By Lois Huey-Heck –
It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Don Grayston (August 31, 1939 – October 23, 2017).
Don was an astounding human being.
He had a deep love for humanity which showed itself through the interest he took in every single person he met. His long-time friend and fellow priest, Doug Hodgkinson, told a great tale of his UK travels with Don. Laughing, Doug related that Don had an “I-Thou” relationship with every bus driver, server and shopkeeper they encountered — and so then did Doug! It’s Don through and through…
I remember watching Don attend to individuals within Pacific Jubilee circles. I’d noticed how he had a way of engaging with people who were struggling. He explained that it only takes a moment for someone to feel either included or excluded. On noticing that somebody was withdrawing, his practice was to spend time with them as soon as possible. You’ll remember how he was… always genuinely interested, an asker of relevant and evocative questions, an amazing listener. His attentiveness helped people remember their place of belonging and this was very important to Don.
Can we imagine the ripples of transformation that extend out from Don’s presence and work in the world?
Visualizing the ripples from Don’s “pebbles in the pond” in Jubilee alone, it’s staggering how many lives his life touched. He co-founded Pacific Jubilee and co-created a Jubilee network across the country. Jubilee alum number in the hundreds — all of us nurtured spiritually and empowered to live our charism of accompaniment. Then multiply our number by all the lives each of us have touched in formal spiritual direction settings and the countless everyday encounters… its a glorious image.
Don’s substantive work in Pacific Jubilee is, however, just one of the ways he responded generously to life. He was also a tireless worker for justice, an inspiring scholar and teacher, a beloved mentor, an enthusiastic supporter of all people and their work in the world, a disciple himself of The Great Work, a prolific author and a devoted Merton scholar— to name just a few of his legacies.
Don was a priest through and through — a sacerdos — a giver of the sacred. He embodied what he believed. He lived his vows. He was love incarnate. He loved us into fuller and more authentic versions of ourselves.
Even amidst the grief which weighs heavily, our profound gratitude for Don rises up in a surprising lightness of being which is so much “of” Don.
We are better, the world is better. Don’s enthusiasm and brilliance, his commitment to justice and peace, and the unconditional love he shared recklessly are living in us and breathing through us — and countless others still. Shine on…
Lois Huey-Heck is one of the Pacific Jubilee Program Mentors. She writes this tribute to Don Grayston on behalf of all current and past program staff and alum.
To read Don’s obituary click here.