THIS WEEK at OurValues.org, we’re exploring an important and universal experience in our lives: Grief.
Why now? Because millions of people, right now, are facing grief in fresh ways. Tuesday, we’ll look at grief over the Middle East. Wednesday, grief over job losses. And so on …
There is another reason that readers of OurValues.org share a sadness this week: Our website is not quite a year old, but we’ve just experienced the death of guest author and regular commenter, Dr. Allan Schnaiberg (photo at right). Today, I want to share some personal thoughts about this loss.
I was one of Allan’s early graduate students at Northwestern University. Allan was my advisor and my mentor. As the years passed and our age difference become unimportant, he became my friend.
Allan was a mentor in the fullest sense of the word – kind, open, developmental, gently tough, caring and loving. The relationship was never about him – it was always about you. He invested in the emotional work of a true mentor, forming deep and lifelong connections with his students. He was always there – whenever you needed him, for whatever reason, at any time or stage in your life.
I am blessed to have had him as my mentor and friend. He is one of the most positive influences in my life.
Today, I am at the university chapel in Evanston, joining Allan’s family, students, and colleagues in a memorial to him. Many are former students – at last count, Allan had chaired or served on over 100 Ph.D. dissertation committees. He made many scholarly contributions (he is the founding father of environmental sociology) but what we will remember above all is Allan’s love for us and our love for him.
The day Allan died, I was reading “A View of the Ocean” by Jan de Hartog. The book is a tribute to the author’s parents. He ends the book by quoting from one of his mother’s books, the journals of George Fox:
I saw that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love flowed over the ocean of darkness.
A consciousness of that infinite ocean of light and love is Allan’s legacy to us all.
Please, share a thought? Click on the Comment link at right.