Friday, July 29, 2005


Another occurance on Wednesday - yes quite a significant day for lots of reasons! On Tuesday night I had eaten out with a friend at a place just up the road from my house and had a glass of wine - and since our work cars are insured with a company that you can't have any alcohol and drive them, my friend dropped me home (lovely night, by the way). What that meant was that I walked to Fairfield to catch up with my old housemate ... then walked to Westgarth Bapts for lunch - between those two places I saw someone who has been coming to St Paul's on a Sunday night and managed to have an excellent conversation with him about his work and life as a single dad ... then on my way to Westgarth saw and spoke a bit with one of the people who comes for lunch who goes for walks during the mornings - and that was quite significant relationally. Then as I walked home I smiled at a neighbour who was going up to the corner shop, and then a little later as I walked up to get the work car from where I had left it the night before I met her in the street and had a conversation - the first we've had where we introduced ourselves etc.

All very interesting - one of the many reasons I've decided not to have a car is exactly these reasons but I've so often needed the work car for work related things and when it's sitting there it's so hard not to use it just to drive to the shops etc. But this kind of episode just shows the neighbourhood, community, incarnational value of walking (not to mention fitness!).

Thursday, July 28, 2005

27th July

I hadn't planned how I would spend yesterday - like I hadn't thought out clearly "what do I need to do on the anniversary of Paul's death". This is something I will often do with "big" days - both ones of celebration and grief/sadness/commemoration. Days of this sought are quite significant to me - both consciously and unconsciously; I've come to discover that often without realising it I'm conscious of the day my grandmother died (who died before I was born!). So dates like this are significant - which is why it is interesting that I didn't "plan" for what to do on this one, that is very significant. I hadn't planned but God had.
I realised sometime in the last few days that it was quite a full day, looking at the diary. I was quite sad about that, knowing that for such things I do need space - but given the things in the day and other peoples lives I really couldn't move anything.
So the day started with a coffee and breakfast with Gina, a friend who I lived with for 3 years. We don't see each other heaps now - there's no natural connections so we only see each other when we make a time to do that, but she is still a close friend, we know each other well and accept each other as we are, having changed lots over the time we lived together and since; we've walked many journeys together and there are some agonies of our heart that only we (and God) understand well because we experienced them together. We did touch on those agonies yesterday but I also talked about Paul a bit, as well as us talking about many other things. I just knew that that time was a God arranged thing ... not planned by me for that date, but couldn't have been better planned.
Then it was time for me to go to the lunch for people in supported accomodation that I'm involved in on a Wednesday. I really didn't feel like going but felt I should given the fact that I hadn't made it the last two weeks. I went and it was so good. Had a great chat to an elderly lady who is quite lonely, then fed two people who need assistance with eating. They were both great - but especially the second, Linda. Linda is ace, I love her. She is 45 and has had a stroke so each movement is pretty hard; she's in a wheelchair and she can speak but it's a drawn out process and her memory is pretty shaky at times but spot on at other times. I was feeding her lunch and as I was she asked me why she hadn't seen me around the last few weeks and I explained ... one reason was that I was prepraring for a camp to which she said "if I'd known you were going on a camp I would have come" - that made me smile. Then she asked me about what was in my day yesterday. Didn't talk about Paul but it was just lovely to be serving her and be so deeply served and cared for in the process. Again a very God arranged thing that I could never have planned for.
Then meetings in the afternooon 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm - all good and useful discussions and times ... then a couple of hours staring at a computer screen last night, trying to get soem work done, but really just having some space - again I hadn't planned nothing on last night, but that was what my diary said. Another arranged by God thing.
Came home quite late - I think mostly because I needed to be by myself (as much as I love my housemate), then quite a sleepless night.
So I've been very conscious all day and had some conversations, emails, sms's with others who are also grieving and people who care for me in it - it was lovely a week ago someone who isn't "personally involved" at all said "I'm very conscious of the 27th coming up soon - how are you and how is Julie?" That was very special.
This morning I feel good ... ready to deal with the world ... ready to write the articles that were due yesterday for our organisations newspaper thing and a few other things and then to join the rest of the staff at the zoo ...

