On Monday, only four days after my Opera experience I went to the art gallery for the Monet and the Impressionists exhibitions. I felt very cultural and it was fantastic. As someone who doesn’t mind the art gallery but wouldn’t normally say I am passionate about it I was very much blown away. I am reluctant to say much more as I am sure I will make my lack of understanding about art obvious but I just loved the way they are more about painting the emotion of a place than actually getting it technicallly correct. For example, there was one painting that I looked at for awhile. I was very conscious of a person there and what they were thinking. When I looked again I realised that the person was actually more a shape but it was more a person to me than a lot of other more technically brilliant persons. if that makes sense? I also loved the colours and the light. The way Monet can paint the same thing a couple of times but at different times of day but they look so different just because of the colours. I think this may be the sort of thing my mother has been trying to tell me most of my life so I hope she does read this post. After my friend Jenny with whom I went to the gallery shouted me lunch at the Botanic gardens restaurant. Also, a very special lunch.
Last night I went to the Opera. Goldman Sachs JBWere put on a Community Tribute Concert to which they invited staff and volunteers of local NGO’s to the Opera to say thanks for the work we do. I thought it was a lovely gesture. It wasn’t a particular Opera rather about ten different pieces from famous Operas which gave us a bit of taste for what Opera is all about. It was quite amazing really and it was at the Opera House which added to the specialness.
In regards to other little blessings I have finally got some sleep. Life is so much easier on good sleep. I also receieved a letter from Jo which just warmed heart.
And finally this morning Martin went to work with a friend so rather than having to do the one hour, five mins trek on public transport I did the 35 mins drive. I listened to Michael Franti and sung and danced all the way. The return of the Blue Skies and sun made me want to even more.
Haven’t been sleeping very well of late. It really sux, lying awake for hours and hours and just not been able to get to sleep. I am feeling hopeful about tonight. I am very tired, I haven’t drunk any coffee today and I am actively trying not to think about any of the things in my life that are stressing me a bit and run through my head over and over as I lie there at night.
I am so over middle class families earning $100 000 or over complaining about how much tax they have to pay and that the government doesn’t give them anything. And I am over newspapers giving their whinging and whining air time with a picture of a usually quite attractive couple (looking so hard done by) and their two kids.
Now I know I don’t have any kids but Martin and I live on half that amount (maybe just over) and we still live fantastic, pretty extravagant lives really. If they would just start focusing on what they do have, rather than what they don’t maybe they’d be a lot happier.
Last night we went to the Michael Franti concert. Last time we saw Michael Franti we lived in Enmore and saw him at the Enmore theatre which was about one minute away. This time we headed down to Wollongong which is more like 2 hours away. It was good though. Ryan and I headed down early and were able to go via the sea cliff bridge which was really very cool. We also saw a sea eagle which was very cool too. We stopped at Coledale for lunch and I had the nicest vege burger ever made even nicer as we sat on the beach to eat it. In Wollongong we hung out with Jess for awhile. She took us to some great places for walks and beer and then dinner. It was so good to catch up with her. I always enjoy her thoughts and insights on things.
Just after 8 we met up with Martin, Tom and Jem for the concert. Michael Franti rocked. He is just so much fun and we danced and danced. He is very organic and humble and you can really tell that he is passionate about what he sings. He believes in it and lives it, he doesn’t just sing it. Today we have listened to him a lot and continued the dancing. I imagine I’ll be doing that for the next week or so. We didn’t end up getting home until almost 2am and then I had to get up to go and see a minister so I am very tired. I haven’t done that for ages so don’t I feel hardcore.
Today I spent the day with Ryan and we had heaps of fun. We got up around 9 which meant we were off to a very good start. We then wandered down to the pool and sat on the grass under the perfectly blue sky for awhile and had a swim. From there we came home showered and went to have a breakfast of scrambled tofu and coffee at Badde Manors. Then it was in to town. I had to check out a minister who was running a lunch time Bible study while Ryan wandered around. We met up again after though and headed to the Dendy to see a film. A French comedy which name I have forgotton (something about sticks). It was funny though and very endearing. I enjoyed it. After the film we had an ice cream and sat and watched the water and the people and chatted. Ryan then went to see Tully and I caught the bus home. Martin was home so we had some tea, caught up on our days and then made some dinner. We cooked some roast veges with stuffed mushrooms. I am trying to cook some different things and it was very yummy. For dessert we had a mango (first of the season) and now it’s time for some more tea and documentary watching. Martin borrowed some from Drew and we are making our way through them. A good day.
I really don’t like romantic comedies. When watching them it kinds of feels okay but afterwards I am left feeling pretty empty and with a niggling feeling that I am not good enough (ie not as attractive as the actors that always adorn these movies) and that my relationship isn’t good enough (ie “and they lived happily ever after”). I feel they give an unrealistic view of what we should be and what our relationships should be. While I will not blame them totally, I certainly believe they contribute to the fact that people find it so hard to stay in long term relationships these days.
