Makers Collective

Val Lieske

Val Lieske Ecclesiastes – Summer 2021

Val Lieske

Val is the founder and Artistic Director of Fire Exit Theatre. She has a BA in Theatre & Speech from Trinity Guild (UK) and is a member of the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada. She, along with her colleague, Barrett Hileman, launched the first ever Theatre Program at Ambrose University which is now part of Ambrose Arts. Val worked for 15 years with Centre Street Church in Creative Arts and Communication and is an instructor with Alberta Bible College teaching Arts & Culture. She freelances as a speaker, educator, spoken word artist, and writer. She believes that the only way to change culture is to create culture and that storytellers are changing the world. Val is one-half of the Arts Chaplain team in Calgary and loves nothing more than drinking good coffee with creative people.

The Letter

Maybe it was the pure exhaustion of 15 months of uncertainty, loss, and loneliness but in my reading of Ecclesiastes this time I was overwhelmed by the deep desperation that The Teacher seemed to express. I wondered if he wrote a suicide note what that might sound like. Someone who, apparently, has it all. Someone who has experienced the best that life has to offer. Someone who people would say has no right to feel that sad. I was reminded that we have no idea what is really going on in people’s heads and hearts and how easy it is to think we know someone. Ultimately, we go through life never truly being known.


How much confusion and sadness could be avoided if God would just talk to us every once and a while. The Old Testament is littered with phrases like “And then God said…” and “God spoke, saying…” And yet for twelve painful chapters God lets The Teacher rattle on and on with questions and statements that really just boil down to “God! Where are you?” I am often in a holding pattern with God, in a queue peering to the front of the line wondering when it’s my turn to hear from Him. In the life that most of the world sees, I am strong, confident and seem to know what I’m doing. In reality, I’m mostly wandering aimlessly with 80’s music playing in the background that is intermittency interrupted by, “Please hold.”