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo
How about you, you, you?!
(the favourite song around the office at the moment!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Twelve months ago

This time twelve months ago I had no idea what was about to happen - none of us did. Paul had been at Search for Life and come home ... we imagine he was watching Six Feet Under ... none of us had an incling of what was going to happen in a few hours time. None of us knew the numbness, pain, agony, tears that was coming, none of us knew the way that God would hold us and bring us to a deeper trust in him and contentment, despite and even through what really is still a tragedy. But these things, and much more, have been some of our experience as we have experienced much grief over Paul's death.
It is twelve months on. As Julie and i were saying today - on one level it feels like yesterday, on another it feels like a lifetime ago. It seems like I should be watching Six Feet Under right now ...
Numbness is real tonight, words certainly don't cut it.
I remember well the phone call from Julie during the night after I heard about Paul's death. The phone was by my bed, expecting her call. It had been a restless night ... words didn't cut it then, they don't cut it now.
The week following that rates as one of the most agonising and growing in my life.
Being present with, physically and in spirit, in word and silence, in joy and sadness, in laughter and tears, at wineries and on the beach - have all found new meaning as I have walked with others who have also grieved (and are grieving), as I've let myself grieve and as I've had the privelge of having others be present with me in various ways as I've grieved ... and as I've known God's presence deeply in it all.
The feelings are still mixed ... grief is still real ... I'm more convinced than ever of the tragedy that it is ... I know myself more deeply than ever ... I value life more deeply than ever ... I know some people more deeply and intimately because of it all ...
I know and trust that God is good more than ever before.

A deep, anguished but contented sigh ... with tears running down my face ...

And I remember Julian of Norwich's prayer:
All is well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Taking the Role

One of the things we discussed last weekend at the Directors Weekend for SU Missions and Camps was the importance of taking the role that you are in. We find that many directors really struggle with the fact that often they are leading people who are there friends and often the same age or sometimes older than them. We were encouraging them to think through lots of things related to that but one of them was how important it is to assume and live in the role that you have. Good stuff - and I think helpful for some directors.
So ... I've come back and several times this week been put in situations where I've been challenged in exactly that myself - sometimes doing very well, sometimes very badly. It most definately has been one of the challenges of my week - be the leader you are made to be.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

So many thoughts, so little time

Life has been and continues to be incredibly full. It is very good and in many ways very fulfilling but I am extremely aware that it is too full in many ways - and that I'm increasingly desperate for space and to stop. Some of my rhythms of days and weeks have slipped in the last week (and months) and I know that it is very important to regain them. But in general, life is very good. This last weekend was the Directors Weekend for SU Victoria which I had the prime responsibility for (with other staff also involved). I'm thrilled with how it went. But I am exhausted and a whole range of things in my life have me thinking and processing.

Friday, July 08, 2005

A few thoughts from the Forge Nation Summit

Last weekend I was part of the Forge Nation Summit. Lots of thoughts and hopefully actions prompted for myself and others I went with and spoke to. I get stunned by God's timing and ability to work things into just what is needed for a person at a given time - that was the case for me and others.

Went to Hamo's workshop on Apostolic Leadership - great stuff and helpful to think through. He has listed what he walked about here.
Went to some workshops on The Theology of the Emerging Church. We talked about lots but the thing that I've really been left with is the thought from the story of the Prodigal Son that the Prodigal and the Older Brother don't talk. Has me thinking about lots of things.
I went to a panel on "what we can learn from ministry to the poor about ministry to the middle class" - great session but didn't really hit on that in the session because everyone on the panel are so passionate about ministry on the margins (could have benefitted from more of a range on the panel). I got lots out of it though. Here's some quote that I don't really know who said or wrote all of:
"If you have come to help me then you are wasting your time, but if you've come because your liberation is bound up with mine then let's work together."
"Margins always has a message for the centre"
"It's the things/people that you can't do anything about, that do something with you" - Richard Rohr
Also went to a workshop which inpired me no end about being present in and loving the community.

