Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mid week stewing...

Two NZ soldiers killed and others injured in Afghanistan
Over the weekend when we were celebrating rowing gold medals at the Olympics we got the news of two young men killed in Afghanistan fighting as NZ soldiers, and others quite badly wounded. On Sunday evening returning from my walk I called at a garage to buy petrol and saw on the counter war comics for sale. How I used to devour them as a child! I loved marching soldiers, warships and the odd occasions when my dad told war stories. (He did not often do it, just if some old soldier was visiting they sometimes shared experiences. He ended up a Regimental Sargent Major in the NZ Artillery in the Desert and in Italy.) Now I abhor war. The more I hear of the troubles in Europe, the Middle East and in Africa I realise that the destructive ripples of the two world wars fought many years ago, continue into this century. Our Prime Minister commented that both men were not married and did not have children, that it was good there were no children who lost a father. Yeah but..? There is still a profound loss in that direction, the loss of unborn sons and daughters and grandchildren, they will never be! I know it is two lives and the likes of America loses many more, but I am sad at such a loss. I hope they have not died in vain. I share two poems.
Waste of Muscle, waste of Brain,
Waste of Patience, waste of Pain,
Waste of Manhood, waste of Health, 
Waste of Beauty, waste of Wealth, 
Waste of Blood, and waste of Tears, 
Waste of Youth's most precious years, 
Waste of ways the Saints have trod, 
Waste of Glory, waste of God, - War!

By Studdart-Kennedy a famous chaplain of World War I
I .... What a fine statue!
Myself ...... It is Victory.
I .... Proud figure!
Myself .... We won the war.
I ..... Why, there's a tear in her eye!
Myself .... I know. We did not win the enemy.

- Arthur B. Rhinow.

Dr Martin Luther King said something like, "The only force that can turn an enemy into a friend is love!" I somehow think we add to the terror in the world by relying on military might and violent methods to bring about change. I am sad at the loss of life and the ongoing destruction of life, relationships and trust.

She got an Olympic Silver! Celebrate that!
When I checked the internet this morning the news said how our (NZ's) celebrated shot put champion Valerie Adams, had lost. "Valerie Adams falls short of shot put gold!" read the headlines. On the radio as I drove to the office various people were speculating why she lost. Everything sounded doom and gloom because we put expectations on her that she would win gold. Her opponent threw a distance Valerie has never thrown before. Valerie threw quite a bit further than she did when she got gold four years ago. But the way they were talking it was as if she came last? She did not get gold, but she did get an Olympic Silver, and that is worth celebrating! She did well! You go girl. You did fabulously anyway! We, the public and media, sit in our armchairs and put so much pressure on our athletes. Celebrate her effort and achievement! 
My wife up north enjoying grand daughter Edith.
Wifeless for a few days.
My wife has flown North to visit the much photographed grand daughter. I am home alone, able to eat and drink what I like, sleep diagonally across the bed and have my music up loud. I am sitting in my office now, heat pump cranked up high, "Diana Tribute" CD's playing loud with an after dinner beer. This morning I left home having done laundry, washed dishes, fed myself, the hens and the goats. I can cope! ... But I had to get up early to do it all. I am strange. I enjoy the house to myself for a time, but at the airport I had a lump in my throat because I would loved to have traveled with her. She was going to enjoy time with family and I will miss out on sharing that time with her. 

Scary "plumbing" problems
I have been suffering from some inconvenient and slightly scary men's "plumbing" problems. Today I had an appointment at a specialist's clinic at the hospital. They are going to try something over the next six weeks, if that doesn't work then they are going to admit me for some serious exploratory surgery. Of course there are many much worse off than I, but the uncertainty of it all is distracting. I have all these people expecting me to keep on doing stuff, and there is a part of me wanting to yell, "Hang on! Back off! I just want to hop off the treadmill a while so that I can get this sorted!" But it probably is a good thing to just keep doing the normal, but sometimes I want to scream, "But what about me?" "Lord give me patience... and I want it NOW!"
The Civic Centre (Town Hall) Dunedin where the City Council meets.
Prayer at the City Council meeting.
It was all a bit rushed because I had Night Shelter stuff to do on my day off, but on Monday I took my turn at opening the City Council meeting with a prayer. Last time I did this it felt like an insult to me and to God, since the city councillors seemed to be like naughty school kids forced to go through a meaningless ritual. I nearly turned the invitation down on this score. This occasion seemed better. My prayer went like this....

"Let's spend some time remembering the NZ soldiers killed and wounded in Afghanistan..... We think of families, friends here in NZ and colleagues in the defense forces - the impact this event will have on them all. .... May all be surrounded by supportive love at this time.
- We pray that their sacrifice will not be in vain. May there be a constructive, life affirming peace in that country in time to come.
- We are thankful for the Olympics - may this sporting event that creates a sense of unity and harmony send ripples throughout the world to make a difference in places of enmity and strife.
- We are thankful for Dunedin City, it's beautiful setting, the friendly culture and its special nature. We are thankful for the growing diversity of cultures and ethnicity amongst us. This enriches our life.
- We recognise too that many citizens face challenging circumstances in the current economic climate. Indeed we as a city face challenges also.
- We come Lord, recognising the awesome privilege and responsibility of being leaders in this community. We are thankful that each at this table brings knowledge, abilities and experience. We pray for wisdom and a sense of collegiality so that we can creatively deal with the challenges we face together and use what each brings. ... In Jesus name... Amen."

It was a rushed effort, while trying to do many other things. My prayer did a lot of good??? Headlines in the Newspaper this morning read.. "Allegations and threats flew when a Dunedin City Council meeting erupted yesterday ..."
Oh well I won't have to do it again... thank the Lord.

No comments: