Martin got back to Sydney yesterday. After 6 weeks apart it was so wonderful to see him. He picked me up from work which was a lovely suprise. It has been pretty busy since he arrived with an engagement party, church and the AGM, Howie’s afternoon tea and then a few people around for dinner. Hopefully tomorrow we can get some more time.
This week I am training my replacement at work. She is quite different to me but I like her and I think she will be good. I feel really blessed to have a two week hand over time with her. I would find it hard to be leaving not knowing who was coming in and having no control over how they did things. We are taking it all pretty slow too as to not overload with her too much info.
What a weekend I have had. It started early as I didn’t work on Friday. No particular reason just that I didn’t have much to do and lots of Time in Lieu to use (as always). It started with a swim and some Bible/Prayer time which is always makes me feel good. Ryan then came around for brunch although it was 12.00 by then so it could have been lunch. He and Jane and I sat in the yard and ate yummy bread, drank coffee and talked. John F who also had a day off joined us too. At about 3pm Ryan and I went to Epping and had soft drinks with John S in the pub. Then back to Hornsby to pick up the Camry, do some shopping and with Jane and Hannah headed to Marrickville where we met up with Jem to see the National Junk Band. They were great and it was the seriously the most amazing venue. I had never seen anything like it in my life. Cathy and Andrew were also there and it is alway great to see them. Hannah was the highlight of the night though. She just loved the band and she was dancing so much, she was very gorgeous.
Saturday started with a swim and some Bible/Prayer time as well and then mooching around the house. I did a lot of eating, reading and a little bit of writing. In the evening I made the trek down to Woollongong with Tom, John and Jem to Jess’s party. Despite a fairly collective fear of parties we all managed to talk with people other than ourselves for most of the night so well done us. Jem, John and Tom went home but I stayed at Jess’s. I even stayed up to 3am chatting with Jess and a few of her friends. It had been a long time since I have done that.
Sunday we obviously woke up very late and then we lay in bed for awhile chatting even more so the day didn’t really get going until after 11am. There was some cleaning to be done and then we went to the beach. I haven’t been able to get to the beach for the awhile which makes me sad as once in Alice getting to the beach is going to be very difficult so it was good. Then we had coffee and I caught the train home. It is a long trip from Woollongong to Hornsby on the train but much of it is very pretty so I could look out the window and I got some reading done.
I feel happy.
My fourth book, like my third was by Anne Lamott. I got very into her and living with Jane that is bound to happen. Bird by Bird is a book about writing, although much of the advice she applies to writing could be applied to life as well.
I decided to read it because for a little while now I have been talking about writing a prayer book but I hadn’t started. I thought reading a book about writing a book may be a good place to start. It turns out it was. I have now started. I realised I hadn’t started because every time I thought about starting I thought things like “no one would be interested in this” or “it is not as good as Leunig” or “this will never get published” etc. etc. I still think that but Anne Lamott reminded me that writing a book is not about that. It is simply about the joy of writing. And I want a book with my prayers in it and if no one else reads it except me (and probably my mum and my husband) that’s okay. This is going to take a long time I am sure but Anne Lamott says that’s okay too. Writing (like life) should be done “Bird by Bird”.
After three years of working with one of the oldest, crappiest laptops you can imagine the organisation I work for finally bought me a spiffy new desktop that is much faster, prettier and easier to use. Because it looked so good it inspired me to clean out/rearange my office. I got rid of a whole cupboard (I was brutal). Now I have much more space which is very important when you have a broom cupboard for an office. I really like it. When I opened the door this morning I though “how nice is this”. Only shame is I am leaving 4 weeks. I guess it will be super nice for my replacement (who they have already hired by the way).
I have watched way too much Brothers and Sisters this weekend. Really not healthy but I am a bit addicted.
Only my second movie of the year, that’s not much. John asked me after if I enjoyed it. I am not sure if it is the type of movie one enjoys, it was incredibly despressing but it was fascinating (although I am not sure exactly how much of it is really true). The main themes were George Bush’s early life and despite his family’s power the unlikely-hood of him becoming president and the Iraq war. Even though I know the outcome as I watched many of the conversations I found myself wishing them to go another way. Knowing that if they did all those lives could spared, the turmoil in Iraq and its consequences could be avoided.
The thing I found most confronting and most depressing in the film was its depiction of George’s faith. After the many discussions had between George and his top advisors he would demand that they all take a moment and then they would pray. I’m not against prayer obviously but to pray to Jesus, the prince of peace, the man who calls us to love our enemies and help those who are different, the man who went to the cross to die rather than take up swords, to pray to him after you have decided to make a pre-emptive strike on a nation for your own oil interests, hidden behind some moral grounds is one of the most truly blasphemous things I have ever seen.
Last week I had to attend a training on Bullying and Harassment in the workplace. I didn’t feel it was the best of use of my time but there are some very real bullying issues that go on in the organisation I work for so I was pleased they were doing it. It was however more of a waste of my time than I had thought it would be. In fact it was infuriating. The trainer was bad and disorganised (as a trainer I especially hate that) and kept using examples that were so far fetched and unrelated that no one really got thinking about the complexity of bullying and the power realtions in the building. Not to mention all the reall issues got glazed over and everyone went home feeling like they weren’t a bully. Even the lady who seemed to think rascist jokes boost morale. And the man who this morning when I requested some help with my computer stormed in as if it wasn’t his job,even though he is the IT support person, sighed loudly, rolled his eyes when I didn’t know the answers and to some questions and stormed out again. All because his is busy. The universal excuse it seems for rudeness and incompetence in the world even though I don’t know anyone who isn’t busy.
Book Two: The Dance of Connection by Harriet Lerner. I found this book very helpful. I wasn’t convinced I would when I first started. I guess you could call it a “self help” book, a genre I tend to avoid but once I got over that I liked it. I think perhaps we all need one here and there. It was practical I felt like I could make some small changes that would be hugely beneficial.
Book Three: Travelling Mercies by Anne Lamott. I loved this book. It was my second Anne Lamott book. The first one I didn’t like so much but thought I would give her another go as I kept hearing other people (esp Jane) talk about her and she sounded like someone I should I like a lot. And I did. I think most people feel like this in response to her that is her magic and why people like her so much, but she reminded me so much of myself. Messy and broken yet together and healed all at the same time. She lives in the grace of God here and now. She is in no way self righteous or judgmental and doesn’t impose what she believes on others. She also has Leunig’s unique ability to turn ordinary life experiences into extraordinary life experiences, reminding me of the divine in the little things.
I have been lamenting the state of the church a fair bit lately. Depite only being with us for a few weeks, our current locum has made some big changes, all of which I am struggling with but I feel like I have been silenced. I won’t go into details but I feel like I am now attending a very exclusive church that has no relevance to the local community at all and is not calling us to anything beyond our own personal eternal life after death. It is also boring, predictable and comfortable. All things that I am fairly sure the early church wasn’t and I am definitely sure Jesus wasn’t although the experience does make me wonder if I have it all wrong and if there is a place for me within the church. This hurts because as much as I struggle with the church I also really want to be a part of it. I love Jesus, I want to follow him and be close to him and eat at his table. I want to hear people speak about him and be challenged. I want to read the Bible and pray and be community with others who also want to this.
In more positive news we have made a nomination. I think I am allowed to say that. Our bishop announced it in church last week when he was speaking so I figure I am allowed to as long as I don’t use names. I am excited about the nomination. Being a nominator is really hard work and I have found it fairly confronting for all the above reasons so I am excited it is nearly over. But also I really like this guy. I am holding out hope for a different kind of leadership from the one we have right now and the one I have seen so often around the place.