Beloved Agnostic

Pixabay.Com, Prawny


As I Would Have It
Catherine Cookson                      

Our Father
Who is as a power
Through all the universe,
I would like to revere You,
And be happy in doing so.
We will take it at the start
That goodness alone
Comes from You and no evil;
We want from You the power
To earn our living
In a way that will bring us contentment,
And the power to resist harming human or animal,
And the power to forgive ourselves our misdeeds,
And the power to resist anything
That our deep heart tells us is wrong,
And the power to direct our mind
To the realization that we are part of a great mystery
That will one day be made clear to us,
And hope that this will help us to come
Near to You and say,
In all humility,
Thy will be done.

The poem above was written by someone who, in the foreword to her book emphatically states “LET ME MAKE MYSELF PLAIN, I’m an agnostic.”   It makes me smile, because some of my favourite people have been agnostic.  I admire their honesty, their willingness to search for Truth, their casting aside of antiquated God images.

It took me a long time to even begin to decipher the agnostic vocabulary, because most of the time they abhor trite cliches and assiduously avoid religious language.  It was only when I began to think like a poet that I saw that their actions often contained deeply moving imagery that echoed symbolic meanings embedded in Scripture.  It took time to ponder and puzzle out these enigmas, but they were all the more significant because they came from a searching heart that would not settle for pat answers.   Sometimes they even came out of a suppression of belief, as conversely, a believer would suppress their doubts.

Whereas I once would have heavily emphasized words, I came to see that God talks in pictures all the time, so that even a child can understand.   He reaches out to us in music, in art, in the names of people and places, in the lavishness and grandeur of His creation all around us.  These pictures are like the hieroglyphic symbols of an ancient alphabet, clues strewn all around us.  And I saw in them that all of us are loved by God.

I am grateful to those agnostics who have opened my eyes to these treasures.   Hidden in plain sight, in ordinary events and ordinary people and ordinary things are ever-bearing metaphors and parables that bring richness and beauty and a eternal dimension to everyday life.









Karolina Grabowska –

It’s the time of year to celebrate love, and I’ve been thinking about how much my life has been enriched by the love of family and friends, the people I’ve been given to walk with me.  It’s been a great privilege to share my life in this giving and receiving.

One group of people who have brought unexpected joy are the group of people who attend our Friendship group.  In seeing them live their lives with little pretense, we too have been encouraged to abandon many of society’s false values.  They have varying disabilities that sometimes affect their ability to communicate, but they contribute by their very presence.

I’ve been listening to Jean Vanier’s Massey lectures given way back in 1998, which are still available on CBC archives.  It was a bold commitment when he took in two men with profound disabilities from the asylum, calling his home L’Arche, learning to live together in community.  Many others eventually joined him in creating these homes around the world.  In celebrating the lives of these people who the world often viewed as of little consequence, we celebrate our own true worth, accept our own limitations, live into our own humanity.  And gain the confidence to contribute ourselves.

It was in the context of Friendship Club that we would plan games which sometimes included old proverbs and riddles.  It was striking how often lyric and ancient wisdom emerged from some place of common ground we all share.  So, to celebrate Valentine’s one year, I put together little rhyming couplets that they were invited to complete.  You are invited to use them if you have any context where they would be enjoyed.

A Valentine Poem

This is a poem, all about love,
Which first of all came to us from above.

Jesus loves me, and Jesus loves you,
It’s not who you are, and it’s not what you do.

When I felt that love, the first thing I knew
Is that I wanted to share it too.

God loves us, and helps us love others.
Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers.

There’s a special love we have for a friend,
And we hope that our friendship never will end.

Now I want to take a moment, to tarry,
To talk of a day in the middle of February.

On this day, I write my love a Valentine
And on it I ask, will you be mine?

My sweetheart’s special, and sometimes handy,
So to say I love you, I buy some candy.

Or maybe buy roses, though greatly I fear,
The price has not been higher all year.

I go to the store, and search long and hard,
Through the racks to find the perfect card.

It has to say what I feel, but not be too mushy,
Not too sappy, but still lovey-dovey.

I can be smart, but love makes me stupid
Is it my fault when the arrow’s shot by Cupid?

And it’s all worthwhile when it ends in such bliss
Sweeter than honey is my Valentine’s kiss.

Trudy Prins




From time to time, we have encountered little life mysteries in our household.  One of them included these two somewhat ugly pieces with an apparently checkered past. They were dropped off specifically for my husband at the house one day when we were away.  We have never had a chess set with pieces that looked like that.

At the time we were billeting an actress with her young child, and so she answered the door when the bell rang.  The older man (bear in mind her description of “older” could be a relative term), who had come in a pickup truck, looked a little taken aback.  He gave her the two pieces with his instructions and left.

Unfortunately, she did not get his name, and we have no idea who this person was and why he thought we should have these.  It’s been several years now, and we’re no wiser now than we were then, though we have asked around our circle of friends and acquaintances.

Being of a literary bent and a disposition toward a vivid imagination, my mind goes to the possibilities this could create for a mystery story.   All over the area people receive these unlikely packages, and one day they are all brought together under mysterious circumstances.  Or knocked off the board, if you wanted a more sinister option.  Or you could do a variation of a chess motif in the plot line, the way Lewis Carroll incorporated a chess game in the children’s story Through the Looking Glass.

The child in me thrills, like childhood hero Nancy Drew, to the possibility of a mystery, of a search for obscure clues.   Life being what it is, the real explanation is probably something far more prosaic.  It’s just that we haven’t found it yet.

And maybe won’t ever.