Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My retirement days...

I enjoyed working with my son on a project on his house he is building in Christchurch. I have worked with my other children doing DIY stuff... now he has had the dubious pleasure. We had fun!
I often get annoyed with trite sayings on facebook, but I liked this one.
My wife had headed off to the bedroom with our bedtime "Horlicks" drink. I was checking emails and had drifted off into playing solitaire on the computer, while stewing on the day's issues. "What a strange day?" I thought to myself. Here is what took place in the day of a retired parson. 

I rose, had breakfast as I was devouring the morning paper. While drinking my tea I went into the study to read emails and do some of my own, all of which were Night Shelter related. I showered, dressed and raced out the door to meet a friend for morning tea at 10 a.m. I stopped by an ATM machine to withdraw some money and then drove toward the hardware store where we meet in the cafe. My cell phone rang and I parked to answer the call. The night time supervisor from the Night Shelter wanted to ask various questions. I answered and he seemed to want to talk, so at a certain point, aware that I still had a distance to drive, I curtailed the conversation and headed for the store.
I met with my friend, an old Habitat for Humanity colleague and we chatted, sharing health stories, family news and generally sorting the world out. He has some uncertainty about his health and we talked about this. A man came in who used to do electrical work for us at Habitat for Humanity and he stopped by our table. He informed me that he would be happy to do electrical work at the Night Shelter if ever we needed it. 
I went from that meeting to another which was to meet and talk with a woman who is keen to be a member of the Night Shelter Trust. She seemed quite a high powered public servant, dropping names of politicians and powerful people. It was an hour long meeting around yet another cup of coffee, along with others from the shelter committee.
From there I called at a community agency to see if I could chat with a man concerning social housing moves in the city, then on to have lunch with paramedics and others at the Ambulance station. The wife of one of their colleagues has died and I am to take the funeral tomorrow. From there I went to visit the grieving husband and family and talk through the funeral arrangements. It is very sad. His wife died on Monday aged just 49. She leaves two children aged 12 and 10 years of age. 12 years ago I married this couple, and now we were planning her funeral. What do you say? 
After that I raced to some storage units. I met with a couple who have been living at the Night Shelter for a few weeks. They used to attend our drop-in centre. They have had drug problems and mental health problems. I married them 19 years ago. The husband and I loaded my van with a double bed and other stuff from their storage unit and we delivered it to the flat they were moving into. He now has emphysema and the prognosis is not good. They have spent quite a bit of time as homeless people over the years and seem to go from crisis to crisis. But they have a warm spot for me and chatted like long lost friends.
I drove home and tried to phone the parliamentary secretary of a member of parliament who had been trying to reach me. In the evening I attempted more work on night shelter administrative stuff, doing some brainstorming, thinking about the funeral and sending emails. 

Administration work, an old friend, a high powered woman, paramedics, a bereaved husband and his children, and a drug affected couple with mental health issues all in one day. It was a full day's "work" and more. This is typical of my "retirement." My supervisor said today, "I hate to say this, but with your commitment to mission and ministry, and your openness to people, I think your life will look like this until the day you die."

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