Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bad news - Good news.

Son and grandson after a feed.
We have enjoyed two Aussie visitors, this little visitor had Aussie ancestors.
I have a "rebore" (TURP) operation coming up on the 18th of March. I will share with you my feelings.

  • Uncertainty - I did what I should not do and looked on the internet. I saw there all the possible negative outcomes from such surgery. Of course they gave percentages but you never look at them. Incontinence of various sorts! No sexual functioning or other difficulties. They even listed the chances of going blind and even death! It did not make great reading. Anyway uncertain is how I feel.  I do not even know how many Sundays I am likely to have to find cover for?  I have talked with people who have had the operation and they have told me dismal stories. But doctors assure me that it will solve my problems. So I am apprehensive about it all to some degree. If you are a doctor reading this, please make sure you take time to talk with your patients about their treatment. 
  • "No sex!" - the specialist who talked to me about the operation at the start said there was a one-in-twenty chance of not being able to "get it up" after the op and there could be other difficulties. Other people who have had the op said, "Of course you know your sex life will be over!" They have sometimes added, "I guess at your age that does not matter." Well yes it does! Sex is still a part of my life. My wife and I enjoy the intimacy, the play and the "selfishness" of it. We spend our lives doing stuff for others, this is something we enjoy for ourselves. It is stress relief. It is affirming and somehow an energising part of life. I cannot imagine life without it. I have been known to call it my hobby. I do not like that prospect. I hope I am one of the 19 but I guess I will cope with the change if it happens!  At some stage of life it will happen anyway.
  • A new experience. - I was in hospital a couple of times as a child but I barely remember the details. The whole experience of the operation, the hospital stay, being dependent on others will be new and different for me. I am a bit of a private man so it will in some ways be out of my comfort zone. I hope the new experience will be a growing experience for me. Maybe it is an opportunity to grow "spiritually". (By that I do not mean religiously, but inner personal development)
Don't tell me what to do!
Do you get mad at people telling you what to do? My wife sometimes tells me how to drive. I get angry. (we'll say impatient)  Sometimes I have been known to say emphatically, "Stop telling me what to do!" I recall a man telling me, an ex-plumber, how to clean a drain! Well when people know that I am looking to retire they begin to tell me what I should do.  I do not know what I am going to do, but I do know that initially, perhaps for a year I am going to do virtually nothing.  I have at least a year's worth of lovely repairs, maintenance and development to do on my house and acre. I need to rest up and find myself in my new capacity. I have people saying, "You will take my funeral won't you?" I have others saying, "You will be preaching somewhere?" Others have ideas for what I should do. I have spent forty years marching to other peoples' agendas. When I retire I will choose. (or more correctly "we" will choose.)  Now I do not mean I will live totally selfishly.  To do that would be a denial of what my life and work has been about. I will still be reaching out to others. Apart from anything else, I find that the truths of Jesus' way become real in that sort of lifestyle.  It is simply deeply rewarding, it brings about growth and keeps you young. I will still be trying to make a difference for good in the world, but I will choose the style, timing and methods. 
Good news..
I guess I'm getting nostalgic but today, a day I'm feeling seedy, I reflected on a few bright spots. 

  •  I had a message left on my office phone from a man who used to be part of our Space2B and drop-in centre. He has work now and we hadn't heard from him since Christmas. He rang and was quick to say, "I'm not in trouble - don't worry. I just want to catch up." He left his numbers and I have tried - but isn't that neat. Like a son checking in with his parents. 
  • I had a phone call followed by an email from the local citizens advice group.  "The Committee thought that it would be good to hear from you about the wide range of activities run by the Church of Christ, your outreach to the wider community."   Fancy that? It is some sort of recognition from this secular group that the direction we have gone in, is right and credible. From their point of view it seems, we have something worthwhile to offer the community. 
  • I called at Phoenix Lodge on Monday evening and saw one of our tenants. After three months in there he has outlasted the ankle bracelet the courts made him wear. He interacted with friendship and confidence. Phoenix lodge is making a difference. I was in touch with the Night Shelter manager and he told me that last night there were five clients in. A few years ago there was no night shelter in Dunedin! They would have slept rough!  Now we have a good quality service available.  I was part of a group of four people who met for lunch a few years ago to talk about the need.  I have to pinch myself and remind myself, "I had an important part in that! Wow!" 
  • A drop-in centre guy rang up. "How are you Dave Brown?" he asked.  "Friday night is good. Just wanted you to know I'll be there this week." I like that we are offering a place for people like him to gather and enjoy. It is another worthwhile thing I have been involved in.
Anyway today I needed to count up some successes.

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