Richard Clark died, a poor man alone under a bridge.
Mother Teresa one time said, “you can always tell the poor, they’re the ones with no shoes offering you a gift.” Richard was such a man, he was generous, kind and always offering others gifts.
I grew up in Ottawa as a child living in poverty. Over my lifetime I have come to understand poverty not only as being hungry, homeless and naked; rather poverty is a feeling of loss of self, of not being good enough, unwanted, unloved and not cared for. This is poverty at its heart; it destroys the dreams, hopes and potential of so many in our community of Sooke.
Richard Clark was found dead under the bridge so many of us drive over twice a day. He was a long-time community member who would often visit the fine staff and others at the Crisis Centre and eating meals with the community at Holy Trinity Anglican Church.
He was a bright, articulate and somewhat controversial character. He had within him a sense of First Nations spirituality and understood that he was one with Mother Earth. His strength came from the bear, his wisdom from the wolf and his insight from the very eagles he loved.
He was poor, at least over the 10 years I knew him. The last years of his life were lived in our very affluent community of Sooke, where the average homes are now selling at over $500,000. Richard represents many in our community of Sooke who are struggling to feed their families, pay their rent or mortgage, continue running a car and to supply their children with the gifts other children have so readily available to them.
I cry out in holy rage that comes from God so Richard’s death will not be in vane, that it will call our bedroom community to wakeup and remember the poor among us when we vote and as we do our planning of Sooke. Let his death be a constant reminder that this caring community of Sooke is all of us together; the rich, the middle class and the poor. Every decision we make about our future should be made for the well being of us all.
You are all invited to attend a funeral service for Richard on March 10, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity Anglican Church. The liturgy will all be First Nations, respecting the man who Richard was.
Rev. Allen Tysick
A long time
resident of Sooke
Executive Director of Our Place