Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A busy week of relating.... people important

"Hey Nan and Pop, I can sit." Granddaughter growing up too fast without me.
I have had another busy week, but in the process there have been special relationships. Here are some highlights.
Monday... On Monday we went shopping to buy a gift from the Church to give to a lovely lady who was celebrating her 90th birthday. We selected an appropriate gift and took it around enjoying a lovely warm visit with her and her family.  She was born in Scotland and has lived through so many events and changes in the world. She is still fairly active. In the evening I went for an energetic trip up my mountain. It was a lung bursting walk/jog up to the top and a jog all the way down. It was the fastest time I had done for a long time and it made me feel good, in spite of my "bionic plumbing".
Tuesday... I met with the family of a lady whose funeral I led on Wednesday. It was good to share with them since they are in ministry in Wellington and hold similar positions as I do. In the afternoon I was asked to take a man who is a Trust Board member of the Workplace Support (Chaplaincy) governing body around my fire service chaplaincy so that he could see what a chaplain does. It is interesting to do such an exercise because it makes you look at what you do from another's perspective. I was warmed by the comments by firefighters, with the deputy chief listing off the positive value of what I do.  It was all a bit embarrassing. The ease with which I am able to drop into significant conversations at fire stations is very satisfying.
Wednesday... We had the funeral which was quite large for a lady of 95. (If you want a big funeral you usually should die young.) By all reports the funeral went well. We have this sleazy guy who comes to Church, Drop-in centre and Space2B. He did not know the woman who had died but he and his mate wanted to attend the funeral for the free food. I told him it was inappropriate and actually had to speak to them quite forcefully in the foyer of the Church half an hour before the funeral. 
Thursday.. I visited the brewery only to discover that the Prime Minister was soon to be touring. I came away early, not wanting to get in the way. I was also involved in interviewing a guy for a coordinator's role at Phoenix lodge. I find such decisions so hard to make.
Friday... I spent most of the day in conversation with people. I have a friend who visits for morning tea every Friday. From there I got talking to a guy from the UK who is becoming a regular Friday morning visitor to Space2B. He told about diving on recovery missions to a wrecked 14th Century sailing ship off the coast of Portsmouth in 1970's. An Iraqi man came in. He has had major heart surgery and this was his first outing to town since the operation. He told his wife he had to come visit his friends at the Church (He is a Muslim) It was so good to talk. In Space2B it felt special on Friday. We had a number of people came in to share what had been going on for them. They found support and friendship. It was valuable "people time". At the drop-in centre at night we had over 50 people through. One guy caused problems with his loud angry swearing. I asked him to modify his language and he spat a "f" laden sentence at me. I saw by his glazed eyes that he was on drugs of some sort as we glared at each other. There was a moment when I thought he might take a swing at me but my steady stare convinced him not to. I asked him what he was on and he shoved a sausage in his mouth and said, "I'm eating a sausage now!" He did quieten down. I felt sorry for him. Our community spits these people out. There is no work for them, no place of dignity and purpose. They have little hope of improving their lot so they just smoke, drink and abuse drugs too much and get angry. 
Saturday... We went to the Church at 10 a.m. and helped set up and host a ninetieth birthday party for a long time member of our congregation. It was 6 p.m. when we finally left the Church. With my daughter on holiday I had to then do lots of extra duties like the hymn power points and the Church Newsletter.
Today ... The service was on the theme of imaging God as a "Potter". I think it went well. After lunch I sat up in bed with my laptop but immediately fell asleep. I had a walk/run this evening with my friend. It is so good to be incorporating a run again, even though I have to wear long pants and cope with my "plumbing".
It was a busy week with every night taken up with some sort of work. There were other responsibilities and activities I cannot mention.  I would hate to add up the hours of work I did, and even then I failed to complete some tasks. I was meant to be at a chaplains' training meeting on Friday. I completely overlooked it in my busyness. On reflection though I am sure the relationships I had in Space2B were more useful for the "Kingdom of God". 
To sum up my week; I have been excessively busy, but I have felt like I have had a significant role in traveling with people in their journey through life. Though exhausting it has felt kind of "special". This being with each other on the journey really is the guts of life, and I am privileged to be able to do it.
I hope to have a real day off tomorrow. My wife's brother is close to death up country. I will be taking part in his funeral maybe later in the week, for now I hope to relax tomorrow before another busy week begins on Tuesday.

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