Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Friday, January 31, 2014

A day with workplace chaplains.

We were given certificates recognising our years of service. At 20 years I was the longest serving chaplain.
At this time of the year Workplace Support gathers together the chaplains from Otago/Southland and we have a "Commencement Day".  Today in Dunedin was one of the sunniest days we have had this summer, so as I travelled to the event I growled about having to spend this beautiful day inside. Out of the experience of the day I share three things...
I turned up and waited for other chaplains from wider afield to arrive. Clyde, a guy who does chaplaincy at the fire service and city council in New Zealand's southern most city (Invercargill) arrived along with his friend Jim who does chaplaincy amongst the likes of timber workers and freezing workers. As we talked with each other, and later to others in the room, I enjoyed the sense of collegiality. These guys would be a lot more conservative than I am theologically, but we had similar passions, experiences and insights from the chaplaincy work. I appreciated that sense of not being alone in my job.
"Be still and know that I am God."
I frequently get annoyed at chaplaincy gatherings because there are a couple of people in leadership positions who frequently push in devotions, discussions or training events the line that goes, "The carer must care for themselves" or "We can't be doing all the time we must learn to just 'be'" or if you are a busy person, you are made to feel guilty and shallow because you are always active. I understand their message, but it is said so often that it feels a bit like a stuck record.  Sure enough devotions this time emphasised being silent before God, and "just being."  "God" she said, "does not come in activity, but in silence and stillness. We need to have places of silence and stillness." At this something in me wanted to scream, "No you're wrong!" Now don't get me wrong, I know we need silences etc. I have my walks up Mount Cargill, my gardening and other times of "silence". But she is wrong in saying God does not come in activity and busyness. I have had deep and meaningful experiences of the sacred in the busyness. Sometimes in the midst of a chaplaincy or pastoral conversation I sense "the sacred". When I am my most extended and tense, I have calming experiences of partnership, and these have happened e.g. during a funeral service, dashing around in near panic at a christmas day dinner, or scared out of my brain in tense situations in the drop-in centre. When I am working with a group to achieve something, often the divine within and between us emerges.  No! - God does not just come in silence, the sacred emerges anywhere any time.
Why do you do what you do?
We were invited to go away by ourselves and write a sentence outlining why we are a chaplain - a sentence explaining what our motivation is. They wanted us to reconnect with our inner motivation. I came up with two sentences that I will share with you. I would head mine;
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.."
"In the 1970's as a plumber I was disturbed by the disconnection between the lives of my workmates and the way the churches represented God, his purposes and his love. I sensed a "call" to be active in bridging that gap, and now 44 years later that call is still deeply imbedded in who I am as a person and even more of an urgent force in my life."

I ended up being pleased to have attended our commencement day. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ashamed to be a follower.... yesterday.

I went to a funeral yesterday in a Church, I will not tell you the denomination of that Church. The funeral service was opened by the clergy person involved, with a brief prayer. Though the deceased person was religious it was obvious her big family was not. A son was invited to come and give a tribute which he did. Then a person from the Church gave a tribute, but took the opportunity to point out that the woman was "saved by the blood of Jesus like we all can be." We sang a hymn then the clergy person gave a sermon... thankfully quite brief, but essentially it was presenting this version of the gospel... we can be "saved by the blood of Jesus" - "all our sin and stumbling washed away, because Jesus paid the price".  Now I question that theology, and I squirm whenever I hear it. I will save that topic for another post... but... I just think it is inappropriate, uncouth and does the Church and the Christian faith a disservice to take the opportunity of a funeral to hit people over the head with the gospel! It is like saying to the grieving family, "Now we have got you in Church because your loved one has died, you are a captive audience so we will give you double barrels of religion!"  

I think it is unhelpful for those grieving! It is not ministering to their needs! It is not loving in the way Jesus loved! It is not "being all things to all people" as Paul did. It is not pastorally helping the family through the grieving process. It was a pastorally "cold" service. It was offensive and I felt deeply ashamed of the Christian Church. It was in my book, blasphemy!

I suspect Jesus would have been angered as he was angry at the religious zealots of his day for their religion which did not truly love people. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Retirement sound off...

