I have had a hospital social worker wanting me to get involved with a man who is a hoarder, an alcoholic and has other mental health issues. He is only 72 years of age but already uses a walker. He has been evicted from his state house and moved to a smaller unit. There have been truckloads of stuff moved from his house and section already, but there are truckloads left. The house smells, is filthy and there are just heaps of junk around. He has "dreams" or plans about what he would like to do with bits of stuff there, but they are unrealistic ideas now. He has strained relationships with his family and, though he is a likable fellow in many ways, his mind is muddled and it is difficult to have a coherent logical conversation with him. I paid three visits there this week. I was there with his hospital social worker on Wednesday. She was keen for me to arrange some transport for some of his stuff to the new house. I tried in vain to tie him down to a time he would be ready. I said I would call with my van on Friday afternoon and help him move his gear. When I arrived on Friday he had just arrived himself and did not have anything ready. He had a 1.5 litre bottle of sherry he had begun to work his way through and declared that he was going to spend the night at his old house. I told him I would be back on Saturday with the van at 10:30 a.m. I went there on Saturday and he had some things ready, but he was in a sad state. He had obviously finished off the sherry, and I suspect some home brew over night. He confessed he had peed his pants three times during the night. (I think that was the stuff I slipped in on the kitchen floor! ) He could not find the shoes he had worn the day before, nor his glasses. I wandered around the house, clambering over things, suggesting things he might like to take and loading them into the van. There were a couple of guys in the yard preparing to move his old truck they wanted to get hold of. I eventually got him loaded into the van with a van load of gear and we went to his new house. I got talking with him and learned a little more about his past life. He once was a successful worker. He had obviously been skilled with his hands at things like welding and metal work. Yet his life is in such a mess. How did he get like this? What turned him? What mucked his life up? What could be done to make it better? He is a lonely man in some respects and seemed reluctant for me to leave. Every bit of stuff I moved or tripped over had a story to it. There are sad people around.
|An old blacksmith's vice I rescued from this man's stuff. It was likely to go to the scrap metal dealer, so he gave it to me. We discovered we have the same love and respect for tools of trade. This is like a piece of art for me.|
I received an email from the chairman of the elders team, a notice to go in the newsletter. It began;
The Elders Team has been working with the National Leadership Team of Christian Churches New Zealand on alternatives for the Ministry of the Church from 2014 onwards."
It went on to inform of a congregational meeting to discuss future ministry. I am looking forward to retirement. Whichever way I look at it, it is time for me to move out of leadership in Church. I am no longer orthodox, I have lost confidence in "Church" and certainly recognise that I do not have the skills to bring about the change necessary. I will do "Jesus stuff" but outside of church structure. I am so looking forward to retirement that I can tell you that I have thirteen Sundays to go, twelve sermons and ninety three days to go. But this announcement drove it home to me that Church-wise I am past tense. There are no more relationships to build, no point in developing new aspects to Space2B or worship and its even doubtful that my Sunday sermons are being heard. Even though I look forward to it, it marks the end of a career, and that brings a certain sadness. I am aware too that the change of ministry will probably mean a complete change in direction for this church. Directions I have attempted will be discarded.
I guess thats why they call it the blues..
I have felt blue this afternoon. Some things hit me as I led this morning's service.
I used as an illustration an event that happened at an ecumenical youth conference I attended (with 1500 others) back in 1966. As I talked about that it hit me that most of us who enthusiastically attended that and explored current issues and the faith, have left the Church. Those who left were the deeper, honest, young adult thinkers. On reflection, I think the Church never honestly faced the changing world views back then, and good young people left in droves, leaving more mundane people to lead the church. There are examples of "successful" looking Church life drawing people into a subculture of old world views with modern music and contemporary style, but they will eventually not stand the test of our times. The rest of us have carried on with business as usual as if we were still in the 50's. We have been reluctant, perhaps fearful or lazy, to think deeply and honestly about modern life and the faith and have lost touch with reality and it all began away back then. I have been unsuccessful and feeling alone in playing "catch-up". Looking back I guess I have perhaps not been urgent enough, have always felt the need to compromise and sometimes I have been gutless, just to keep the peace. Now my time is up. This morning recalling this both saddened and angered me.
In my preparation and presentation as I highlighted the principles I was expounding, I realised that the whole Space2B concept was an expression of these. It has been good, but it has not been allowed to work out as envisaged. It will probably cease to be and I am saddened about that. That is out of my hands and I must let go.
My blues I guess is a part of letting go, and moving on. Positively they are the birthpangs of a new stage in life with new adventures, different experiments and growth ahead. I guess we all can say, that there are some things about the past that could have been better. I hope I continue to journey, exploring the deeper things of life.