Mariusz’s calling was to be always on the way. Being on the way, was how he was. I finally understood this during these tragic Easter and Passover holidays. When I heard the news of his passing I recalled the line from the book of Exodus, “you shall be like those who are in flight”. Mariusz’s public and private life was a passover. Mariusz sacrificed and served others.
As a diplomat, Mariusz, was always passing from one place to another. He never got attached to places, because he knew he was on his way. He was present but ready to be called to new missions. His life mission was securing freedom and expanding liberty. He knew that greater freedom was just around the corner, especially for Poland. He served for the freedom of Poland, America and Europe. Mariusz’s work for freedom took him to every corner of the world. He was a friend of those who loved freedom. In his diplomatic service he always had his friends on his mind, whether they were in Georgia, Lithuania, Ukraine, France or America. Where ever he went he encouraged others and made life long friends. He always reminded us that dreams cost and big dreams cost a lot. He was a dreamer and he paid a huge price for his dream. What was extraordinary in Mariusz was that he always looked for friendship in public service and diplomacy. He never held hurt feelings for anyone and looked with compassion at the people he met at the grand chess board of diplomacy. He was loved for his convictions and principles. Mariusz gave his heart to diplomacy and his whole diplomatic career was focused on giving, on the long walk, and truth. He never liked easy answers and easy ways. He challenged himself and he challenged politicians to go beyond real politik, correctness, self interest (enlightened or not) and cynicism. In his work for Poland he did not settle for refined utopianism or irony, however attractive. His diplomatic strategy did not rely on deterministic hopelessness but rather courageous hopefulness.
Mariusz’s way was driven by his conviction as a believer, which meant that he was also a pilgrim on his way through this world. Those who knew him immediately understood that he drew on his faith for strength to meet the demands placed on him. In the noise of politics, kabuki dance of diplomacy and routine of daily life he always listened. He nurtured a capacity to listen to his true Master. He learned his faith from his parents, which later grew stronger thanks to his travels and encounters with politicians, business people, and academics all over the world. In his professional contacts he saw his brothers and sisters. His faith took him to Lublin, Taize, Rome, Washington D.C. and New York. In all of those places he was a man of faith in search of glimpses of the New Jerusalem. Mariusz never got distracted by his position, and influence in the temporal Babylon he lived in. He tried very hard to listen to the pulse of the Church and because he searched for the Truth he was able to fully understand what was happening in the world and Poland.
Mariusz’s faith shaped him into a great leader, a leader with a generous heart and soul. His faith emanated from within him but he never wore his deep religious convictions on his sleeves. Mariusz was a man filled with patriotic grace. A patriotism that puts country ahead of one owns health, family, and financial situation. A patriotism which is not short, frenzied outburst of emotion but a steady dedication born in Bielsko Biala. Leadership that stands for persuading with words and gestures and never with power, even soft power. Leadership that is not divisive and is based on talking to each other instead of talking about each other. Mariusz stood for leadership that reclaims optimism in Poland with no room for bitterness and blame. He believed in life, which is bipartisan, beautiful and full of splendor. Mariusz sensed that people want a public life filled with forgiveness and grace, maturity and wisdom. May his passover bring us closer to this dream.
Mariusz, you never liked talking about yourself and I hope I got everything right. You are a great friend and I miss you very much. I was really counting on that phone call from you on Sunday from Chicago. I am left with a few voice messages and text messages, which I will cherish for the rest of my life. You kept repeating to me that you are “w drodze” and I know your way has been fulfilled here on earth, but please keep working for us from where you are now. Thank you Mariusz – thank you for being on my way.