Sunday, July 27, 2008

What was that???

I'm asleep and wake with what I initially thought was a noise off the street - was it?  I don't know.  I'm deeply asleep and wake with what sounds like a trumpet or sax playing a stanza.  After initial vague thoughts not very complementary to whoever was making the noise at this time of morning I roll over and look at the time - it 3.43am.  It's at that point I realised the day that it was and the significance of this early hour on this day.  It's 4 years today since Paul died.  And it would have been at around that time.  

Over the last couple of days as I've been conscious of the date approaching I have been conscious of my age.  I didn't have the details in my head of exactly how old Paul was when he died - but discovered yesterday - he was 32.  So this is the first year at the anniversary that I am older than he was when he died - that's hitting me this year. 

Paul - I remember your life and death today ... thankful for who you were and thankful that now you are known and know fully.

Others for whom this day is significant - I'm conscious of you on this day and pray for space and ability for it to be what it needs to be on this day 4 years on.  

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Grateful - that was the word that came to the fore out of the mixture of emotions that were around yesterday.  Grateful for lots of things.  Grateful for the kind of support that has been around me - while there are times when the people I would have hoped for support from haven't been that, I recognise that the support I do have is of an amazing quality; there have been excellent people on this journey.  Grateful that Mum died when she did.  I can't imagine how mum would have aged without killing herself with anxiety and worry (umm ... and maybe she did anyway!).  But the grateful part of me is grateful that she didn't need to go through more of that and I'm also thankful for myself and others around her that we didn't have to cope with that especially in the possibility of it being mixed with increasing dementia.  And especially grateful for who I have continued to become through it all.

Grateful - it's a good place.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Friday is the Yahrzeit of Mum's death ie. in Jewish terms the anniversary of someone's death.  It's a little tricky to know which is the "real" date as we know mum died on the 11th July but we found her on the 17th July.  For me the most significant date is the 11th.  

This week is surprising me somewhat.  I wasn't expecting it to be easy ... but it's different to what I was expecting ... even though as I think about it what I'm experiencing is probably in the very normal zone.  I was expecting Friday, and the lead up, to be hard.  But I think I was expecting a very specific kind of hardness, I guess a bit more specific and almost explosive, momentary.  What I'm experiencing though can best be described as dullness.  It's greyness at it's most grey.  It's close to tears but not really being there.  It's dull and constant!  It's also familiar - with a different edge to it and with less ability to observe it as well as experience it, much of last year I lived in this place.  But in a sense it's shocking me.

In the midst of that dullness I'm also very good - life is good and it's very good to be into things after being away.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Back to Melbourne Life

My holiday has been good.  The first half of the first week I spent in Melbourne - a lot of low key work physically sorting out stuff and purchasing stuff for a working bee for church.  You might say - how was this a holiday!  It was most definately - re-creational.  I did it in a relaxed attitude and did some physical, satisfying, creative, order creating work; definately re-creational!  Then I went to Sydney and had a relaxing week or so with good friends in a place that is highly relaxing for me to stay in (a second home).  Then a trip around places of import in my family - all 4 of my parents graves, places my parents used to live, places I used to live, cups of tea with people who knew me as a baby, more tea with people who grew up with mum and also her cousin ... and finding my great great grandmothers grave and my great grandfathers grave.  Exhausting stuff but once in a lifetime stuff.  (I'll write more about that over coming days)  Then several wineries - and lots of wine tasted and purchased.  

Now I'm back in Melbourne and mostly back (although a little family history consumed).  I'm excited to be back - already some great stuff has happened and I'm excited about the coming months.  For this week - a retreat day by myself tmw, in SPACE on Tuesday and various meetings and work to do on Wednesday and Thursday.  On Tuesday I also start a small business course which I'm excited about.

Sad by Reality - and deeply moved ...

