Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, October 12, 2015

Who am I?

The old disk pads from our van.
My old "friends" - plumbing tools.

There is nothing like digging a garden, with birds singing about you. 
So handy - firewood gathering vehicle, bedroom, tool box. furniture removal etc.
"Wicked Wanda" recommissioned. Such a great car to drive.
Recently I have been doing a variety of things, some of them physically orientated work along with other more cerebral functions.
As chairman of the Dunedin Night Shelter Trust I have been busy lately buying our premises, talking possible funding options and "running" the operation. We are a governance/working Trust Board and I have been like an executive secretary organising things, doing administrative things, keeping in touch with staff and generally the face of the Night Shelter in the city. Last Tuesday morning for example, I talked to a Rotary group at a breakfast meeting at 7 a.m.; talked with the person on duty overnight at the Night Shelter; had a meeting with a man who had been fundraising for us and began to formulate a letter for him; presented prizes at a big hardware store and received money from the staff who had been doing a walking challenge raising money; then spent time talking with one staff member who is doing community work for us.  It is in some ways out of my comfort zone, but I have been successful. It has been a major role in my life in recent times. 
A couple in the church we attend want a parent/child dedication thanksgiving service and I have been involved in helping that to happen. It has involved emails back and forth, creative thinking and a lunch time meeting on Sunday. This morning I skype chatted with a woman who used to attend my old Church, who is now living back in Hungary, but was visiting Denmark. I had a real friendship with her, she used to call me "Dad". We had not made contact for a long time, but today as we chatted she shared personal stuff and from a distance my heart ached. We "connected" though we were on different sides of the globe. I was her supportive pastor/friend. Today also I visited an elderly couple from my old Church. I have known them since I was a boy, and I knew that they had a long standing dear friend die last week. I took the time to go out and spend time with them. I was a pastoral friend listening to their story, feeling their journey and accompanying them at this late stage in life. I do a similar thing wandering around fire stations, an ambulance headquarters and a brewery for at least eight hours each week.  I enjoy that.
Gardener/ homesteader.
I have been preparing the vege garden to receive this season's crops, and planting some. I enjoy the time to dig, cultivate, and plant.  A part of this role is the continual gathering of firewood to make sure that we have fuel. I enjoy gathering firewood, and keeping the house warm for free. The simple basic earthy physicality of these things is a great feeling for me.
We have three 1990's vehicles. The van needed new disk pads on the brakes. I had done disks before so decided to do them myself. I put on overalls and repaired the brakes. As well as this job I went on to do other tidying up, adjusting type jobs on the van. We had a car which we had not used for nearly two years, we decided to get it operational again. We washed it, did some repairs, fueled it up, freed up linkages and now it is nearly ready for the road again. It drives so nicely.  I love being a mechanic, so enjoyable fixing things, getting things working.
The other day I was having coffee with an old friend who attends a church in town. He had a plumbing job he wanted done at the Church he attends, and asked if I could do it. I went there this afternoon and he and I spent a couple of hours doing this plumbing job. I loved it - in my element, using tools, doing the job I had trained for many years ago and making the system work. 

Such a variety! The thing is in most situations I come away thinking, "This is great! This is me!" I love in my overalls doing mechanical and plumbing things. I love working away in the garden, digging or gathering and chopping wood for the fire. There is something basic and earthy about this. But I love the creativity of preparing a church service. I love the "along-side-ness" of being a chaplain/pastor. The one I feel out of my comfort zone with is the "CEO" of night shelter, but I love that I have been a part of dreaming up, establishing and securing a Night Shelter operation in the city, and seeing it evolve. Which am I? CEO? Pastor? Gardener? Mechanic? Plumber? .... and I guess there are other roles.  I saw a quote yesterday. "Some people are really poor. All they have is heaps of money." I am rich, I enjoy different aspects of who I am. Even at my age I still don't know who I am, which is fine.

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