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Beyond Three-Dimensional Space
by Parker Palmer
I had the good fortune to meet Bob via my friend and colleague Rick Jackson. I was with Bob only once, a few years before his death. The meeting was in my home and went on for several very memorable hours.
What I recall so vividly from our time together is Bob's deep listening and deep questioning, both of which clearly flowed from a profoundly inquiring mind and heart. And when he spoke -- which he was not at all shy about doing! -- he spoke about things worth caring about with deep enthusiasm, immense energy and a remarkable command of many kinds of knowledge.
As his friends and colleagues have long known, Bob never colored within the lines. “Thinking outside the box” is far too tame a phrase to describe Bob's intellectual work! He thought in a cosmos where boxes do not exist -- after all, boxes belong only to those of us who work in three-dimensional space!
I will not claim that I was able to follow Bob everywhere he went in that cosmos. But as we sat together, I remember thinking from time to time, “Damned if I know where we are, but the landscape around here sure is fascinating!”
Over the years, I have spent a few hours talking with many people whom I never saw again. Few of them do I remember well. Bob Terry is among a handful of exceptions to that rule.
He made a lasting impression on me for many reasons. If I had to sum them up, I think I would borrow the words of an 18th Century theologian from the Russian Orthodox tradition, words I have long treasured: Bob thought “with his mind descended into his heart.”
May Bob Terry rest in peace. Long may his contributions to our world live on. And may more and more of us learn to think the way he did.
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