Brian Hawkins leads time for reflection

June 7, 2017

On 6th June HSS registered celebrant Brian Hawkins gave a very thought provoking time for reflection about what we do in times of tragedy. You can watch the video of Brian at the Scottish Parliament on their website or at the bottom of this page.

HSS Celebrant Brian Hawkins

Mr Presiding Officer, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for inviting me today. I am sure the attack in London has left us all angry, devastated and perhaps confused as to our personal response to the tragedy. What should we do? The death of any human being even a stranger affects us all but perhaps it is response to the death of whom we loved that can inspire and inform us.

I lost my mother-in-law and my mother last year. My wife and I had to clear two houses. There in the attic I found the old stereo system. A stereo system from the times when speakers were pieces of furniture, amplifiers got hot and the turntable worked with the mechanical precision of a renaissance astrolabe.

Of course I had to take it home and restore it, make it work again. And then I had a dilemma. I have my entire music library contained in this small machine so what part of my music library should I choose to store on an archaic vinyl format? The first record I purchased was in memory of my hero and contemporary, David Bowie, his last album, Black Star.

It is a work of a genius but it is also the work of a person who knew they were dying. It is on the one hand melancholic and on the other uplifting and inspiring because it has an intimacy that speaks to you on a personal level. For those of us that live without a god or the afterlife, we pass this way only once and each day we have a choice, to be a critic or to grasp our own Black Star opportunity to inspire or encourage another human being.

I know I am preaching to the converted as it were. You all entered public life to serve the people of your community and country. But have you encouraged one person to be better today, to move on, to follow their own path, to stand up for himself or herself? When facing a tragedy or in the heat of the election battle, it is sometimes difficult to recall our humanity and focus on that one person and how we can support or help them.

As that great Humanist and author Terry Pratchet said, “It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it’s called Life.”

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