Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Reflecting on my week...so far.

Advocating for the vulnerable
At different times I find myself standing up for the vulnerable people of our community. When I first began standing on the street for the night shelter street appeal I found some people passing pretty judgmental comments about the people using our facilities. At different times I have had to justify our drop-in centre, or advocate for some family in a Habitat for Humanity home. On Tuesday night I had to stand in front of a bunch of fairly well off Rotary club participants and plead the cause of our night shelter. I don't mind doing this, and even when I receive some flak, it only tends to make me dig my heels in and stand my ground. We are in this life together. We are here to help each other. But sometimes I am disappointed by the people I am advocating on behalf of. Sometimes one or two of the Habitat for Humanity house owners I have argued for have done things that disappoint. I called at our phoenix lodge today and was disappointed with one of the rooms. Some times drop-in people do things and I can almost hear the people who are impatient with such people saying, "I told you so!" I will continue to stand up for the vulnerable, but at times it gets hard.
"The Doctor says..."
I went along to my hospital appointment with the urology clinic. I was hoping for some answers and some progress with my "plumbing" issues. What I heard was not that encouraging. It seems my bladder is damaged and I may have to have this system of self-catheterisation for the rest of my life. The Doc did say that it could improve, but the tone of voice seemed to negate the positive. I can live with it, there are a heap of people living with a lot worse. He did assure me that they found no cancer when they did the operation. I have felt drained lately and had wondered if I was battling some infection in my plumbing system. They tested that and I had a phone call tonight to say I need antibiotics. The doctor did some other checks, consulted the specialist and is sending me for an MRI scan, "just to be sure there is no cancer." I had moved past the cancer possibility and this seemed to raise it again. I am trying to forget it and will wait with a positive mind for the scan. Life is an adventure. I learned of the death of a retired firefighter today. The last time he and I talked we compared notes. He had been down the prostate problem track like I am going down. He had to battle cancer. I was sad, I enjoyed his company whenever we met.
Being shy sucks....
I talked at this Rotary Club on Tuesday night. I put a lot of effort into my talk, I wanted to present the work of the night shelter Trust and its needs in as persuasive way as possible. While speaking I noticed my hands were shaking. Today I conducted a funeral. I found myself in preparation not trusting my skills. Editing and re-editing and sometimes procrastinating on writing the final sentences. Again as I ventured to the front of the funeral chapel I found that my nervousness kicked in. Even sometimes making phone calls to people, particularly strangers, especially if I want to ask something of them, I have to psych myself up to dial the number. This is one reason I am not good at delegating tasks. I will sometimes do them myself rather than risk rejection in asking others. Here I am nearly 65 years of age and I am still essentially shy. I can do things, but my shyness means that it takes an extra effort. I guess that is one reason I am looking forward to retirement - I may be able to be more reclusive then. By the way I received very positive feedback about both my Rotary club talk and the funeral today.
Who would have thought?
Today I conducted the funeral for a man who died last week at age 68. His wife rang me last Friday morning and told me of his death. She is a life long friend of my sister. At the funeral I got to talk with her brother. He and I went through school together, primary school, intermediate and high school.  We were playmates as young boys at school. He came to our youth group as teenagers. I had not seen him in years - probably 44 years. I enjoyed today's conversations and think that we may catch up more frequently in the future. I fished out an old photograph and looking at it I thought that we would never have thought back then that I would be a minister and that I would take this girl's husband's funeral. It would have seemed a most improbable option. I was just not minister material. Today we shared our live's journey, but also we talked about future possibilities, how we were growing and evolving as people. My friend has been a successful book designer/editor and is currently writing a book. (He always was clever) As I look at this photo, and think of where we have been, I realise that you never know what adventures in life are ahead. Back then I would never have thought today's funeral would have happened as it did.
The widow from todays funeral is the girl in the dark clothing on the left of the photo.  I am at the back, my head intersects the edge of the building. My friend I caught up with today is on my left, you can see his head between the front row twins. This was some members of the North East Valley Church of Christ Youth Group about the mid 1960s. 

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