Originally Published: June 2, 2000 7 p.m.
We have grown up together, haven't we?
And I am proud to call you a true friend.
Although, as we both know, our relationship was superficial and rocky at times.
When I was a child my parents invested your identity in me. My vision extended no farther than their shadows. In the early school years, I began to understand that teachers – at least some of them – could receive a bit of my allegiance or devotion, or whatever I considered you to be at that time.
Which is part of your mystique, isn't it, Faith? When I was young, I didn't really have a handle on you. I suppose this means that I didn't know who you were. The closest I could come, as I recall, was to associate you with a belief.
Ministers kept insisting I must possess you, but provided scant help in capturing you. The Good Book mentioned you in connection with a mustard seed. For a youngster already confused, that was hardly a distinguishing identification.
Then as a young adult, immersed in the cloistered world of academia, I found myself worshipping the gods of objectivity as I elevated the scientific approach to the high pedestal my colleagues assured me it deserved.
Those years, Faith, as you may remember, found our relationship foundering as I alternated between obnoxious arrogance and an intellectual dedication to rationality. I reassured myself that I would not believe in anything I couldn't touch, taste, hear, smell or see.
But then, you asserted yourself one day by planting in my mind the provocatively significant question, "What about your love?" Immediately my criteria for beliefs capsized in a sea of guilt and shame.
And you have been my companion ever since.
While I still seek the company of reason, I no longer believe it is the deity I once did. When I think about the gifts you have given me, I realize I am admitting my admiration for the illogical world you permeate. As I try to grapple with the doubts that continue to infect my life, I find solace in your accommodating presence.
In these later years, I discover that the need for certitudes and proofs are no longer universal; selectivity is acceptable, and even preferred, when examining particular aspects of my life and elements of the world I live in.
So, Faith, let me close this brief conversation by sharing with you a favorite quote from Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass": "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the Unicorn, "if you believe in me, I'll believe in you. Is that a bargain?"
(Ron Barnes is a longtime Prescott resident and a semi-retired educator and businessman.)