Theo - Christchurch grandson... getting better from being a bit sick. 
Leon - Grandson in Edinburgh. 
Enjoying variety...
Last week I did chaplaincy at St John Ambulance, Fire stations and at the brewery. I had a number of meetings and emails about the Night Shelter. But I did a whole variety of things I have not previously had time to enjoy. I cut a hedge... I hate cutting hedges and we have two to cut. Normally I exhaust myself rushing through the two of them on my one day a week off. But now I am retired I tackled the front hedge then decided to do something else. I'll tackle the side hedge "some other time", I now have other days open to me. It is great to have that freedom. This week I have planted vegetables, done plumbing repairs, installed a lock at the Night Shelter, repaired a weed eater, cut long grass, weeded a garden, slept in, watched cricket, doctored goats' feet, cooked a couple of meals, and enjoyed four sessions of exercise. I am enjoying time to do stuff I did not have time to enjoy before retirement.
On the scrap heap...
Having said that, there is a sense that I am feeling a little bit that I am on the scrapheap of life and passed my "used-by" date. What am I doing to really make a difference? Do I just puddle with the superficial till I die, hanging around "waiting for God"?
Where do I fit?
We have been attending the local presbyterian Church. I am enjoying meeting another group of people. I think it is the sense "community" that I look forward to, and not the service itself. I enjoy the fact that I can bump into these folk at the local supermarket, or on my walk around the block.  But of three services we have attended, I have been disappointed with the content and level of competence of the ministers leading two of the services. The Church cannot afford full time ministry so they have a roster of visiting leaders.  These guys would have struggled to graduate as ministers in the college I trained at. Without blowing my own trumpet, on my worst day - and I had plenty - I would still have been much more effective than these blokes. (My criticism of many ministers from mainstream churches is that they write sermons and prayers as great theological compositions if they were in a book and you were reading them. But it has to be different when you are speaking! Paint pictures, have short sentences, look at the people, get and keep rapport etc.) Now as I say, it does not impact on me that much, we are there for the "community" feel, touching base with fellow Christians in our area. But today I got impatient. The needs in the community, the nation and world are incredible and the church should be taking seriously its calling to make a difference and an impact for good in the community.  A week or so ago we had a guy in the next suburb shoot his kids and himself, and the church seems to be content to muddle along.  If a searching person were to walk in, what on earth would they find? ... That raised the question in my mind... where do I fit? I have expressed a reluctance to do upfront stuff, but if there is this desperate need, maybe I should be?  I could do better than these guys and I am sitting in the pew trying my best to support the speaker by actively listening! (But finding myself squirming impatiently) I am still doing chaplaincy, and the Night Shelter stuff, but how am I going to assist my local community with the skills I have? I would love to explore community service options in this that area we live in, but where do I get a handle on them? My wife keeps chanting at me a phrase I use. "It will 'emerge' in due course." she says. I know she is right. I guess I will have to wait and see.
Drugs and booze...
At one of my night shelter meetings I talked with a lady who works with prisoners, trying to reintegrate them into society. We deal with such people in Phoenix Lodge which the Night Shelter Trust runs, and also many pass through the Night Shelter itself.  We had encountered the needs in our drop-in centre. But this lady told us stories of her "little darlings".  Again and again, just when they are making progress, drugs or booze pulls them down again. Under the influence they do stupid things. They spend rent money and food money on getting their supply. She told us the incredible number the local public health drug and alcohol people currently had on their books. I knew that was just the tip of the ice berg.  As I drove away the faces of those I knew whose lives had been wasted passed through my mind. Countless lives are ruined, thrown down the garbage tube of life by the powerful, destructive presence of drugs and alcohol. I talked just this morning to a mother who ached for her very beautiful, intelligent and talented daughter who struggles with alcohol issues.  The issue was raised in a full page article on Saturday's paper. The disruption and violence on our streets because of alcohol abuse was highlighted. Two days before the Emergency Department at the hospital was reporting how alcohol and drug problems overloaded their work, meaning others needing care suffered longer waits. I have little patience with people making or importing drugs. Legal highs are causing untold problems for people. I am annoyed that they are sold. I am a chaplain to a brewery, and sometimes I have felt uncomfortable with their advertising. But my wife and I had a wine and a beer as we relaxed last night? There is a culture of binge drinking. There seems to be a lack of hope, little sense of worth and of meaning that causes people to abuse these substances. It is extremely sad.  Again it raises the question for me, "How can I live so that in some small way I help people to overcome these life destroying ways?" 

Where do I fit now? I can switch off being a minister, but I can't switch off a caring heart. There is still a "voice" calling me to make a difference. It will emerge... just now I am in limbo.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Pushing myself..

With the system of self-catheterisation that I have, it feels like I am always battling some sort of infection. Last week it wasn't much fun - I will spare you the details. I managed to get to the doctor on Friday. He has sent me for blood tests, gave me anti-biotics (I hate having to take them) and was also worried about a mysterious lump under my arm. Today I had a nasty needle into it three or four times for a biopsy. 
I have been trying to get exercising again. Two weeks ago I went for a bike ride, another day that week I rowed madly and spun on my stationary bike. Last Sunday I ran/walked 10k, and went for a fast paced walk on Wednesday. ... and on Saturday... with an infection.. I climbed.
A couple of years ago I had a discussion at a Church leaders' meeting. I was trying, in vain, to gain the support of the leaders to introduce a program. One elder in particular was strongly against the move, arguing very vociferously against me. I was looking for compromise and suggested we could give it a go and if it got too difficult we could simply decide to give it up.  He glared at me and all but yelled,"You have never given anything up in your life, David! You would never give it up!"  He was wrong, I have given things up. But he was right, I am a stubborn old coot and will persist with things long after others fall by the way.  That is what I found out with my exercise on Saturday.
I climbed my mountain. Except the road to the starting point of my usual track is still blocked by a slip that happened months ago. I had to walk from Sawyers Bay, up a track called "Grahams Bush Track", then walk across a road and do my normal "Organ Pipe Track."  My guide book says Grahams Bush Track should take one and a half hours up and you climb a height of 350 metres. You actually climb more like 400 metres because there are a couple of creek valleys where you climb, then descend into the creek, only to climb again, and descend into the next creek. The Organ pipe track says one to one and a half hours to the top of the mountain, and you climb 300 metres. .. a total of 650 - 700 metres with some pretty rough terrain.  I set out with my infection making me feel less than energetic. I completed Grahams Bush in just over an hour, reaching the road with my lungs bursting and my legs aching. My wife had suggested that I should just do that... but I wanted to be on top of my mountain again, it seemed ages since I had been up there. The organ pipe track begins with a steep stair way and path. I thought about not doing it, but my stubborn streak kicked in and I pushed on, completing the trek to the top in 55 minutes.  I sat, ate some fruit, had a drink and headed down. It was really hard on my legs stepping over rocks going down. When I got back to my van I had walked for three and three quarter hours, climbing in excess of 650 metres. I REALLY loved my soak in the spa that night. It is not good to exercise too vigorously with an infection, but my stubbornness would not let me give up. On Sunday I went for a jog/walk with my running friend. She is keen that we do a 10k fun run early in March. She was probably frustrated with me. My feet ached, my lungs never got going and my knees ached, so our run turned into a fastish walk. ... But I enjoyed my climb! I love the bush, the birds and the physical challenge, but I probably would have been better to have dawdled up half the distance.... It was when I was soaking in the spa, sore from the waist down, that I remembered my Church leader's words, "You have never given up anything...!" 
I had an email from a Baptist parson (a liberal guy) asking if I could lead a service on February 23rd. I am not sure how to answer. I am enjoying the break.  I have known retired ministers who seem to ache for some opportunity to preach somewhere, but I have not felt that need. At the moment I feel like I would be happy not to preach again. .. but then I know this guy's predicament.. it is hard to find a stand in. Wait and see. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Move on...

We recently erected a gazebo around our spa. - very decadent!
My last post had me thinking about my past ministry position, and feeling again the frustration that given different circumstances, so much more could have been accomplished. I did that post as a sort of catharsis, reflecting on the emotional journey of my retirement. It was a part of the exercise of "letting go" of the past twenty seven years. I have been reminded of two important truths.

In his autobiography (The Ultimate Challenge) Ron O'Grady reflected on past choices he had made that determined the direction of his career. He says something really wise...

"In later years it becomes an interesting topic for speculation but there is no place for "what if?" in life. The choices we make must be accepted as right and we move on from there.

The clearest fact of life is this
What might have been is not what is."

Lesson number 1 - you cannot change the past.

A friend in Australia upon reading my last post offered me this...

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
By the things that you didn’t do
Than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines
Sail away from the safe harbour.
Catch the trade winds in your sails

Mark Twain.

Lesson number 2 - move on.... 

I leave the past behind, whatever it's "what ifs?"  I have a new future unfolding and it will be exciting to see where it leads. 
A song I enjoy goes like this...

One more step along the world I go,
one more step along the world I go;
from the old things to the new 
keep me traveling along with you..
And it's from the old I travel to the new; 
keep me traveling along with you.

Monday, January 13, 2014

How is retirement? - Good and bad

 I have so many people when they first see me ask this question, “How is retirement?”  I have only been retired 16 days! … and even then I have had a funeral and have been sorting through “work” stuff.  But let me share current feelings with you. Retirement, even if it is looked forward to involves grief and one of the “stages” of grief is anger.  Mixed in with all the feelings of retirement I am also dealing with feelings of anger.
Retirement is good – I am finding that I am sleeping very soundly. Over recent years I have been waking in the early hours and have had my mind going flat tack for several hours before dozing off again, if I got to doze off at all. Since retirement happened I have been sleeping well. I played around with a blood pressure monitor a couple of days ago and I am sure my blood pressure has dropped considerably.  I have been doing various projects and chores around the house. Whenever I did projects before I had but one day a week to complete them in, so I worked always in a rushed manner. I found myself working at the same frenzied pace with projects since retirement, then I would pull myself together and say to myself, “You have tomorrow and the next day to do this. Slow down and enjoy doing it at a more relaxed pace!”
Retirement sucks. I drove away from the Lookout Point fire station the other day and automatically set a course for my office at the Church. It was a habit of many years… finish chaplaincy and head back to the office before heading home. Part way there I remembered… I have no office in town now! On the light side I have no free park, coffee making facilities and toilet available in the centre of the city – retirement means I have lost those perks. But the day I put my Church keys in the Church safe and left the building for good I was sad.
  •   I had enjoyed an office in town with a computer, printer and photocopier, which has been a centre for a lot of work for the Church, Habitat for Humanity and for the Dunedin Night Shelter Trust. It was a place where people from my chaplaincies, drop-in centre, Habitat, Night Shelter Trust, church members, or people from the community could call in, have a cup of tea and have access to me.  There I have counselled, listened to marriage woes, discussed wedding plans, offered support, built relationships and planned projects. It was a base for good in the centre of the city. I will miss that.
  • As I looked at the Church building, I thought about the many relationships established there. No longer would I play table tennis, hug John, joke, encourage, scold, and tease my friends at the drop-in centre. I have enjoyed building friendships with people on the edges of Church life, at Space2B, new folk in the congregation, users of the building and others.  Through this building and my work I have continued relationships with Church members, many I have known since my childhood. I will miss these in a profound way.
  •   I will no longer enjoy the creative buzz of crafting a Church service, bringing together music, film clips, prayers and reflections so that they communicate in an interesting way.  I will miss that.
  •    I had a dream of slowly building a different model of Church, a creative community centre that fudged the lines between Church and Community. We went part of the way toward that, but the job seemed unfinished.

As I drove away I thought of all the good things I would miss about being a minister and I was sad. I was part of a force for good in the middle of the city. Through this institution and these buildings I expressed myself and my passions.  I can look back with pride. But… there is a sense in which I ask, “Who am I now?”
Then I asked myself, “If it was so good, why am I retiring? Why not continue doing the good there?”
Here is my answer…
  •        I am 65 and for years I have worked 6 days a week and been on call 24/7. It is time to have more free time to explore different things life has to offer. I owe it to myself, my wife and my family.
  •        My denomination has changed. Change is a must and inevitable, but I happen to think some important emphases have been lost and some destructive approaches adopted. When a minister can no longer feel good about his denomination it is time to find another job. .. I have grown weary of the battle.
  •          My dream for the Church and my concept of “Church” is very different than the traditional and even contemporary “imperialistic” views of the Church. There is always going to be frustration and uneasiness between “normal” church people and leaders and me. I have grown weary of the battle.
  •         As part of this tension there were a couple of people in different leadership positions that I found hard to work with.  I found it difficult to find a forum to talk the issues through. Also we found that while the general congregation, allowed me to do different stuff, there was not a heap of people willing to really get involved in the work.  (even 27 years ago when they were much younger.) I used to laugh. Many would say with pride, “We are a community minded Church!” Under my breath I would say, “Well no - there are a few of us busting our gut to be a community minded Church – most are passengers.” – I have grown weary of the battle.
  •         I hate the organ. I found that I was increasingly repulsed by its sound and there was an unwillingness to change. (A survey showed 95% of NZ’ers dislike organ music) I felt it’s heaviness and dominance caused harm to the atmosphere I was trying to create in worship … I have grown weary of the battle. (Having said that I attended a worship service on Sunday with an organ. It was there, assisted the singing well but was almost beautifully unnoticed because of the sensitive way it was played. – In my view musical instruments whatever your choice, in worship are meant to be like a referee in rugby, he is there doing an important job, but not dominating the play.)
     I could go on or go into more detail, but that is enough negativity. I became a minister largely because I perceived a gap between the Church and real life for people in the community. I have a book entitled, “The reality of the world and the unreality of the Churches.” The title expresses my concern.  I am pleased to say that we bridged that gap in all sorts of ways. While I would have dearly wished for more, I am pleased with what we achieved. In the final half of my career I was exploring and trying to get the Church to focus on the servant ministry of Jesus in the community. I wanted us to ask the question, “What does it mean for us as followers of Jesus to express our following as a group?”  The default questions seem to be “how do we survive/grow as an institution?” – These are very different issues so it was always going to be a battle. Over all there has been little conflict, mainly because I tried to take frustratingly small steps toward change, and, perhaps because I am a coward, I avoided conflict and most often bit my tongue and seethed inside. – but the changes have not been enough, the job is unfinished and … I have grown weary of the battle.
I guess others will have different viewpoints on my career, and I am deeply aware I have many weaknesses and failings.
Revisiting trauma - We have received a few phone calls from a church leader seeking information. Sometimes in conversation people want to discuss our Church. At the moment, in spite of all the good things we enjoyed in ministry, when such conversation happens it is like the opening up of old wounds, or revisiting a traumatic experience. I avoid even driving past the building. Anger and sadness emerges within me. That is part of the grieving process and it will change.
Henri Nouwen wrote a book about “ministry” appropriately entitled “The wounded healer.” A sentence from that indicates a feeling I have often had in my forty years of church ministry.  “Many Churches decorated with words announcing salvation and new life are often little more than parlours for those who feel comfortable in the old life, and who are not likely to let any words change their stone hearts into furnaces where swords can be cast into plough shares, and spears into pruning hooks.”

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I listened to my sermon...

My grand daughter open to life and exploring the world. 
"Unless you become as little children..."
In my final sermon on the last Sunday of 2013 I bounced off the "Road to Emmaus" story and talked about "Walking with the sacred in 2014." Since then the sermon has evoked more thinking in my head.  I have moved on from the content of my sermon to deeper implications and cogitations. I began to ask "What is the essential spiritual attitude that enables faith to be real? What is the heart of how to live in a God centred 'more whole' way?" In thinking about it I decided on an attitude of "openness".  I think it goes beyond religion to "How to experience life at depth and live meaningfully."

What do I mean by "openness"? Many years ago I attended a night school art class. I painted a few pictures, but discovered that the process of painting made me take more notice of the world about me. I noticed how many shades of green there were. I noticed the colours in the physical world around me.  Facial expressions fascinated me. I began to see detail that I used to be blind to.  I noticed the impact of shadows. I saw normal everyday things and experienced their beauty. I was "open to see" really see, the world about me.  I have a friend who takes an interest in photography, and when we walk she see's things, notices angles, light and perspectives. Sometimes she'll stop and point in some direction and say, "Look at that! Isn't it beautiful?" or "Look at those colours! See the way the light is hitting the leaves!" Because of her photography she is "open" to see. Often I have blindly walked past that which she is pointing out. The openness that I think is important is like that. 
Another illustration is that I tend to eat very fast. If I am hungry I will bolt down my meal like a starved dog. My wife will look at me in disgust and ask "Did you taste that? - I spent a long time preparing a nice meal and you just gulped it down!" Openness is really tasting life at depth. 

I see three areas where openness counts.
Openness to life
I was at the Nugget Point Light House walk the other day. Down the cliff we could see a seal nursary, mother seals with their young. I immediately aimed my camera and zeroed in on them. Then I began to walk away. "Something" (possibly old age) told me to stop and experience the seals. Watch the pups and their mothers relating. See how they move. etc. etc.  Don't just see them as a photo opportunity, experience their world - you may never get another chance!  I see this openness as a life essential. It will mean that however long I live, I will get value out of my years. As I thought on this theme I found myself asking questions of myself...

