Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, September 29, 2014

Coming back...High Expectations...

The wee local Church we attend. 
We have been back home in Dunedin for two and half weeks after four months and eleven days away from home. It is nice to be home again, but an interesting experience coming back.  
This afternoon I was a retired man. I constructed raised garden edges outside our sleepouts. 

My Saturday wedding. The bride is a paramedic I have known for about 15 years.

It does not feel like I have retired. I am kept very busy most days. We live about 20 minutes drive out of the centre of the city. We have an acre of ground, which is badly over grown. I have dreams for making our place very productive and a lot tidier than it has been, after all - I am retired now. I have four hours a week (in two, two hour slots - which often extend to three hours) as Fire Service chaplain. I have one hour a week as Workplace Support Chaplain to a brewery. For these two I get paid. I am also voluntary Dunedin Area Chaplain to St John Ambulance which generally takes up at least 3 hours a week. I am chairman of the Dunedin Night Shelter Trust. We are trying to raise $650,000 to purchase our buildings and just keeping the shelter running takes a lot of work. Before I returned from my holiday I had determined to make sure I stayed at home all day on Mondays, Wednesdays and on Thursday afternoons. So far I have been a failure. Last week I had three nights out, and meetings, chaplaincies or other work in town on every day of the week. I conducted a wedding on Saturday. (Possibly my last one) On Tuesday last week as I was driving home I counted up that I had "worked" nine hours that day. (and still had phone calls and emails to do that night) I was paid for just two hours of that work. I will get to saying "no" to some meetings, and try to arrange others on days that fit my schedule. I read the local community paper which had a two page spread about an agency which provides activities for retired people - games, crafts and classes on various topics. I don't think I need their services... boredom, at the moment, is not one of my problems.
High expectations.. how come?
I went to my fire service chaplaincy and various important people said, "It is good to see you back. You have been missed. We need you around here!" I was stunned by the welcome. I asked myself, "What do I do?" I don't have a heap of people flocking to receive counselling?  On Saturday evening at the wedding reception, a woman from my Ambulance chaplaincy came away from the table where her workmates were gathered and talked with me, catching up on various things. Then she said, "Everyone is so pleased to see you back." Again, I ask, why?  I think in Chaplaincy work there is a deep value just in "presence". I don't do a heap of in-depth "counselling", just catch up, chat and listen. Some how that must be of value. It is nice to be valued. We attend the little local Presbyterian Church which has visiting clergy every Sunday. I came out of the service on our second Sunday back and shook hands with the minister for the day, who I had not met before. He shook my hand and said, "You're Mr Brown aren't you? You're the one who does a lot of good?" "Not for the last four months." I replied, then said, "Oh I just do a bit." Then I thought "What a heck of a reputation, but what high expectations!" I just muddle along - really! Another man gave a generous donation to the Night Shelter. "We give to the Night Shelter because you are involved. You have a great track record." Really? I have been fishing to see if we should get somebody else as chair of the Night Shelter Trust, with me carrying on just as a trustee. The job has got big and involves a lot of things outside my area of expertise and most often outside my comfort zone. But everybody I have talked to rebuffs me saying that I am "the right man for the job." All these expressions of appreciation or confidence are fine, but to a certain extent I feel a weight of high expectations. I am an average guy, muddling along. I am essentially shy. I am not particularly gifted. I often procrastinate because I am fearful of mucking things up. These high expectations baffle me and even cause me loss of sleep at nights. "When will they all discover how weak and useless I am?" I wonder. When will my bluff be called? 

I have since seen this which seemed relevant. :-)

1 comment:

Keith Harris said...

O, wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as others see us!