It has been raining all weekend and it’s freezing. Doesn’t look like a desert at all. In fact looking up at the misty covered mountains and the rain falling down on the roof feels more like the Blue Mountains. It is very beautiful.
A few things happening on the job front after four weeks of nothing. Last week I thought I would put my name down at some cafes. It seemed that it could take awhile to get a job I really wanted so I could do this in the interim. That day I had an interview and the next day I was offered a job. It was a little bit of a cheer up as I had, had a rejection that morning for another job I was applying for.
But then in the evening another job I applied for rang to offer an interview which will be tomorrow. I was quite clear with the cafe lady it would be an interim thing and that seemed to suit her too but I wasn’t expecting to hear from this job so soon. Not sure how much I want this job though. Well I do but it is not exactly in education rather mental health again and I am not sure if I should hold for the education one.
I guess I will just have the interview and see what happens and then decide. They may not even want me.
I love starting my day by reading Luke and then Richrd Rohr comments on it. My diary is filling up very quickly with quotes (thanks again Jess for the book). Here is one of my faves on forgiveness if the title hadn’t given it away.
“Most apologies people make to you are sort of embarassing and don’t work out because in granting them you are big hearted and generous, a great person and very often other are demeaned. It doesn’t make others feel better about themselves, they just feel you are big hearted. Of course, we would appreciate having some big hearted people around but Jesus is asking us to go one step deeper. Jesus isn’t saying “I’m big hearted, you’re sinful”. When Jesus forgives it isn’t so much an act of mercy as it is a loyalty to the truth of who you are. To really forgive someone is to recognise who they are, to admit and affirm who they are and to know theri best selves will brought out only in the prescence of an accepting and believing person. Forgiveness is believing in a person and not allowing that person to be destryed by self hatred. This is a way of forgiving that doesn’t make you look good but them look good. That is the way God forgives us. In forgiving us God gives us back our dignity and self worth. He is loyal to the truth of who we are. God affrims we are good persons who have sinned, God asserts we are not bad.”
A Tim Winton novel that I bought in a second hand shop in Byron Bay. There was a newspaper article in it about Tim Winton. That’s one of the things I love about buying books in second hand shops, you never know what you will find from the previous reader. It took me awhile to get through this hence the reason it has been such a long time since my last book entry. Not an easy read I have to say although I think Tim Winton is like that.
This book is set in a small, coastal, Western Australian town where many of Tim’s other books are set. The town’s primary industry is whaling but a local woman decides to join the protests against the whaling to the horror of many townspeople. The story then follows the lives of a few of these people and how their lives are constantly overlapping. This is a style I like in books and in movies. The characters were complex (except maybe the town mayor with whom I think Tim was a bit lazy) and the themes such as faith, marriage and aging were given the complexity they deserve but it lacked closure and at times I found myself feeling a bit lost and thinking, would you just get on it with it. In saying that overall I enjoyed it.
We’ve been in Alice almost three weeks now. To be honest, it has been a little harder settling than I thought. Much harder than it was for me to settle into Peru. I think perhaps when I went to Peru I was trying to find a bit of an identity, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do or be and I didn’t like myself or my life that much either. Leaving Sydney this time around was different. I really liked my job, my home and my church. I loved my friends and community. Life was good. Since coming here I have found it hard to feel like me. Away from all the things that I did, my work, my roles at church, my community I am not sure how to define myself. I have felt restless, purposeless.
I am in a better space about all that now though. Tom in an email reminded me that this time is a gift from God and I realise I have a lot to learn from it. I am keen to learn to just be, to define by myself in God rather than all the other things I mentioned. I am reading Luke at the moment with a commentary by Richard Rohr called “The Good news according to Luke”. It is fantastic I love it and it is a real gift to have lots of time in the morning to read, reflect and pray. Anyway he was reflecting on the fact that Jesus always prayed and spent time with God before he “did” anything. It was like he had to receieve from God before he could do. I too must learn to receive from God but I also must learn to receive from people. Particularly in this place, the Indigenous people of this land. If I want to work with them at all I must first spend time with them, learn from them, receive from them. At this time I have nothing to offer at all so I am in the best place to do this. Having this time means I get to sit around a lot with John and Marilyn and their friends, family and kids. I am getting better at this sitting around and I am learning a lot although very slowly. I am beginning to think this it may be the most important thing I do here. Perhaps the only thing of value and so I must cherish it.