However there may be one or two romantic comedies I do like. One of these is “love actually”. Martin and I watched it on Saturday night and I really loved it. It wasn’t the first time I had seen it but I enjoyed it so much. I think it manages to give a very broad view of love. From the typical romantic comedy type to the more messy unrequited love (that doesn’t become requited) and the love between long term married couples and their families and the love between friends and my favourite (can’t think why) the love between people from different cultures and language backgrounds. Not to mention who can go past that scene of the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport where people from all ages, sizes and ethnic groups greet their loved one with signs of affection and love.
I got to thinking about all this again this morning when reading my Bible and praying. I am currently reading Hosea (a very messy love story). It has been very relevant to me as I have been moved lately to really pray for some of my friends who are in difficult relationships or making decisions about relationships or struggling to forgive those around them who have hurt them deeply. This is the introduction to Hosea that Eugene Peterson gives in the Message.
We live in a world awash with love stories. Most of them are lies. They are not love stories at all – they are lust stories, sex-fantasy stories, domination stories. From the cradle we are fed on lies about love.
This would be bad enough if it only messed up human relationships – man and woman, parent and child, friend and friend – but it also messes up God-relationships. The huge, mountainous reality of all existence is that God is love. That God loves the world. Each single detail of the real world that we face and deal with day after day is permeated by this love.
But when our minds and imaginations are crippled with lies about love we have a hard time understanding the fundamental ingredient of daily living, “love,” either as a noun or a verb. And if the basic orienting phrase “God is love” is either plastered over with cultural graffiti that obscure and deface the truth of the way the world is, we are not going to get very far in living well. We require true stories of love if we are to live truly.
Hosea is the prophet of love, but not love as we imagine or fantasize it. He was a parable of God’s love for his people lived out and revealed as God enacted it – a lived parable. It is an astonishing story: a prophet commanded to marry a common whore and to have children with her. It is an even more astonishing message: God loves us in just this way – goes after us at our worst, keeps after us until he gets us, and makes lovers of men and women who know nothing of real love. Once we absorb this story and the words that flow from it, we will know God far more accurately. And we will be well on our way to being cured of all the sentimentalized and neurotic distortions of love that incapacitate us form dealing with the God who loves us and loving the neighbours who don’t love us.
I was reading the newspaper this morning. Maybe I am not taking things seriously enough but I am bit over stories about the global economy. Not to mention in an already overly worried and anxious society I find the reporting irresponsible and overly fear provoking than necessary (especially the day after stress less day). I mean you have to love some of these fear and anxiety raising phrases from the smh, “growing international crisis”, “rapidly slowing global economy now a reality”, “in the midst of a financial meltdown consumer confidence plunged”, “financial market turmoil stirred worries about the economy”, “sending a chilling message to retailers as we approach the Christmas season”.
And in the midst of all this I did find a story that did concern me even though it was told as some kind of feel good story. The story was about a group of school children from a remote indigenous commuinty called Wadeye (about 450 kilometres south-west of Darwin) who have just won a trip to Rome via Singapore and London for a dance turned into a film about the Rainbow Serpent.
At this point no worries really. I mean I did think about the effect of culture shock on these kids who according to the school’s co-principal, “have never had to cross a busy street” but in the end not my call and could be a really great experience.
However, in the second last paragraph where most people would have given up reading (including myself if I was not particualrly interested in these issues) it is revealed that “the $120,000 award was sponsored by the multinational mining company Eni”.
However not to worry the school’s co-principal assures us that “it was only a coincidence that Eni is developing the Blacktip Gas pipeline from a gas field in the sea off Wadeye to Darwin”.
Only a coincidence??? While I am not that in to conspiracy theories I am not convinced despite the assurances.
This week (Sunday 5th to Saturday 11th) is Mental Health Week. Mental Health Week is about promoting good mental health and informing and educating the general public about mental health issues. This year’s theme is “appreciate the little things” and it is part of a three year campaign about building resilience. I think this theme and the week in general is excellent and important.
Today was Stress Less Day. To raise awareness of the day and the week in general I joined some of the mental health services around the Hornsby Kuringai area for a BBQ in Hornsby Mall. We handed our balloons and brochures about mental illness (and I of course handed some out about Compeer). We also handed cards with tips on how to stress less. In the spirit of raising awareness I am going to share these tips with you and encourage you to find out a little more about mental health:
1. Organise your day
2. Eat healthy
3. Go for a walk
4. Have an early night
5. See the funny side of life
6. Catch up with friends
7. Learn something new
8. Ask for help
9. Take time out
10. Reach out and help others
So the weather has changed substantially from when I last posted. In my last post it was warm, blue skies with a gentle breeze. Now it is cool, absolutely pouring and pretty windy. I still like it though. It’s been like this all night and I have just loved waking up to hear it tapping on the roof.
I’ve been able to spend a fair bit of time with my grandparents this holiday and get into their world a little bit. My grandfather had a heart attack last year which always makes one realise that people are not going to be around forever. Yesterday we went and played lawn bowls at their local club. I’ve never played before so good to have them around to give me tips. It was actually quite fun. We had a BBQ for lunch at my dad’s and some of my aunts, uncles and cousins came too. Then in the evening we went to their place so Martin could watch the grand final with my grandfather. I tried but ended up falling asleep. They were very happy with the Manly win especially Martin.
My grandparents have 8 children (4 boys and 4 girls) and 17 grandchildren (8 boys and 9 girls). Not bad really.