Monday, April 30, 2007

moving forward

The great thing in this world
is not so much where you stand,
as in what direction you are moving.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Tonight I'm not standing even close to where I desire to be. But I'm moving there. That's got to be positive.


Sometimes I bristle my way through life, overreacting to anything and everything, immediately jumping to my own defence, cutting a swath through anyone who dares to disagree with my most excellent opinions.

It is not pretty. I am not proud of it. But still I bristle.

I've been on a bristling bender for a few days now. Venomous spleen spilling from my mouth, indignation and deprecation twisting my lips. All because I'm not getting the recognition I think I deserve.

It's got to the point that the filth and crustiness building up around my heart is spreading gloom across my outlook and robbing me of joy. I feel shrivelled and suffocated by the darkness within.

Yesterday I railed against the machine. This morning I (finally) started praying about it.

As the deer pants for streams of water,
So my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

Yes, my soul longs for God.
For his beauty, clarity and purity.
For his washing.
For his enveloping love.

And then I met him. In a counselling and psychotherapy text no less! God's voice jumped out of the pages and shook me from my dastardly self absorption and shallow introspection.

"A we-consciousness reduces perceived threats and enhances self-esteem."

That's the key! Stop thinking about myself. Become increasingly conscious of those around me. Be willing to contribute to others.

I'm feeling calmer about the present situation, more aware of what is ticking me off, more in control of my response. I'm bound to slip up again. That's the nature of the beast! Knowing that doesn't dampen the delight in my heart. I called out to God, begged him to water my crusty soul, and in his infinite mercy he gently sprinkled down his love and grace to transform my ugliness.

So how is my heart now?

Like new, pink skin growing across a recent wound. Fragile, tender, fresh.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Hello. May I speak to the owner of the bus-i-ness?"
Happy voice. Happy voice. You need the money Ajay, so just keep talking.

"May I ask who's calling please?"
Indian accent... telemarketer for sure...

"My name is Ajay, and I am calling from Perfect Plan Phone Company. We offer..."
Get in as fast as you can Ajay. Keep talking. Force the information into the phone ca...

"I'm sorry, we're not interested in any new plans. And you woke me up."
Pesky telemarketers! Who pays these people? They are so irritating!

"...offer packages that will cut your phone costs by more than half..."
...ll. She's going to hang up. I can hear it in her voice. Keep talking Ajay. Win her with the latest great deal...

"We're very happy with the phone package we have. Goodbye." Click.
Ha... that shut you up! Hung up on you! Beat that you annoying person.

"...If you choose to join our company we will give..." Beeeeeeep.
Huh? She hung up. She didn't even hear me out! Westerners are SO rude!

10 signs of drought

  1. Blue sky does not cheer the heart
  2. Grass is brown
  3. Plants yellow and wilt
  4. Dams hold nothing but a dribble of muddy water
  5. The earth gapes with deep cracks
  6. Clouds elicit excited phone calls 'just to point them out'
  7. Prayer for rain calls forth tears of desperation
  8. Black clouds that produce no rain result in heavy hearts
  9. Any rainfall anywhere in the country is reported on national television
  10. No one dares whisper that rain ruined their wedding day

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Friday, April 27, 2007

confessions of a blogging junkie

Some time ago Cherie and Sandy awarded me with a Thinking Blogger Award. Thankyou to both for conferring such an honour on my humble, and often rather inane blog!

I have just one problem with all the attention.
No. It's not the attention that bothers me... I love being at the centre of things!

It's just that I'm a great believer in escapism. Well I'm not really an escapist, but I resort to it with great regularity! When life is busy and tasks threaten to overwhelm me, when my mind won't stop playing merry-go-round - what better than a sweet, unlikely movie that momentarily has me believing that anything is possible, and all ends with love and peace? Further, what is more reassuring than blogging? Reading about other people's lives, escaping to their worlds, discovering better or worse situations than my own, forgetting my life for a moment? Not much beats a good blog fest I tell you!

In the spirit of escapism, my usual blogging fare is rather trivial. Not that I haven't come across a few deeper, more meaningful contributions to the blogosphere, but they're all nominated as thinking blogs already. That, or my brain hurts too much to read other thinking blogs.

There you have it. The truth of my blog reading habits revealed.

If not according to the exact rules of this meme, in the spirit of this meme I hereby present two blogs I find frequently thought provoking but also happily sprinkled with froth and bubble.

1. Lucidiocy reviews world events in her clever
Parliament of One. I keep reading to check out her amazing self-portraits and quirky personal insights because she makes me think about things. But as I say, it hurts at times.

2. Recently I came across My Pink Toes, where Leah writes about some of the things I do think about if I doing any thinking at all! Of course that's not what got me in... it was her "Who am I?" page where I found not only Leah, but also bits of myself. Who can resist a little self reflection?!

That's as deep as I can go I'm afraid. Please don't be offended if I haven't listed you. I don't visit your blog to think - I visit to escape, to practice voyeurism, to share your kids, to keep up-to-date, to giggle, to journey with you around the globe. All worthy causes don't you think? So if you're listed or not, your blogs give me pleasure. Thankyou.

