Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A little bit low tonight.

I am not sure what is going on with my health but I feel not on top of things tonight. I have a strange wheezy cough which is just not "me", a bit of a swollen face and ankles and little energy. Tomorrow will be better, a bit of depression has hit me today.
What keeps you awake at night?
We have begun to fundraise for the $600,000 we want to enable the Night Shelter Trust to buy the buildings we rent. I was involved in a conversation this morning which was quite a positive experience. It did scare me though, because it made me realise that we have such a long way to go to get that sort of dosh. I am not the fundraising type yet I am chairperson of the Night Shelter Trust needing to raise this amount? We are embarking on a journey. This man we were talking with was quite delightful. He was wanting to help us but was also quizzing us. I loved his question. He asked, "What is your weakness?" then followed that with a question to help us discover that. "What keeps you awake at night? What about the Night Shelter do you find yourself worrying about at night?"  What a great question to help you analyse what is going on in your life? 
In two different conversations today I talked about unemployed people. One man, with two University degrees, has been looking for a job for about four years. He has a lowly paid part time job not in the area of his learning and does quite a bit of voluntary work. He had kept a page out of the paper with a job advertisement on it, and he was going to apply, but was not hopeful. He told of another trained person who had similarly been applying for years who had collected hundreds of rejection letters and not even got to interview stage. He found the government ministers going on about there being plenty of jobs to be insulting. Another conversation, however, seemed to suggest that there were plenty of jobs but that people preferred the unemployment benefit to having to work. I got to stewing on that. I recall at least 26 years ago when I was unemployed for a time. I received the unemployment benefit, which wasn't a lot to live on for the family. I ended up getting a job for a well known hardware store as a salesman. I worked 6 days and one evening a week. I received in my hand ten dollars more than I was receiving on the unemployment benefit! Going to work involved extra expense. There was about $40 travel costs each week to get there. I had to provide myself with a reasonable standard of clothing. I worked all these hours and ended up at least $30 worse off than on the benefit! I chose to keep working, but from a purely economical point of view it was silly to do so. A few years ago I was sick of ministry (a regular event) and I applied for and was offered a job back at the same hardware chain.  They were paying the minimum wage. I still had a small mortgage then and that was one factor in turning down the job. I did my sums and a couple, or a small family would struggle to live on that wage! I could imagine that staying on the unemployment benefit and having time to do money saving things (collecting firewood, gardening, etc) would be a better option if you could. Something is wrong here? Then on the other hand you get CEO's and managers on massive salaries and with all sorts of additional perks. It seems unfair.
What does keep me awake at night?
I have had two other people today suggesting that I should stay with the Church and not retire. Nah... that is what keeps me awake at night! - the distance between the ideal Church truly following the way of Jesus, (as I see it) and the reality of the Church as it is, and my inability to bring the two closer together.    I've gone about as far as I can go. 

1 comment:

Keith Harris said...

I suppose I'm being charitable in assuming those who have suggested you should stay in the ministry rather than retire are unaware how much you are looking forward to retirement, the state of your health and the reasons for your dissatisfaction with your church work. If they are not, then they are being selfish. If they are, they are paying you a deserved compliment.