us. Yes, in life, there will be disappointments. Cancer, yes, in life, we will have the death of those close to us. And it’s about how we face those situations, those disappointments and how we get back up and where we go from here. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.

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