You can live life big…or you can live it small.
You can grab the wolf by the ears…or you can hide.
Those who boldly seize hold of the gift that is their life
And fill their story with courage, colour and adventure
Teach the timid and timorous among us some important lessons…
And with his humble yet strong passion for life, for love, for being,
Stan Hall offered an inspiring example of an individual
Willing to challenge the received wisdom
Brave to embrace controversy and take risks.
Long before people thought of pushing the envelope or thinking outside the box
Stan was doing just that…
Pushing boundaries, inviting those with courage enough
To think things through with him
Consider the possibilities that the impossible might just be possible
And that we can do it…we can find it…
If we are brave and honest and hungry only for the truth.
Those who speak of him with warmth, affection and respect salute his passion for the truth, his willingness to go into the darkness of the unknown if that was where truth summoned him to go…and if his adventure generated debate, and met with controversy, he was content to deal with that…make his case…lay down his evidence…and allow the weight of truth to be the arbiter…
His love for South America – its astonishing history, its rich culture, its complex people is well recorded and was one of the enrichments of his life and experience, not least because it brought into his story the love that was to be such a boon and a blessing…and to generate the home and family that were so precious to him.
All he wanted for his children…all four of whom were engraved on his heart - was that they should not stumble into the mistake of thinking that the shallow measures of a materialistic and often unthinking world would ever suffice to bring them happiness.
Only in the quest, the adventure and the challenge of the big issues, the deeper things, would satisfaction be found…and in this he was an intensely spiritual man, humble before truths and values far greater than himself and he did due honour to those truths and values, instilling respect for others, responsibility towards the world, generosity to others…in the children who were so close to his heart.
He wanted to be sure they would go up no cul de sacs – but would through their minds wide open to the richness of free thinking and liberty – always discontent with the trivial and the short term.
This could be an exhausting challenge…but he had embraced it himself and knew it brought true character and real inner wealth of spirit.
And it was those values and that ideal of love that underpinned his great love for Janeth – and the home they built together…a place of mutual respect and true loving.
It was important to him that he cashed out his idealism in the way he conducted himself towards others and towards his research.
His personal integrity was at the core of who he was…and he would not compromise that…not for easy answers – not for a more comfortable passage through life.
The people who knew him best found his loyalty truly heart-warming and they gave that back in return…and this meant that however rocky the intellectual road – however heated the debate, there would always be friendships to draw on that ran deep and were much more than shared enthusiasms and interests….they were about people who liked him, warmed to his easy compassion and open mind…and were pleased and proud to call him their friend.
Time will show the depth and significance of his researches and the enduring nature of his discoveries, questions and philosophy.
Time will also demonstrate the influence he had on those closest to him… children and wife… colleagues and fellow pilgrims.
He could be wonderfully romantic… and indeed, he was a kind of romantic figure… challenging existing assumptions, asking the difficult question, refusing to buckle when the road was hard…
He has his legacy… and it is found in hearts touched by love…
Minds faced with challenge… mysteries with just another layer removed… but still calling those with a spirit of inquiry in their hearts to come into the dark cave… and look… take some more tentative steps into the unknown… and see what truth lies beyond…
The words friends have chosen to describe him tell their own story… "remarkable" "special" "humble" "one I will never forget"
We all will have our own words…
In the quietness now…let’s recall our reasons for thanksgiving and love now…
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
Lord, you have examined me and you know me
You know everything I do.
From far away you understand all my thoughts.
You see me, whether I am working or resting;
You know all my actions.
Even before I speak
You already know what I will say.
You are all round me on every side
You protect me with your power.
Your knowledge of me is too deep;
It is beyond my understanding.
Where could I go to escape from you?
Where could I get away from your presence?
If I went up to heaven, you would be there;
If I lay down in the world of the dead,
You would be there.
If I flew away beyond the east
Or lived in the farthest place in the west,
You would be there to lead me
You would be there to help me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
Or the light round me to turn into night,
But even darkness is not dark for you
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
You created every part of me
You put me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because you are to be feared
All you do is strange and wonderful
I know it with all my heart.
When my bones were being formed
Carefully put together in my mother’s womb
When I was growing there in secret
You knew that I was there
You saw me before I was born.
O God how difficult I find your thoughts;
How many of them there are.
If I counted them, they would be more than the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.
So Many Different Lengths of Time, Brian Patten
How long is a man’s life, finally?
Is it a thousand days, or only one?
One week, or a few centuries?
How long does a man’s death last?
And what do we mean when we say “ Gone”?
So how long does a man live, finally?
And how much does he live, while he lives?
We fret and ask so many questions –
Then when it comes to us
The answer is so simple.
A man lives for as long as we carry him inside us
For as long as we carry the harvest of his dreams
For as long as we ourselves live
Holding memories in common, a man lives.
His lover will carry his man’s scent, his touch:
One friend will carry his arguments
Another will hum his favourite tunes,
Another will still share his terrors.
And the days will pass with baffled faces
Then the weeks, then the months
Then there will be a day when no question is asked,
And the knots of grief will loosen in the stomach,
And the puffed faces will calm
And on that day he will not have ceased
But will have ceased to be separated by death.
How long does a man live, finally?
A man lives so many different lengths of time..
I will always remember you for the passion in which you held your life's adventure in such humble esteem. Now dear friend you have taken the greatest adventure of all ... eternal life, and I hope that you will look back and see as we do; all you have achieved and can say thank you for all you are and ever will be. We as your friends all have our own life's adventures but will look upon your own footprints you have left and hold them in loving memory to perhaps guide us to that eventual goal.
"When you are young and strong and full of hope, sit down one day and think about the world. Decide what you would like to do above all else - and then go and do it. Follow your star to the bitter end and no matter what the hazards or the perils; no matter if your star proves to be false guide and you die in the attempt. You will have lived life to the full, you will have enjoyed yourself and even if you leave no material treasure, you will leave riches in the hearts of those who have drawn strength from your strength and who will cherish your memory until their day is done."
(F. A. Mitchell-Hedges)