Donald Edward Grayston

GRAYSTON, Donald Edward
Born August 31, 1939
Died October 23, 2017
Survived by children, Megan (Rick Bohonis), Rebekah (Mark Edwin) and Jonathan, sister and brother-in-law, Helen and Douglas Williams, other relatives and friends. An Anglican priest who worked in many different ministries, a teacher of Religious Studies at Simon Fraser University, an activist in the interests of justice and peace, and a longtime student of the life and work of Thomas Merton, he was past president of the Thomas Merton Society of Canada and the International Thomas Merton Society. His memorial service, reception to follow, will take place on November 15, 2017, with a viewing at 2 p.m. and service at 2:30 p.m., at Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard Street (at Georgia) in Vancouver. In lieu of flowers, he would welcome donations to the Quest Outreach Society, P. O. Box 2156, St. Main Terminal, Vancouver, BC V6B 3V3. KORU Cremation and Burial in charge of arrangements for a Green Burial in the family plot at Mountain View Cemetery. Messages of condolence to www.korucremation.com/ obituaries.



… some already known, some yet to be known. 

Welcome to my website, and to this simple way of being in touch with each other. I set it up after my retirement from teaching at Simon Fraser University, as a way to be easily contacted. I also wanted to pull together all my interests in one place so that I myself could see the whole picture, and keep things in balance to the best of my ability.

Looking back on my own life, I see some clearly discernible stages: child, student, ordination: first adulthood. Then came second adulthood: the householder years, teaching at SFU, working in the Jubilee Program. These were years of joy and sorrow, of seeking and finding, of the discovery and rediscovery of many new connections among faith, eros and mortality.

 Now I find myself in third adulthood, called by some retirement–a word much in need of redefinition! Certainly, at least for those in decent health, its touchstone is freedom. One paradigm of retirement speaks of active retirement, reflective retirement, and “being in care.” As of January 2017, I have moved into the final stage. I move around my apartment at the end of a 32-foot length of oxygen tubing. I have 24/7 companionship–and here I express my gratitude to those friends and family members who make this possible. I am still active in many ways, although restricted in some ways because of my need for oxygen support, and increasingly devoting myself to reflection and writing. My computer is my portal to the big world outside.

Every transition between these stages was marked by an awakening of some kind; and in this present transition I am trying to pay attention to what new and continuing awakening the universe is asking of me. In a very real sense I think of myself as a pilgrim, ready to continue my journey, and to learn as I go. 

A couple of years ago I wrote a little song which expresses my feeling about this.

I am here

In the heart of God.

I walk the path

The saints have trod.

As I step forth,

Mercy takes my hand,

And leads me to

The Promised Land.

In the other pages of this website you can read about some of my interests and activities. Something that links them all is my conviction that we need to seek a better balance between individuality and community, and that the activities to which we give our time and energy must contribute to that.

This is especially important in this time of The Great Turning, a phrase which comes from eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, and refers to the massive changes, still unrecognized by most, which are now taking place in our societies and on our planet. Following this paragraph, you will find an article by Richard Rohr exploring the meaning of Macy’s phrase.

RR on the Great Turning

And here’s another take on what I think we need to be doing, from  Victoria writer Donaleen Saul.

[What we need to do is] the hard inner work of thinking and feeling for ourselves, releasing what no longer serves us, discovering what can never be destroyed, and allowing the Eternal—I would also call it Love—to shape our lives.

This is a deep and beautiful statement, and I take it as a watchword for myself in this challenging time of “turning away from” and “turning towards”—the Great Turning, in other words.

And here’s another watchword, this one from the non-biblical Gospel of Thomas, Saying 5:

“Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed; for there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.”

The challenge there is to know—not just observe, think about or glance at, but know—what is in front of our faces, and then to act from what we know, trusting the promise in the saying that what was at one time hidden from us will by our knowing and acting be revealed to us and to others.

Whether or not we are ever in contact, I wish you well. My hope for any reader of this website, above all, is that you are in possession of your own soul and that you are moving forward on your own pilgrimage, your own journey of heart and spirit.

Questions and comments: donald_grayston@sfu.ca

PHOTO CREDIT: Jennifer Echols

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