There have been lots of highs and lows. Lots of intensity and exhaustion, just few moments to stop and rest.
Here are some of the fleeting moments so far in 2017, when there was peace and I took a photo. I am both excited and anxious about my prospects for peace in the immediate future.
Bushwalking and sketching at Mokoroa Falls.
Friday mornings at Cafe Ella.
That 40 degree day when we jumped in the car, drove to Wombara and spent the whole day on the beach.
Taking time out to read Ali Smith.
Discovering Quarrantine Reserve – just up the road from our home.
Chasing the sunrise on Easter Monday.
This afternoon I ran errands around our church building. As I walked across the property towards the main street I heard an excited voice shouting out my name: ‘HEY ALISON!’ A couple of 12 year old boys tumbled out the tree in the front of the church, laughing, then a dozen more started running around up and down the street playing tips, suddenly ignoring me again, wrapped up in their own game.
I got to witness a moment of suburban perfection – young boys, not quite men, still entertained with the place they’ve grown up in, owning the streets and the public places, not anxious or afraid to run around in the open, genuinely enjoying childhood games that they’ll grow out of in about 18 months.
And I only got to witness it because of the perfect timing of three things:
- A year ago I moved back to the suburbs.
- I have been volunteering at the local youth drop in where I’ve met all these kids.
- Our minister’s oldest son is one of these kids – it’s him and his friends running up and down the street and climbing the church trees.
And December is just around the corner, that sweet time for year 6 kids, when school is ending and everything is parties and Christmas is coming and you are on top of the world. This afternoon I was flooded with waves of nostalgia. I am feeling OK about living in suburbia again.
Last week my Yiayia gave me some advice – and it was advice that her Yiayia had given to her when she was a little girl!
“Remember: poor people buy expensive things and rich people buy cheap things.”
Yiayia was explaining why, one time when she needed to replace the lock on her gate, she used her savings to buy a high quality one so she wouldn’t have to replace it for a long time. I liked receiving this advice. It was a good reminder to use money wisely. But also it was pretty cool to get a piece of relevant advice second-hand from a great-great-yiayia who I’m guessing would be more than 120 years old if she was alive today. I felt like I had travelled in time.
The Eucharist is a mysterious thing, and even more so when it’s late on a Saturday night and your husband mentions that the person who brings the bread for the Lord’s Supper is away on summer holidays and you offer to go to the corner store to buy some for tomorrow while he prints off his sermon.
And then suddenly you are out in the darkness among the revellers of Newtown and you are scouring the shelves of the convenience store for the bread and you head back home and its going on midnight. You cross the road with noisy people heading home after a night of partying and you walk down the quiet laneways, swinging the bag of bread irreverently and catching yourself in the act.
“This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
Can you swing the body of Jesus in a plastic bag? Can you swing the bread that is going to be the body of Jesus in a plastic bag?
And you lift up the bag to eye level and stare at the thing and wonder. What really goes on when this preservative filled loaf is consecrated? What is a sacrament? How does this ordinary loaf become a holy thing?
Tomorrow my brothers and sisters will eat his body in rememberance that Christ died for us; they will feed on Him in their hearts, by faith, with thanksgiving. I guess that is the best answer I can come up with right now.
Thanks be to God for rest days, for scripture, for quiet places, for understanding and loving friends, for tea.
For a roof over my head, and for rain on the roof. For a garden I can eat from, for the food others made for me.
It’s hard sometimes to carve out time to sit and rest, to quietly exist. To recuperate from crowds, long drives, endless jobs.
It rained today. It was lovely.
Doctors visits are few and far between for me at the moment. Thank heavens! Health wise, budget wise, time wise – it makes everything easier!
I visited the doctor recently for an extended consultation; it happened to be the week that saving for Christmas had left my budget particularly tight. I prepared myself emotionally (for a long conversation with the doctor), and financially (for a large bill, only half of which would be covered by Medicare).
And then the consultation happened. The best doctor’s visit ever! The doctor was beautiful, perfect bedside manner! Everything was fine, nothing to be anxious about! And then I went outside to pay the receptionist:
“Don’t worry about it sweetie. She put it all on Medicare.”
THANK YOU LOUISE!! What a wonderful doctor to forfeit her extra income for that visit and only take the basic Medicare rate! And THANK YOU GOUGH WHITLAM!! Medicare is amazing and you were a crazy visionary. And THANK YOU to the Lord, for somehow orchestrating this moment to happen at just the right time. I was emotionally wrung out, a little financially stretched – it was a wonderfully practical moment of grace that has left me feeling buoyant and hopeful and very very grateful!
Thanks to my boss for a generous half-day off this weekend started on Friday. It’s been a wonderfully relaxing weekend, filled with just the right blend of alone/people time, indoors/outdoors time and productive/lazy time:
Sitting on the floor of Saz’s living room rocking her beautiful daughter to sleep after her first fever.
Meandering about the backstreets of Newtown and eating gelato with Matt.
Trying out new recipes, relearning to knit, catching up on Arrested Development and dancing to Relient K with Fiona.
Impromptu trip to the Eveleigh markets with the Dunks.
Book club with the book-clubbing crew complete with delicious lunch, new insights into J.D. Salinger and Luci and Dave skyping in from their new home in Texas.
Following up high brow conversations about J.D. Salinger with sneaky readings of Jane Austen fan fiction when I get home a couple of hours later.
Cleaning up the garden in anticipation of spring.
Unpacking our fruit and veg box and cooking zucchini yemistes for dinner.
Two bottles of cider.
All Sunday morning to myself to clean, chill and dance around the house to my favourite songs.
Now to see how the rest of Sunday pans out. I am looking forward to next week after such a lovely weekend!