Nails of gold

The main reason I have faith is because it is the only thing that separates me from pointlessness. Looking at the universe as a charged atomic soup and nothing more leads me to ask, as Peggy Lee did, “Is that all there is?”

I can’t live comfortably with life being only about atoms and molecules and natural selection. I need something more—the story. I need the motivation to get out of bed every morning and write another chapter in my story, and to fulfill my role in this universe to the best of my ability.

In Search of a Soul

A few years ago at a gathering of writers, a book fell into my hands. (I have found that books come to me when I need them. Another argument—albeit not a provable one—against pointlessness.) The title of this book piqued my interest: In Search of a Soul by Raymond Moriyama.

When I saw the title I expected an esoteric tale of spiritual angst. Instead I received the gift of the deeply personal story of the design and construction of the Canadian War Museum as told by the architect, Raymond Moriyama.

This book stuck with me. In the preface, Japanese-Canadian Moriyama shares the story of his family’s time in an internment camp in British Columbia during World War II. His father was separated from the family and sent to a POW camp in Ontario. Later, when the family reunited and Moriyama graduated from high school, his father gave him a hand scripted copy of this quote:

Into God’s temple of eternity,
Drive a nail of gold.

This quote inspires me to strive for the best. If I believed that this temple of eternity were merely a charged atomic soup, I might choose to just lie around, break out the booze and have a ball, as Peggy Lee suggested. But faith motivates me to stand up, put faith’s name on that temple and drive in a golden nail.

A shaft of sunlight

They’re forecasting a sunny day for Remembrance Day in Ottawa this year. That means that, if you’re at the War Museum at 11:00, you will see one of Moriyama’s design features: every year on November 11 at 11:00, a shaft of sunlight shines through the Hall of Remembrance and illuminates the headstone of the Unknown Soldier.

No matter where you’re standing on November 11 at 11:00, take time to remember others in our temple of eternity and the nails they drove into our shared experience.

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