Wow, what an incredible morning we had this past Saturday. Wanda Cassidy, our professor, arranged for a stellar panel that included three majestic, mystical and magical individuals. We had the absolute privilege of sitting with Ron Grayston, a Theologian and SFU professor; Kim Franklin, an educator from Western Trinity and Carl Leggo, poet and professor at UBC. First of all I must recognize that that these are three very unique and different individuals with contrasting beliefs and views. Yet, at the root they share a common intention. Love and reverence. I could have melted on Saturday morning after hearing them speak. I usually have lots to say but I was speechless. Needing time to process their profound messages I found myself rather inarticulate for the remainder of the day.
Ron spoke of secularity in comparison to secularism. An important nuance that I was unaware of until now. He also shared the most beautiful grounding ritual performed without words that simply brings heaven and earth together in the most human of ways. Absolute serenity!
Kim, probably one of the most gracious woman I’ve met thus far in my life. Her soft spoken message moved me to tears. She spoke of early religion as the most dangerous kind. This resonated for me and for the first time I became aware of my bias against “christianity”. A bias rooted in experiences with those practicing early religion where fire and brimstone await those of us who can’t be saved. Her message transcended this limiting practice. Kim spoke of living ethically. Not allowing her eyes to bounce of those around her, such an easy trap to fall into, but rather meeting people where they are and being fully present to their experience. A virtue she modelled beautifully as a woman in our class asked her a question about society’s negative views of christianity. Kim also spoke of words being only one and very limited way of conveying a christian path. Perhaps no words and just “being” is the answer. Showing up in one’s christianity…present, loving, open and vulnerable.
Carl is an absolute power house of energy. He spoke of the never ceasing movement of the Caribbean and shared yet another form of contemplation. Poetry. Contained within his poem was the story, essentially, of his life. For me it brought a sense of comfort in growing old and embracing this process. His words illuminated feelings about his life, aging, marriage, love and being a grandfather.
I was in complete awe and incredibly inspired. Thank you Wanda for bringing these three incredible people into our lives for a brief time. What was shared will stay with me for a long time to come.