In trying to put the column together this month, all I could think of was Charlie’s ability to exhibit his Spirituality on a daily basis, often without knowing it. Many of his attributes were well-identified and shared in the last issue of Access Press.
It is obvious to us, here in our office, that Charlie was a person who was able to know his “inner self,” sometimes called the “soul.” One’s soul is the moral and/or the emotional makeup of a person, the spiritual or emotional warmth they bring to the world. Charlie shared his spirituality, his passion for right, his respect for others, and had an ability to convey patience and calmness while pushing for justice and inclusion.
Whether he knew it or not, Charlie was able to share his inner self (his spirituality) with others in a way that did not create anxiety about his spirituality being seen as “religious” stuff. Charlie took on challenges to search out facts and comments about needs, issues, systems, service delivery gaps and the overall societal myopia in the way individuals their plights and life concerns were viewed and ultimately accepted or respected by others in the community.
Charlie took risks in publishing ACCESS PRESS by including ideas and viewpoints that were not his own. (For example, by providing space for columns like this Spirituality column.) He listened to his readers and had the vision to hear what they were saying about what they wanted
his publication to be. Charlie would have been the first to correct me and say that the publication was not his alone, but rather, it belonged to all of the contributors of articles, to all of the readers, and to all of the supporters, from advertisers, to monetary donors, to donors of time.
Charlie would have said that he had an idea, and that the idea was not to share his spirituality, but rather to create a voice for those unheard, for those disenfranchised, for those left behind in a racing, self-focused world. Charlie enjoyed his abilities and I am sure his success at bringing his
idea as far as it had come. He enjoyed the hunt for information, the challenges of fairness in representation of comments. He enjoyed the fights that were a part of the territory of change.
I will remember all the comments others shared about Charlie Smith. I will remember his gentle prodding to get this column in; his respectful prodding to make it more diverse but keep it focused on spirituality. Keep it applicable to the daily lives of those we all serve.
Charlie, thank you for the forum, for the spirituality you conveyed through who you were as a person, as a leader, a friend, family member, mentor to many, and as a very fine human being. Your Spirituality will live on as an example of what we can all strive to become, a person who respects and cares for others.