Thursday, March 28, 2013

Some snippets of this and that

It's been a while since I last posted here, and much has happened. I don't really have the time or brainspace to do any of it justice, but will write this post in the form of a number of little snippets, in no particular order.

* After a slightly less than auspicious period on the market, the house was sold at auction last Saturday. A great relief.

* On the same day as the house auction, we scattered Mum's ashes in the creek at the back of the house. I used a liturgy very similar to the one we used for Dad's ashes five years ago, which is here. It was a meaningful ceremony, with the neighbours and a few close family, and the minister and her husband from the local church where I have been fellowshipping whilst here.

* After a lot of enquiries, I managed to secure the services of a removalist to transport the selected items from Mum's house to my place in Myrtleford. (Because it was a small load to a country town, there weren't many companies willing or able to do it). In the end, the packing of boxes became a bit frenetic, especially when the removal truck arrived a number of hours earlier than we were expecting. I was very grateful for the assistance of three good friends on the day, without whom I would never have got it all done.

* As I contemplated how much I appreciated the help of friends on that packing day, I was struck by the irony of the situation. One friend in particular had spent the whole day with me, and if it hadn't been for his hard work in the morning, I really would have been stuffed when the removalists came. The irony of the situation exists in the fact that when I was first getting to know this friend, the person through whom I met him (who was at the time a close friend of mine) had warned me to be careful of this person, and not to get too close. And when I really needed help, who was the one who was a good friend to me? As I said: Irony, I haz it.

* Last week I made a quick trip home to the north east, with a side visit to Melbourne. It was lovely to sleep in my own bed again for a few nights, to breathe in the air and atmosphere of the north east, and to see some of my dear parishioners, whom I have missed so much. They are as excited as I that I now have a definite date to come home and back to work (and they keep telling me how chuffed they are that I refer to returning to Myrtleford as 'coming home'). I am itching to get back into it.

* But before I go home, I am going on a holiday. On Saturday (yes folks, that's only 3 sleeps away!!!) I am flying to Paris, and then onto Nice, to pick up a river cruise on the Rhône River for nine days, from Tarascon to Chalon-sur-Saône, then a week in Paris, a few days in the south of France with friends, and then some time in England, tripping around London, Oxford and adjacent areas, catching up with friends there. I'm very excited, and this will be a special trip to help me relax, recharge and reorient my head from what I have been dealing with in Sydney for the past nine months or so, to getting back to work and ministry and 'the new normal' for me. (And I'm flying business class, so it will be a real treat :-)

* Today I had a lovely conversation with an executive from HammondCare, the Christian charity that runs Greenwich Hospital, which gave such great care to Mum. I had approached the organisation about making a donation in Mum's memory to Greenwich Hospital, and this fellow came to talk to me about the options that are open to me. The thing I really like about HammondCare is that it is a very unashamedly Christian charity organisation, and they have a very strong focus on pastoral and spiritual care in all of the care facilities they operate. He was telling me about some of the projects they are seeking funding for in the area of pastoral care, and our conversation diverted into many different side areas, about the faith, church, scripture and the Word of God. It was quite lovely really.

So, as I prepare for vacating the house in preparation for settlement, tying up the last loose ends of Mum's estate, packing and getting ready for my trip, there is also the knowledge that this is Holy Week. Possibly the most disjointed and unusual Holy Week I have experienced since entering into ministry. I have appreciated participating in the Lenten studies run by the local congregation, and also singing in the church choir for the Tenebrae service tomorrow night, and the Good Friday morning service. I will be in transit on Easter morning, landing in Paris that afternoon, local time, so I'm hoping to be able to take the advice of a parishioner, and use the flight time for reflection and reading, and having my own Easter celebration.

So there it is... the last little while in a nutshell. I'm hoping to have reasonable internet access whilst away, so hopefully will get to blog some of the adventures I have on my trip.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Feeling flat

It's been a busy week. The house is on the market, I have made some of the plans for my big European adventure, and today I finished cleaning out Mum's wardrobe, and took a car full of bags of clothes, shoes and manchester to the op shop. 

This week I have also sent formal notifications of Mum's death to a variety of organisations, companies etc that she has had dealings with. At one level, it feels like I have achieved a lot this week, but at another, I am even more overwhelmed by the amount of work still to do.

Inspired by this purging, and feeling enthused to continue, I turned my attention to my computer, where I came across a folder of material connected with an old friend I used to be close to, but am not any more. Most of the files were connected with old projects I had worked on for him, but amongst those were some old emails, photos and other correspondence, which I had kept for some reason.

Looking through these files brought back some memories of happier times; and was a reminder of how suddenly and completely things can change, even in the most seemingly stable and deep friendship. As I deleted all these files, I felt again the loss of that particular relationship, but also a sense of freedom, and letting go.

But with all of these things, I'm feeling a bit flat. It probably doesn't help that the hot, humid weather these past few days has made it hard to sleep, so I'm also very tired. It all feels a bit like one step forward and two steps back, but still I keep moving forward. Tomorrow I must do another spruce up of the house to prepare for Saturday's open home, so that will probably get me out of my head for the day.