Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pain, pocketknives and pondering

It hits from time to time...
It will be a week since we had put our dog down. I knew it was the best decision but I still miss him. Now you need to know that he was not like some dogs in some households. In many households the dog is like a person in the family. Max was loved but he was still a dog. But I have realised how often I greeted him and he greeted me. It has been strange coming home at night and not hearing his bark of greeting. Every morning I have suddenly missed not seeing him check out what is going on and on Saturdays I often had more contact. I'll get used to him not being there but it is funny how much they become a part of life.
Pocket knives that keep coming back.
Some years ago a friend came back from a european trip and presented me with a real swiss army knife. That knife has been well used since then and indeed has been knocked around a bit, not now the shinny example it once was. Every day it is in my pocket, most often hanging on a chain. There has seldom been a day when I have not carried it, people tease me because I carry it, but I often find a use for one of its implements. On Friday I had been cutting up an apple at my office desk and had left the knife sitting on the desk. A friend came in and eventually took me away to check something out at the Night Shelter. My wife came in and took me away for lunch. About mid-afternoon I could not find my knife anywhere! I searched both the office and car. I thought I could remember throwing it in my pocket, but not attaching it to the chain. I thought of all the places (car-coffee bar- public toilets - garage-door workshop etc.) where I had sat down or where it could potentially have dropped out of my pocket. By Friday night I had decided it was lost, gone forever. Probably somebody else had picked it up and was celebrating their find. I was sad because I was attached to that knife. On Saturday I got up and loaded an old "Mercator" knife onto my chain and took an electrician friend to the Night Shelter to do some work for us. He did his wiring and I delivered him home, while I debated with myself about whether to go back and fix a hinge on a door. I decided I would and entered the property again. I was carrying a toolbox and was just thinking, "I wish I had my swiss army knife!" and happened to look down at the grass where I was walking. There it was, lying in the damp grass not far from the front door of the night shelter! I snatched it up, clicked it onto my chain and texted my wife. "That which was lost has been found!" I had given it up for being lost for good. I am sure if any night shelter clients had seen it I would have lost it. I was so pleased. I thought about a similar event with my "Mercator" knife. I had it when I was plumbing - 40 something years ago. I was fixing a pipe at an uncle's house in a muddy trench near a steep bank. I filled in the trench, but later discovered my knife was not with my tools. Quite a few months later I was helping my uncle cut the lawns and I saw part of the handle of the knife sticking out of the ground. It was rusty but cleaned up well. An old plumber once said to me, "Every good plumber should carry a pencil, pocket knife, rule and piece of string!" These days as a minister, I am seldom without one of my pocket knives and a pen.
My old "Mercator" and my "Victorinox" Swiss Army knife. - shield came off. :-) Love them both. 
Full on weekend..
This weekend my daughter and son-in-law were away. They do a lot of the powerpoint preparation and technical support for our Church services. They set up the equipment and "push the buttons" during Church and also produce the Church newsletter. I had to do all their duties and there were some extra things thrown into the service I  had to prepare for. I wondered if I could get it all done, particularly since during the week my usual work pattern had been interrupted regularly. I began the weekend a way behind schedule and at one stage said to my wife, "I'll never do it!" But I did. Focusing on one job at a time, planning which parts to do when and just settling down to work through the list - I made it. I did a sermon essentially on Psalm 23 with a bit of Mark 6 (The "Sheep without a shepherd" passage). My partial outline is below.... my testimony bouncing off the "Shepherd Psalm".

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