Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, January 26, 2015

When you give you receive...

Brocilflower  - love our vege garden this season. 
Beetroot, celery, onions, garlic, carrots, parsnip, turnips, silverbeet, french spinach, zucchini, mint... 
Peas fattening.
Lovely sweet snow peas. 
Big beautiful cabbage ... life is good.
Grumpy on Saturday
On Saturday I wrote the following on my facebook page. "A most beautiful day in Dunedin today.. but I have been mostly indoors. Doing some Night Shelter stuff for Summer School MBA students, some other Night Shelter phone organising and doing powerpoints and setting up for a Church service tomorrow morning." When I wrote that I was annoyed. It was a beautiful sunny day. Working inside preparing the service and doing Night Shelter stuff for students and others on such a lovely day really peeved me. Added to that the students wanted to meet me at the Night Shelter at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday and that is when I usually go walk/running with my friend. It would interrupt that, so I had to email her to tell her of the change of plan.  I was a tad grumpy. Why did I agree to preach and help lead a service? Why did I get roped into working with these students? Why can't people leave me alone! 
Busy Sunday
I did not sleep well Saturday night, my head was full of my sermon for Sunday morning. We were up early and went down to the little Church to set up the powerpoint, TV and sound system.  We had a hiccup with the computer that gave me moments of panic before the service.  The Parish council ran the service with my wife doing a children's talk and me doing the sermon time. I had powerpoints and a song item on the TV so sort of guided the service along. Then in the afternoon I went to the Night Shelter and spent about an hour with this group of international MBA students as they asked questions and talked about the Night Shelter and fathomed their project. My friend was too busy doing her thing to do our traditional exercise at a different time, so I drove quietly through town wondering whether to exercise alone or just go home. At an intersection I saw a guy who attends the Church I retired from. He had been a special friend we first knew through the drop-in centre we ran, and he had developed a lot in the years we had shared together.  He lives alone and I had not caught up with him in some time. I honked my horn and pulled over. He came to the door of the van. "What are you doing?" he asked, "Where are you going?" I knew that this was his way of saying I'd like to spend some time with you. "Wanna come for a ride?" I asked. "Oh yes, if that's OK?"  He hopped in and we drove about a mile, when I said, "Wanna come home for tea?" "Oh yes, if thats OK? I didn't expect that. That would be nice. Baked beans would do." So I pulled over and rang my wife to check if it was OK. So he came home. We caught up, watched TV, wandered the garden, had dinner (not baked beans) and then the three of us went for a drive in the country before delivering him back home. He is often alone, unemployed and seldom ventures far from town. He was so grateful as we dropped him off at his door. 
Buzz out of giving...
Sunday was busy... It was stressful preaching again, but I knew people had got something out of the whole service. Everything fitted the theme and it was an encouraging service. When we said the benediction together they were looking at each other with broad affirming smiles, sometimes reaching an arm around their neighbour. I received very positive feedback. I enjoyed "mouthing off" to the students at the Night Shelter. They were quality young people and wanted to do a project that would assist us on the Night Shelter Trust. They heard my political angst, and my passion for the poor and once again responded warmly. My friend Robert sat comfortably at home, relishing the friendship we offered. I went to bed very tired, but somehow I was buzzing. My day had been taken over with giving to others. The day before I had been annoyed about the interruptions. But as I lay in bed on Sunday night I felt good. It had been "real". In Church, with the students and with Robbie I had been truly "with" people in the journey of life and it was good and worthwhile living. The wise have always known that, "When you give you receive."

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