Last Saturday I helped hang a new TV at Phoenix Lodge. There I met a young man who I warmed to immediately. He came into the room where we were working to make breakfast and seemed at first evasive. But then he stopped and chatted. He told us about the brain tumor he had and the operation he had gone through to remove it. He showed us the scars, running right from his ear down to his neck. The other side of his face was twisted and he had an eye that would not shut that he had to keep blinking with his hand. I expressed my sadness at his predicament and said, "It must be tough?" "No" he said, "I'm just happy to be alive! I was expecting to be dead." Then he told us of his attempts to get a job and his dreams for the future. He was so positive when he had every reason to be otherwise. Life was tough for him but he seemed to want to make it better. I was so impressed, I wished I knew ways I could help him. I hope he does not get knocked back by the harsh economic realities out there.
"Privileged" - A nice surprise.
Today my wife got handed an envelope by a thoughtful lady in our congregation. It was addressed to both of us. The letter inside started; "I decided not to wait until you retire to say a huge 'thank you' for the privilege of being in your congregation." The rest of the two page letter went on to rave about how good our ministry is and what it has meant to her. It was a big surprise. I thought I did not do the best job this morning so I felt a bit guilty receiving this today. She is a person who does not waste praise, a woman with definite views but someone who thinks deeply about life. A letter from such a person means a lot. I have often looked at her while I have been preaching and thought, "Oh she won't like this." But I guess I don't know everything. I am sure she disagrees with me on some things, but she is big hearted enough to see past my flaws.
|Heading up Flagstaff- the little protrusion on the skyline is the summit.|
|On the track toward Swampy Summit - if you look closely on the skyline you can see a tower - the summit I was hoping to reach.|
Fathers' Day treat.
Today I went for a big walk in the hills above Dunedin. I headed up the hill called Flagstaff intending to go over it and onto Swampy Summit. As I was puffing my way up the track I saw this grey haired "elderly" man in a hat coming down with two walking sticks. I thought to myself, "Isn't it good that he is still exercising at his age." As we got closer suddenly this man called, "David Brown, it's good to see you." I had known him since we were teenagers together, he would be only two years older than me! He attended the last funeral I led and we had chatted just before the ceremony. A day or so after I received a beautiful card from him commending me on leading a great funeral and wishing me all the best for my MRI scan. Now on the track we chatted away for quite some time. I know a lot of people but friendly conversation in which I am not in a ministerial/chaplaincy role does not happen that often, so I enjoyed talking for some time. We said our goodbyes and while I enjoyed the chat, I was concerned because I knew it meant I would have to rush to get to Swampy Summit and back before dark. I walked over Flagstaff and I was about ten minutes from the top of Swampy Summit when I decided to play it safe and turn back. I think it was the right decision though I hated it at the time - the sun went down just before I reached the car park. We are so fortunate in Dunedin. With a few minutes driving we can walk amongst bush, tussock and high hills catching breathtaking views. I enjoyed my wander today amongst the tussock, above the clouds and among the birds. My wife told me it was my Fathers Day present.