Its been a while since I posted a general life update so on a quiet afternoon I thought I’d do that, as much for my own reflection as for anyone who cares. These are in no particular order, but just as they cross my mind…
The Bum – I guess the big news this week is that I don’t have cancer… I didn’t think I did, but being sent for a colonoscopy does make you wonder ‘what if?…’ With a family history of it, I guess I’m a fair chance in the future but for now I’m clean. Having read the blogs of friends who are currently in the midst of a great fight with cancer I was very relieved. I resented having 3 days of disruption in my life, and I can only imagine how it would be to have your whole future thrown into chaos.
People asked me what it was like to have a colonoscopy and to be honest I wouldn’t know. I was out like a light and when they woke me up 40 mins later it was like I’d had an afternoon nap – albeit with a camera up my bum. Fasting… now that’s another story altogether…
The World – Somehow all the catastrophes around the world make my own issues (of which there are currently few) seem insignificant. If I were a fundamentalist end times prophet I imagine I’d be predicting the end of the world some time very soon. Its been crazy. I haven’t written much about the floods, fires, quakes and tsunamis, nor the revolution/s in the middle east.
I find it hard to know what to say without it sounding trite or trivial, but its been hard to watch all of this while wondering ‘what the heck is going on?’ I know some have asked questions as to whether this is God at work in some way and trying to say something… I’m not so sure and I think its always dangerous to pontificate in this way. But that’s a big subject and I won’t delve into it just now. For the record – I think Gaddafi is an evil man and I wish the Libyan revolutionaries success.
The Family – Its that time of year when the kids get a year older, with Sam’s b’day in Feb and Ellie’s in March. He is now 8 and she is now 10 (on Tuesday). They are wonderful little people and we really enjoy them.
Here’s a pic of Ell before she went out with Danelle and mum to Riverdance this week. She’s growing up fast. Sam is still the extrovert of the family and always making us laugh.
This is him watching TV – he rarely just sits there, but usually ends up upside down in some way or other. They seem to love their homeschooling routine and Danelle is finding it great too. In April we will be 20 years married, which actually sounds like a pretty long time as I think about it! We’ve been tossing up where to go and what to do to celebrate and ended up deciding on 4 nights in Margaret River – the same place we spent our honey moon. It was difficult working it out as we only had a few nights and everywhere is so ridiculously expensive. We did consider an overseas jaunt, but the travel time was the main deterrent in that equation, so its a relaxing few days down south minus the kids. Yeeha… although the kids reckon they should be there… (Unlikely…)
The House – is still for sale and the market is dead flat. We haven’t been super-aggressive yet with our marketing and sales approach so it might be time to change gears. I tend to feel that if we get the price right then we will get a buyer, so maybe we need to drop it a bit further… This is the place we are hoping to buy, but at this stage its not looking like it will happen in the near future.
We haven’t allowed ourselves to get too attached yet so it won’t be a big disappointment if it doesn’t happen. Then again, if it does it’ll be nice to have a change of pace. We’re feeling like its time. What a house move does say to us is that we are willing to commit to this region for a substantial period of time – not something I could have said with conviction over the last couple of years, (for various reasons) so I think that’s a very positive thing.
Reading – Most of what I’ve been reading has been around the idea of New Monasticism, probably one of the strands of mission/church that I feel the closest affinity with. Most new monastic communities are small and exist independent of the established church, but I’m currently reflecting on how we can embrace the learning and wisdom from here and use it within our own church community.
I’m also aware that as I read about various NM communities they sound much better on paper than they are probably doing in reality. Still there is plenty of cause for inspiration and a re-freshing of the imagination in the stuff I’ve been chewing on. Hopefully we can learn about how to live with a healthy spiritual rhythm in the setting we find ourselves.
Work – has been oddly quiet. Normally at this time of year I’m running around like a blue-arsed fly trying to keep up with the demand, but the last month has gradually slowed to the point where last week I was actually able to take a day off and go surfing and the other 2 days weren’t full either. I have 3 full days next week which is good, but I’m not sure exactly what’s going down here. Fortunately our expenses aren’t high so I can get by on a day a week of work, but it does make you wonder what winter will be like if ate summer/autumn has been slow.
And its not for lack of heat as this has been our hottest summer on record… At times like this I begin to wonder if I’m going to have to go back to teaching, but I just can’t picture myself in a classroom again… ever… So maybe I should stop paying that lousy WACOT tax, which in effect serves as an insurance policy in case I break an arm and just need to get work that doesn’t involve physical labour.
Church – We have been really enjoying our church community this year and feeling a shift in the energy levels. A few new faces have added enthusiasm and passion and I have also been inspired by seeing 9 blokes sign up to lift the bar on their own spiritual formation. I’ve become increasingly aware that this is at the crux of so much of the struggle in the western church. We need people who genuinely know God and encounter him regularly and deeply in their own lives. I’m still very much committed to the missionary vision that has shaped us so strongly over the last 10 years, but equally aware that a vision of that kind can’t just be a task to complete, but needs to flow from some real deep passion.
The Future – Assuming we sell this place and move to Yanchep, we will be well and truly committed to the area for another 5-10 years which will see me into my 50’s… and which just sounds so unbeleeeevableee old…. I think we have another few years of work to do at QBC at least, and I don’t see Brighton Reticulation shutting up shop any time soon so chances are it will be ‘business as usual’ for a while.
I do keep my eye out for new business opportunities that could either be added on to what I am currently doing or that could open up a whole new adventure, but I haven’t seen something that really sparks for me yet.
I still have hopes to do another around Oz trip, but it probably won’t be for a while now. I think our term at QBC is a 5 year one, so the logical time to go would be at the end of that, (3 1/2 years away) but we’d need to consider that it would be with teenagers and it might not be quite so smooth sailing as the last time… (I love this pic of an EH Holden crossing the Nullabor in 1966 – but also very happy to do in the Patrol!)
Just a Gut Feeling – I get the sense that we are at the start of something new, albeit in the same place and that excites me. I have great hope for the community at QBC and feel like we are moving in a very healthy direction. I’m not sure all of what form that will take. I am not so sure about my business. While I enjoy it for the most part, the ‘challenge’ has gone out of it a bit and I do find myself not so enthused to leave the house each day. I can’t imagine going back to a regular job and working for someone as I have got used to being my own boss and all the freedom that goes with that. So we’ll see what develops I guess…
So that’s life for us at the moment – at least the ‘online’ version. I like to think that the person you read about on here is the same person you meet in real life, but obviously there is stuff that can’t be ‘blogged’ and never should be, so only my ‘flesh’ friends will really know how things are in our world. But if you’re one of them then hopefully you aren’t getting any surprises about now!
And if the backyardmissionary isn’t your cup of tea then maybe you should check out Jamie The Very Worst Missionary, one my newest blog reads, a mix of unrefined theological musings, random personal reflections and occasional naughtiness… hang on that’s me… she does similar but uses more naughty words.