Harvey

During my fundamentals class in 1985, the teacher and her assistant spoke about Harvey and the things he said, and told stories about his life, like how he used to work at Boeing. I came to like Harvey a lot, though I didn't meet him until two years later.

I was also getting to know him through his writing. At that point I was thirty years old and had been through an extensive education, including qualifying as a physician. I had always struggled, however, with reading about big, important things, be it human behaviour, politics, or philosophy. Yet here was a beautiful, clear writing style -- funny, moving, speaking to me yet speaking to everyone, and it made sense about really big, important things.

I have to admit that I always read what Harvey wrote in Present Time first. Other people wrote excellent pieces, of course, but I always read his articles without struggling, and I would enjoy the new insights and information. I think a part of this was that Harvey sounded like he liked the reader!

In 1986 I wrote to Harvey to introduce myself. I explained that I was claiming my identity as a Serb and what this meant. His reply winged back by return post. A welcoming note. An opportunity to contact an RCer of Serb heritage. And a hopeful suggestion: "Perhaps we will have a whole big population of Serbs and eventually get started in Serbia itself." That's the direction I'm still going in. What a generous and encouraging start!

A year later I met Harvey when he came to lead a huge workshop in Leicester. He must have counselled fifty people in front of the group. I was rivetted. His lovely face, sparkling eyes, and deep voice held my attention the whole time. I remember him on the first evening walking between the tables at dinner, turning his face to everyone, and I thought: here's someone who expects a lot. He worked out the English Persons' Commitment at that workshop, and how people argued with him! Even now I can recall several of the demonstrations in some detail.

At the same workshop, when I sat down at a meal to speak to Harvey, another Co-Counsellor fell over nearby and dropped her tray of food. Harvey and I leaped up, and he called out, "Is there a doctor in the house?" It looked like he liked doctors as well as Serbs. I began to relax!

When he asked me how I was finding the workshop, I replied, "Okay, apart from feeling like I'm going to be killed." He laughed. There were two RCers from Croatia there, and I was going around scared. Harvey said, "Give me a word in Serbo-Croat." "Dobro," I answered, which means "good." "Not 'dobro'! Try 'danger'!" "Opasnost," I said. Discharge. I went off to make friends with the Croatians.

In 1992 the Serbs went on the offensive and my world seemed to turn upside down. During the war in Bosnia Harvey came to our Region and met with a small number of leaders. True to form he counselled all of us. I was last. I was feeling deeply ashamed and like I belonged to the worst nation on earth. (That was what was being broadcast daily on the news.) I half hoped we would run out of time before my turn. The direction Harvey gave me was "I am a Serb." The significance was in his tone of voice: like soft, sweet-sounding music; not a hint of defiance. I can discharge right now, putting his face and voice with that direction.

In 1996, at one of the British leaders' workshops, I was pretty sunk. I'd recently become an Area Reference Person and felt unequal to the job. I found myself in the dining hall waiting for a meal, and the only other person on time was Harvey, several tables away. I tried to look like part of the furniture. I hadn't seen Harvey for at least a year. Ringing across the room came, "How's your guilt?" I muttered a furniture-type reply. Later during class, Harvey announced that he wanted to try out a technique for Co-Counsellors who weren't getting on together.1 He asked people to put up their hands if they "had a bone with him."2 Only my hand went up. He and I each said what our disagreement was. Mine was being asked about my guilt. His was that I should greet him warmly in Serbo-Croat whenever I met him. We then had to recite together, "Our patterns are unhappy with each other."

Just before the Worldwide Conference last year, I was going to Italy to a workshop for bringing together people from the former Yugoslavia. I e-mailed Harvey at what was an extremely busy time for him. Nevertheless, back came a reply, with a first stab3 at a commitment for Serbs. It has worked well.

Since Harvey died I have found the photos of him in Present Time lovely to look at and helpful for discharging. Being friends with him has made me so hopeful for all of us.

Anica Gavrilovic
Beeston, Nottingham, England


1 Weren't getting on together means were having difficulty in their relationship with each other.
2 "Had a bone with him" means had a disagreement with him.
3 Stab at means attempt at.

 


Last modified: 2016-08-22 02:11:22-07