I had a conversation with Theo Fleury this week and I have not been able to think about much since. Every time you connect with someone, you’re exposed to certain ideas. Most of the time it’s stuff you’ve heard before and passed on - the same old same old stuff. You could be at any breakfast spot anywhere in Canada and you’ll see two people talking to each other. Generally they’ve known each for a long time and they’re exchanging stories, and telling each other about how they feel about what they watched on TV last night or any number of things. And after these folks leave the restaurant and get back in their cars they move on. The conversations were nice and light and forgettable. I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had on the radio in the last 41 years. Thousands I guess. Forgive me if I don’t know the number or all the names and all the places and all the faces. But I can promise you this - I will never forget the conversation I had this week.
I will never forget this conversation with my brother Theo. No we don’t share a mother or a father. We just share like brothers. No I am not Metis and he is and it never makes a difference. No I didn’t score more than 450 goals in the National Hockey League and he did. But it doesn’t make a difference. I wasn’t raped by a man I trusted with my life as a teenager, and he was. But it didn’t make a difference. No I didn’t sign contracts for millions of dollars piss it away on booze, pills, cocaine ... and he did. But it didn’t make a difference. The details of his journey are different than the details of my journey. The therapists and the healers call it a journey. I call it life.
Although many details of our lives may be different, many of the feelings about things we have experienced are the same. So many of the reactions of his brain to his world and my brain to my world are so similar, that you’ll hear me joke about how my biological brother might say that I love my brother Theo more than I love my own flesh and blood. How much you identify with someone and how much you bond with them has nothing to do with where they were born and where you were born and who your father and mother are, or any such things. We’re all in this journey together.
And yet, every day on this air and across this country and in this life we describe and separate ourselves from each other by the racial and ethnic and religious labels we put on each other. But I was reminded in speaking with Theo that we are all members of the same family, and the sooner we understand that, the richer our lives will become. And when I say rich I am not talking about money. Theo Fleury doesn’t have nearly as much money as he once did. But he is far more prosperous in all the ways that matter than he once was. And I feel richer for knowing him.
Theo Fleury has lots of reasons for going dark in hate for the man who raped him over and over and over again, and lots of reasons to hate the so-called justice system that gave the rapist a joke of a prison sentence. But Theo is seeing a lot of light now after being in a very dark tunnel for a hell of a long time. And I am so proud of him, my brother, for he has made a choice to share that light in sharing his story of healing and hope with so many others.
We all have the opportunity to grow. It’s our choice to make. If you didn’t hear the interview, I invite you to listen now. Like me, I am guessing you will feel richer for doing so.
I’m Charles Adler
Listen to Charles Adler interview Theo Fluery above. For more information about Theo Fleury's latest book, please visit www.theofleury14.com