One of the things I did while I was in Sydney was go to the church that I was part of as a teenager.  It was a church that shaped me deeply and there is no way I'd be where I am today if it wasn't for the embrace, teaching, example, passion for godliness and mission and much more which was given to me in the midst of this community of God's people.  And in so many ways this continues to be true.  Some of my closest friends are people who were part of this community and many people who are still part of this community I deeply respect.  It's lovely to be embraced in a community which you haven't been part of for 15 years.  Several of the people who were part of this community with me are now elsewhere around Australia and the world and several who are still part of this church I am in contact with in other ways.  Probably some of the key readers of this blog fit into one of those categories.  And those relationships are really important to me - but separate to going to church when I'm in Sydney (even though this time I had really important conversations with both the people of one such couple at church after the service!)  And many of the people who I have no other contact with other than Sunday at church when I visit are also important to me.  However, I think I may well have just visited this church for the last time as my standard thing to do in a visit to Sydney.  Part of it is that life has moved a long way, it's been a long time.  But most of it is the fact that I am in the process of being an ordination candidate in the Anglican Church.  You see this is a Sydney Presbyterian Church.  There are many awkward moments when I say what I do for work and it gets even more uncomfortable when I say I'm almost finished a Master of Divinity and then neither of us knows quite how to deal with the next thing - that I'm an ordination candidate for priesthood.  Several of the people who matter to me from my Sydney world also personally do not agree in theory with with women being ordained in such roles and in various ways we've needed to work out what it means to journey together in grace and a sense of unity with deep differences which involve much of what I'm embracing in life - to enable important current friendships to continue we have needed to work out what it means to live with these differences, being true to ourselves; I feel in a good place with most of these people around that.  However, the people I see after church and not at other times are plain awkward and it feels unnecessary so.  Why do I need to make them uncomfortable?  Why do I need to put something in front of myself that I don't need to?  We don't have the context, relationship or need really to discuss it properly but it doesn't seem to do anything good for anyone.  And it will just get worse as I'm ordained.  So not based on anything about the gathering itself (in fact I enjoyed much of the service last Sunday) I think I may well have just attended my last non "special event" service at the church of my teenage years.  I'm sad by the reality of that but as I wrote this became deeply moved by where the friends who have other views and I are at.  While I say sad by the reality - there's also a sense in which it's just deep freedom to be who I am and to allow them to be who they are and to know that the best way to do that is to avoid the unnecessary discomfort.  

Deeply Satisfied

I'm sitting at home after a good friend has left at the end of my first day back at work after 2 weeks of leave.  My current fav music is Enya which is on and my current fav hot drink as Oriental Tea House's Tropical Dream which I have in one of fav mugs.  I've just had a deeply sole enriching time with a very good friend who journeys deeply with me and me likewise with him.  The journey is a privilege and deeply life enriching.

One of things that we were talking about is what a picture of a "safe place" is for us (prompted by a book I've been reading about trauma treatment and the need to help people find a "safe place" in themselves to go to when they are going beyond what they are well able to handle as they are facing the trauma in their lives).  One such picture for me is a lovely night I had in Sydney during my holiday with two of the readers of this blog.  In a sense there was nothing special about this night.  At another level it was literally heaven on earth.  It was a night with two of the people who have journeyed much life with me and who accept me deeply for who I am and I likewise (and have for almost 20 years).  None of us now live in Sydney so it was a night that was special because we certainly can't do it every week - one lives in Canada, one in country NSW, and I'm in Melbourne.  We're also at somewhat different life stages so it was a gift that on many occasions would have been more difficult to have happen - and so we were especially thankful for one of our mum's who looked after another one of our toddlers.  There was gift from people other than us for this night to be what it was - of this we were deeply grateful.  So that's the setting for this night.

The night itself was at a restaurant which I really wanted to go to and hadn't been to for years in Darling Harbour.  The environment and food was great (for me, garlic snails, kangaroo and creme caramel with a glass of pinot from NZ).  We wandered through  Darling Harbour and around to King St Wharf and found a place we liked (recognising thoroughly our age by the places we were avoiding!!!) for a cocktail.  Now the environment, the food and the alcohol were all great - but the specialest thing about this night was gentle presence with good long term, life-giving people.  You can't trade that for the world.  

And I realise that even a night a year ago with these same people, in the same setting, with the same circumstances wouldn't have been as close to "heaven on earth" as this night was for me because of the difference in me!  I was able to deeply enter into this night in a way I have never been able to before.  There is deep freedom in me to be present and enter in and enjoy - I can't say how delightful it is.

So deep thanks to God who was and is and will be present, bringing life of all kinds into being.  And deep thanks to special friends who journey life together - be it over distance much of the time.