  • Am I open to life's variety of experiences or do I limit my experiences of life to my comfort zone? 
  • Do I notice my good health, my abilities to do things, the wonders of the human body or do I take these for granted?
  • Am I open in relationships to be loved, to love, to let myself be known, to risk involvement, to feel?
  • Am I open to sensuality, the taste, the sight, the sounds the feel of things about me, and the feel of doing whatever? 
  • Am I open to people, in all their variety or do I just like the people like me, and put everybody else in boxes?
  • Am I open to people in conversation? Sometimes we think we have been friendly to another when we have just talked at them. Do I listen to others? or am I busy preparing what I want to say?
Openness to "the sacred" in life.
Good religious people would say "Are you open to God?" I am thinking beyond that. I think there are experiences of the sacred whether or not you believe in God, or whether or not your belief is theistic.  Somebody has said, "God is that which is ultimately important to us." (I think Tillich wrote something like that)  A recent creed says "God is Love, the cosmic creativity present everywhere and in everything, gently urging all toward the good." We experience the sacred in those moments when all the superficiality of life dims, and that which is important "emerges".  I conducted a funeral a few days ago.  In preparation I went to the family of the deceased and sat with them for a while. I asked questions about their loved one and they began to talk. They told stories. They laughed. They cried. They sometimes linked hands with the person next to them, or massaged their back. But as we talked, and they were not a religious family, there was a sense of the sacred there. Their love for their lost loved one, their love for each other and their remembering of the journeys they had been on together meant that love emerged. As I left it was like I had been somewhere special. They thanked me profusely for the time and I thanked them. As I thought about openness to the sacred I ask myself these questions...
  • Am I open to the sacred in conversation with others? Do I avoid talking values, love or expressing anything too deep? 
  • Am I willing to spend time alone free from distractions so that deep values can emerge in my mind and heart? Or do I insist on always being entertained so I can go through life superficially.
  • Do I take time to reflect on life and sense the lessons, taste the depth in my experiences and feelings? Like a cow chewing its cud, do I take time to revisit experiences and see them in a deeper way?
  • Do I sense the sacredness in myself and in others? The other person is a person, a "thou" not just a thing to be used.
  • Do I sense the sacredness in relationships? That somehow the dynamic, the "forcefield" between people or within a group is special.
The other aspect of being open to the "sacred" is listening to the "call on our life" of that which is important. Am I open to the inherent "authority"in that which is ultimately important? Am I willing to be moulded and shaped by it? To the religious this is "the call of God" but I believe it is a common experience in life. The intrinsic authority in deeper values "speaks" to us and "calls" us.

Openness to others... who ever or whatever they are.
 We begin life and basically see our parents as extensions of ourselves. Those funny shapes serve us. They feed us, change us and keep us warm. Gradually we get to see them as separate people. Some of the "terrible twos" behaviour is this having to fit in with these other "shapes" who sometimes do different things than that which we want them to do. We begin to realise there are "others". Truly whole people become more deeply aware of others. We evolve empathy for others and seek to see the world through their eyes. To the more evolved of us the others begin to include the world about us, animals, the seas, and the world of nature. We live more empathetically within the universe. So questions I ask myself can be...
  • Am I open to see that others have needs that I can help meet?
  • Am I open to taste the other, not just as something useful for me, but as an interesting other alongside of me?
  • Am I open to sense the essential solidarity I have with others in the journey of life?
  • Do I ask myself "How would I feel if that were me?" about other people? about animals? about nature?
I burble - just thinking out loud - but this is how my mind has been going. "Openness" is a healthy disposition to have as we live - open to "life" - open to "the sacred' - open to "the other".

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pics and a quote from a few days' holiday.

Pounawea Falls in the Catlins area.
My son with his exuberant, expressive daughter exploring the sea at Kaka Point. 
18 month old grand daughter busy exploring life as per normal.
The view from the front courtyard of the house we rented.
On the walk to Nugget Point Light House.
The light house - now automatic.

We went for a few days holiday down to Nugget Point on the coast about one and a half hours south of Dunedin. The weather has not been really warm so we have been reading magazines in the house we are renting. I share this quote from  NZ artist Bill Sutton who died in 2000;
“When I have my breakfast I cut off a slice of bread for myself and one for the birds. We are in it all together.” He wrote that in 1992. Quite a healthy perspective.
I have realised how tired I am. The lead up to Christmas and my retirement was very busy. While on holiday I did not have to sit or lie very long before I fell asleep during the day. It was like my body was slowly releasing years of tension. As soon as I relaxed I tended to get drowsy. 
That all changed with a phone call. I had a firefighter phone and ask if I would take his father's funeral. Of course I said "yes", (I know the family reasonably well) but even though it is days away, I am feeling the old tension rising. I have been retired less than a week and I get work? I hope it does not keep happening this frequently.