It is not necessarily comfortable. As someone who has traditionally offered hospitality and welcome I am now having to ask for it myself. I have yet to make some really good friends and I am asking for help to do so. I feel like a bit of a loser to be honest but over and over in Luke, Jesus tells us to come as a child, as the least, in a position of powerlessness. It is an important lesson for me to learn.
God is with me. He is close to me. He is teaching me and growing me. What more could I ask for?
Martin got a job today. I am not sure exactly what the title is but basically he working as a research assistant, looking at desert foods. It is all about finding ways to produce food in sustainable ways which is one of Martin’s big passions. We are very excited. And John is going really well with his business too which Martin helped him build the track for. They have had a group every week as well as a journalist come and write a story about them. So that is exciting too. Everyone around here is working really hard except me. I am just learning to be.
Yesterday the sky went purple and the black cockatoos coasted along the mountain range contrasting with the shining red. I was on a bike under it all feeling very much my write size in the world. What a blessing!!
I went on a women’s retreat for the weekend. It was totally not me I have to say (and not only because I was the youngest there by at least 15 years) but I was asked if I would go and help with the cooking etc so I did. It was nice though to sleep on a river (who said rivers had to have water above the surface?) under the full moon and wake up to the tress.
I’m still unemployed and one of the problems with been unemployed is that it is hard to feel very purposeful. I get to the end of each day and I wonder if I have contributed anything even slightly useful to the world. So you start digging. For example, today I cut up two very big pumpkins so that Sue could make pumpkin soup for the women’s retreat and I was like wow what a productive day I had. I have always believed that we are more than what we do. That our identity comes from something beyond what we do but in practice I am finding it hard to live that out.
However, yesterday I did something truly useful. I attended a protest against uranium mining. 23km out of Alice Springs a mining company called Cameco, begun exploring further for uranium. They have done this without consultation with the indigenous people of the land (despite saying that they had) and without the environmental impact statement been completed (not that I think that would be anything but crap, there is nothing environmental about mining). We did invite representatives to come and talk to us further about it and perhaps explain how but they refused (what a suprise). It is not good for the environment, it is not good for the indigenous people and it is not good for Alice Springs (we don’t even need the jobs).
Anyway, it was good to feel like I did one thing in my day that would have an impact. Well I hope so. It would be truly a tragedy if this mine went ahead.
As many of the people who read this blog know for the last year I have been a nominator at my church. It was a fairly gruelling process in many ways but I learned a lot and worked with a great team. Before I left Sydney we made a nomination. I was very pleased about the nomination, we all were, and I was also totally certain he would say yes. I felt that God was in it and I prayed many prayers of thanks before there was a response.
Then we received a response and the answer was no. I was devastated, I was furious, I was disappointed. I couldn’t believe how much work we’d put in and it came to nothing. I was angry at God. I felt he had lead me to believe that something was going to happen and then it hadn’t.
The next day I was reading the Palm Sunday story, even though it wasn’t Palm Sunday that was the reading in the lectionary I was following. I told Jane who reminded me that on that day, in that reading the people felt sure of what God was doing. They believed that their Messiah had come, that he was going to overthrow their enemies and bring them to victory. A week later he was dead, crucified and they, like me, were devastated, furious, disappointed. But there is hope, there is resurrection, with God the worst thing is never the last thing. And I pushed on. My last service at church, a church I had loved and served for two years was Palm Sunday and my final job was to share the sad news of this rejection with them but I told them the story I now tell you and while it was not the victourous ending I had hoped for myself I knew that God was there.
The team continued without me but the only other lead had said no as well and they were getting pretty down. But then I got a call from one of the women who was on my nominating team. She wanted to let me know that man we had nominated had rung to say that he and his wife had changed their minds and would love to take the position if it was still available. The team assured him that it was. This news came out of nowhere but it was just the news I needed at a time of so much uncertainty in my life. Martin was at an interview and I was trying to pray but I was anxious and unsure and not feeling good about it all. When I got off the phone I went and sat under our billion old mountain range and I said to God I trust you. I don’t know if Martin will get this job or the next one. I don’t know when I will fnd a job or what it will be. I don’t know when I will find a church and some friends but I trust you.