I've long since decided that the key at this kind of thing is to be inspired to keep on in the stuff I'm commited to, hopefully picking up some tools along the way and also hopefully being God's person in the right time and place to walk with what God's doing in another - all of these were parts of last weekend for me.

Dan and Hamo have written some good reflections on Women in Emerging Church/Apostolic Leadership coming out of the Summit. The people I was with certainly noted the absense of a woman as a "plenery session" speaker. I also would echo the "blokey feel" of the summit - although it didn't bother me. Although I did hear one female leader saying how nice it is to be in a situation where there are more blokes (obviously obviously in situations more frequently which is the opposite). Mmmm ... interesting stuff for us to journey with.

Phil has also listed some other quotes he heard around the place here.

Good on you Forge guys for a great time of encouraging the missional church in Australia.

Book meme

My goodness life has been full, busy and largely good. I've got lots to write, only some of which will get written I suspect but firstly I've been tagged by Trav for a book meme so here goes:

Total books owned, ever: There are 447 books of mine that I can currently count in my house (plus my housemates books, plus the books we have on our shelves of a friend who is currently overseas, plus the 20 or so books I have from the library or friends). I also probably have 20 or so books at work of mine and another 20 or so books of mine out on loan to other people. Then there are heaps of books that I have owned that have been given away/sold/walked over the years (I remember 30 or so Trixie Belden's being given away when we left one house) - so maybe 200 of those. So we are up around 700.
(yes I do take after my father!!! But he has got rid of some of his!)

Last book I bought: 3 copies of Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. I read Julie's copy of this book when she lent it to me a couple of months ago and loved it - so I bought it for a friend who is going overseas on Saturday, bought one copy for myself and there was a 3 for 3 deal on so I bought another one - they have all already been boorowed (in one night!).

5 books that mean something to me: gosh this is hard and there are so many I could list, I'll try and choose a bit of a range.

1. Bold Love by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman
A book that quite literally turned my life upside down in a whole range of ways: what does it really mean to love, not the kind of love we often think and talk about as Christians but gutsy love that really has the other persons growth and the relationship at heart. Read it for the first time 6 or so years ago and I'm so continually trying to live out the stuff I learnt.
(Could also in this category have said Inside Out by Larry Crabb that completely turned my life upside down when I was 16 or 17 and still largely shapes me: the quote "it's not until you realise the life is profoundly disappointing that you learn to love" sent me into a spin for months)

2. Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
A book about Jesus, what really living in the kingdom is about, what transforming grace is and how to be an apprentice of Jesus. Great stuff that excites me about the adventure of life.
(could also have said The Spirit of the Disciplines also by Dallas Willard)

3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (especially The Last Battle)
I've always loved the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe but over the last few years on retreats I've been reading some of the other books in the Narnia Chronicles - and they spin me out. God has so often used them to help me see more (and know way more deeply) about him, myself and the world.

4. Community and Growth by Jean Vanier
At one time someone could have said that this was my second Bible - I don't quote it as much anymore but it still has a profound influence on me. Jean Vanier started the L'arche communities where people with intellectually disabilities live with assistants. It's a book of much wisdom coming from much experience and a deep spirituality. (I could also have put many things by Henri Nouwen - also connected with L'arche communities)

5. Open Minds: 21st Century business lessons and innovations from St Luke's by Andy Law
Over the last few years, I've done alot of reading about and thing about leadership and organisations. This is proving extremely useful for my role at SU Victoria. Lots of the stuff I've read and thought about challenges heavily the model of leadership that has been more traditional particularly in Christian orgnaisations. You might say that stuff I've been reading is based on chaos theory or living systems. I've picked this one to list because it tells the story of an organisation learning to work differently - something that is a living metaphor for me at the moment.

I tag Trish, Julie, Dave and Anj (if she hasn't done it already - I don't remember her having done it).