Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday night again...

Good hearted clapping..
All our songs in our Church services are on power points. My daughter usually prepares these prior to Sunday morning and it usually all goes smoothly. I announce the song and look around and it is up on the screen. This morning I announced a song and looked around and found a different song on the screen. (The hassle was that the opening words were similar) I urgently stared at my daughter operating the computer as the organ cranked into the introduction, and eventually she clicked onto the mistake. I paused everything and my daughter desperately went in search among the computer's "brain" for the right song. She tried inserting it and in her haste hadn't managed to do it right. She came up with a different solution. All this time the organist, bless his heart, played the tune quietly, and the congregation watched her desperate searches through the "hymns" file on the big screen. She found it and screened it. I was thinking that this older congregation would be sitting there scoffing at this new technology and thinking ill of our preparation. I was so wrong. When my daughter finally (and it wasn't a long pause really... it just seemed long.) got the right hymn up on the screen the congregation burst into spontaneous good humoured applause in appreciation of her efforts. It was all OK and even helped the warmth of the service. I can be so wrong in my reading of what people think.
Goodbye Jeff... I am an old softy!
I have had my old Australian college buddy Jeff and his wife Ruth, staying with us since before Christmas. They shared in our Christmas Day dinner. We went on an adventure to Milford Sound together. I walked on my mountain with him. We saw in the New Year together and he and I walked the dog last night. Today we said our farewells in the church car park after church. I was going to a picnic with my wife's relatives so I had changed and purposely put on a jumper that belonged to Ian, the third member of the college trio who died in 2009. Jeff had been wearing a jacket which was Ian's and so we stood together in the car park for a photo, very much aware of our loss of a friend. (In a way Ian was "there" with us) Then we said our goodbyes. We hugged, two grown men and I choked up!? Jeff didn't help it by saying, "We don't know when we'll see each other again, if ever!" It has been good having them. Jeff and I slip into an easy companionship like we have never been apart. But I didn't expect to be that emotional when saying goodbye? As I have thought about it I guess it is because I have few close friends. I have lots of friends I enjoy, but few close ones. That I think is a combination of me not trusting myself to people and also me not taking the time to establish friendships. Anyway, it has been nice having him around.
Other friends..
In Church this morning there were another couple. She is a minister and in her training worked with me for six months. We got on so well, theologising for hours about life and ministry. Her husband too has been working in School chaplaincy, but they have been in the North Island. It seems every time I encounter them we all slide easily into conversation and feel an affinity with each other in the ministry journey. Today was no exception. We shared hugs, had a brief conversation but fell into real sharing quickly. I won't see them again for a while and there is always a feeling of "I wish we could spend more time together!" But life does not work out like that. It is nice to know that they are "out there" on a similar journey with similar values and passions.

Top and bottom one: Jeff and I in Ian's jumpers.
Middle: Jeff outside the Chinese Gardens in Dunedin.

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