Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reflecting on the week...

Grandson Theo.
They change so quickly.. Theo asleep. So cute! Apparently he has not been doing enough of that.
Rationalising bad behaviour...
I drove to Christchurch last Sunday to meet our new grandson. We drove back to Dunedin on Monday leaving Christchurch at 4:45 p.m.  Christchurch is around 361 Kilometres from Dunedin. (As teens we used to say 227 miles) It is a reasonably long drive and in some places boring, with quite heavy traffic near Christchurch. I have been known to drive there, attend a day meeting, then drive home again. I must confess I drove rather quickly up there and back. I would claim that at no stage did I drive unsafely, but I cannot say I did not break the speed limit. I have been reflecting on that. I claim to be law abiding and yet I see nothing wrong in ramping up the speed in passing to make this often boring trip go faster? I recognise I am rationalising bad behaviour. .... but I do love driving. I need to think about that. I have found I can rationalise all sorts of things, sometimes my laziness in getting things done. It is funny how easily we can justify our own bad behaviour, but are not so lenient on others. 
Hard to leave...
While in Christchurch at one stage for perhaps nearly an hour, I had my little grandson sleeping on my chest. He snuggled into me and slept. As I handed him back to his mum, left the room and then drove out of Christchurch there was a sense of sadness. Somehow that time of physical closeness made it hard to leave and I have been wondering how he has been doing all week.  There is a physical bonding between humans that happens. It is one of the mysteries of life.  I don't think we recognise the power of human touch and sometimes we even cheapen it. Anyway it impacted me in some mysterious way. 
Night Shelter hassles.
I have had complaints that some of our Night Shelter residents have not been as well behaved as they could have been. I think that from tomorrow night our problems should be solved. I groaned as I heard about them and wondered what we could do?  Later in the week I was talking to a woman active in a group which meets in our Church. She told of some conflicts within the group, then said, "I guess you'll get that where ever people meet together?" I got to thinking that this is probably true.  People will be people and sometimes we are a problem to others.  Given the nature of some of the people we deal with at the Night Shelter we would be dreaming if we thought it would all be easy going.  I counted up about 10 hours of this week I was involved in Night Shelter conversations, emails or work. It is meant to be a spare time "hobby" type of activity.
Two beautiful women and a great man.
On Wednesday I had a meeting with three women. One was just there to sort of observe, but I had arranged to meet with the other two. One works with the Prisoners Rehabilitation group helping her "little darlings" get back into the world after their stay in prison. The other works for the Salvation Army down at the courts offering assistance to people there. I was struck by their passionate care and concern for the people they work with. In some ways they were hard nuts, they knew the nitty gritty of this group of people and my guess is that they could not be fooled easily. But they had hearts of gold. I had a cup of tea with another guy who volunteers with the Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation group. In an earlier life he has been a policeman and a prison guard. Again, in someways hardened with a sense of humour, but with heart of gold that causes him to go above and beyond the call of duty for these guys. There are some really caring people out there... I need to remember that when I get cynical.
Valentines Day
The local paper was exploring what Valentines Day meant. I have a booklet that says this; "The tradition of Valentines Day began several centuries ago when Valentine was imprisoned and facing execution. During his stay in prison he was befriended by the king's (Emperor's?) niece.  On the eve of his execution he sent a note to her, thanking her for her friendship." Apparently it was Claudius the Cruel who order him to be beheaded in 14th February 278. His crime was that he broke the law by marrying Christian couples.  Another legend says it was his jailer's daughter that he befriended and he sent her a note thanking her and signed it "Your Valentine."  In reality I think there is a great deal of uncertainty about the origins and lots of legend. It is an opportunity to honour special friendships.

Oldest grandchild, Edith from Auckland on a camping holiday.


1 comment:

Keith Harris said...

Valentines - yes, it is as you say, an opportunity to acknowledge your liking for someone, so it must do some good. Similar, in a way, to Mothers' and Fathers' Days. But all of them have been widely observed in this country only in recent times and I can't help thinking the greatest beneficiary by far is the commercial sector - no surprise that they are the very ones who have been proactive in popularising all three annual events as well as having made Christmas the commercial fiasco it has descended to.