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Blog Posts 2023

Read Our Blog

Blog Posts 2023

The Dichotomy of Grief and Celebrating Life

Charlie standing by a tower of boxes with meals for the needy

We, at the Charter for Compassion, over the last few months, have been facing a human dilemma, a dichotomy of celebrating and grieving a life that is ending at the same time. A few weeks ago, I wrote of the murder of David Breaux, the "Compassion Guy," and now of the impending loss of a person with whom many who work with the Charter are almost in daily contact. While the latter person, Dr. Charles Barker, is still with us; he is on a journey of passing from this world to another. We are finding ourselves in a complex and multifaceted aspect of our human experience. On some days, smiling at memories of working with Charlie, and other days experiencing a stomach in knots because it's unimaginable to not receive an idea-filled email from him. Realizing that celebration and grief at the same time seems contradictory, but we are learning they can be held in the same space during the process of saying goodbye to a loved one.

Our dear friend, Charlie, has been involved with the Charter for Compassion since its beginning and has served in many capacities over the years; from Chair of our Board of Trustees, working hard to help the Charter pass a Resolution of Purpose, helping to facilitate our obligations to The Parliament of The World Religions and writing a Memo Of Understanding with URI (United Religions Initiative). He has guided the work of our Governance Committee and has coordinated, along with Dr. Debbie Ling, and now Dr. Stephanie Paulmeno and Mary Ann Boe, our Health sector. His legacy is broad and enduring from helping to bring Compassionate Dallas-Ft. Worth to its existence, packing thousands of meals for children, setting the course for a Compassion Bench project, and establishing the Compassion Peace Walk in his beloved DFW community to facilitating Compassionate Integrity Training. Charlie used to teach this ten-week course on compassion, and so much of his work was guided by and lived through the principles in the course. We often joked that Charlie would be telling us from his deathbed that we needed to keep moving forward with our commitment to compassionate education.

He often reminds us that this is our obligation to offer education on compassion from "cradle to grave." He, and our supporter Craig Cline, had many conversations to further our commitment to GoldenRuleism. Here is our commitment to doing just that—we are sharing for the first time, in this newsletter, with our Charter family, that the Board of Trustees is establishing an endowment in the name of Dr. Charles Barker, our Charlie, and our first Board Chair, Dr. Joan Brown Campbell. The Barker-Brown Endowment Fund will be used to provide scholarships for compassionate education, especially for grassroots Compassionate City teams and educators. The Board has generously contributed to the endowment and will continue to see that the endowment remains at the top of our philanthropy work.

Celebrating a life that is ending stems from a desire to honor and appreciate the positive aspects of an individual's journey. There is much to commemorate in Charlie's achievements, cherishing his deep impact on all of us who have been with him on this incredible Charter for Compassion journey and recognizing his unique qualities and contributions. We have assembled a book of stories, testimonials, and remembrances for Charlie and his family. 

We'd like to share it with you, and if you want to add to it, please do. Send your message to Charlie through our email address and put "for Charlie" in the subject line.

We who know Charlie are anticipating a profound sense of loss and are considering how to make the necessary adjustments ahead of us. Ultimately, we are reminded that the dichotomy of celebrating a life that is ending and experiencing grief at the same time reflects the depth and richness of our human connections. It is a testament to the complexity of emotions that arise when we navigate the loss of someone we love, acknowledging both the joy and sorrow that coexist within this profound experience. 

Thank you, Charlie, for allowing us to share this journey with you.

With love,