OK, Lucidiocy and Leah, you're tagged. The rules are:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

I leave it up to you whether you keep the meme going! Happy thinking.


Monday, April 23, 2007


A long long time ago, two intrepid explorers, Bass and Flinders, discovered 'The Nut' (sorry, it was raining all day Saturday so I didn't get any photos, and by the time the sun came out on Sunday my batteries were dead. Check out the link for a cool picture). Sadly lacking in imagination, they called the gigantic volcanic plug 'Circular Head'. Well why not? It is a circular head of land after all!

Over time the English realised some of the best grazing pastures in the world were found at the base of the Nut, and they busily set about establishing farms. Not long after that they noticed the area also had an excellent little harbour, so they built a wharf, sent a few more people along to try out the fishing and, hey presto, the town of Stanley came into existence. The King granted them all permission to set up a company, and Van Diemen's Land Co started trading in 1824 or so. The rest is history.

Before they knew it they were long gone and Frank and I were strolling the streets of this historic township, soaking in the atmosphere (and the rain), eating chips made from the best potatoes in the world (of course) and sampling the local seafood (Again, the best in the world. If you hang around in Tasmania for long enough you soon realise that everything Tasmanian is 'the best in the world'! Quite possibly it's true.)

Maybe it was the history (by Australian standards, Stanley is old). Maybe the 3 hour drive to get there. Maybe it was the steadily narrowing roads the further we travelled from the big city. Or the hundreds of sheep and cows grazing in green paddocks. The stately homes set back on gently rolling hills? Whatever the reason, we felt like we'd stepped into a time warp where the minutes ticked by more slowly (or was it just that my watch stopped?!) and the sun moved less quickly across the sky (oh, what? That was the rain clouds?!).

I would have loved to explore every historic nook and cranny of Stanley (word of warning: don't ever visit a museum with me!) but mostly we wanted to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Wow, we were blown away.

First there was the amazing ecocabin we stayed in...

...then the beach we looked out on...

...and some pretty cool flora and fauna. (Check out the crabs! The beach was absolutely crawling with thousands of these little fellas. Apparently they're called soldier crabs, and when you see them all marching across the sand it's not hard to see why!)

But what topped it all off for me was the artistry displayed in nature. The beach is set on a small inlet where the water flows back and forth across the sand, creating the most incredible patterns and sculptures. I could have stared for hours.

As it was, time wasn't really standing still and we had to come home. So we took the obligatory 'we were here' photo and trundled back the way we'd come, on the ever widening road, back to where the cars never stop going through the night. But I've still got sand in my shoes and I don't think I'll be forgetting this trip for a while!

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

ah, tasmania

Sometimes I feel trapped in Tasmania. It lacks the wide open spaces of 'the mainland' and is just plain cut off from the rest of the world.

But sometimes living on a small island has its advantages. Like oodles and oodles of stunning coastline.

Our two nights away were too short (oh the pain of getting in the Combi and heading home!), but we did have time to enjoy several hours of coastal driving.

Simply wonderful.

Of course my camera batteries ran out at 1130 this morning (I had spares Mum... but they were flat when I put them in the camera - does the power slowly seep out of them, because I'm sure I charged them?!), and I was too cheap to buy any more so I can't share much with you, but wow, it was beautiful. Even the prosaically named Goat Island was graceful, lying low in the water just off the coast. I think I appreciated the beauty more for not observing it through the LCD of my camera!

Usually I'm careening along the highway a kilometre or so inland, so I appreciated the loveliness.

Anyway, here's a tiny peek at some of the scenery I did manage to capture. This is the beach we tumbled onto just metres from the front door of our beautiful accommodation at Beachside Retreat, West Inlet Farm. Delightful.

I'll spare you the 1500 photos featuring intricate variations of sand and shells (it's really no wonder the batteries ran out!) - as soon as I've sorted through them I'll post a select few.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

taking a break

I'm taking a break, but don't worry, it's not from blogging. I'm just going away with Frank this weekend. Yay!

We're heading to Stanley on Tasmania's North West Coast for a couple of days of R&R. Which means no computer, no internet, no blogging. But I'll be back on Sunday or Monday with all the reports and lots of photos.

If you're worried how you'll cope with my absence (hahaha), you could check out these previous posts from other jaunts around the state:

Tasman Peninsula: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3
Motorbike riding around the North East
Swansea and the East Coast

That should fill in the time! Unless you're tired of reading of course. Then just turn the computer off, kick back and relax with me. Oh... you mean you read other people's blogs too?!

Anyway, catch you soon.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

i am in training to serve you better

It was training night at the supermarket. Rows and rows of checkouts open (yippee) and operated by trainees (oh). I whizzed up to the register, unloaded my groceries and observed the learning process in action.

"Green bags. She has green bags," followed by a laboriously slow effort at hanging the bags ever so neatly onto the loading wrack.

"It's a special, so I remove the sticker, scan and type in the price," as she removed the sticker, scanned and typed in the price.

"Oh. That bags full," after which came another laborious hanging of the next bag.

"Cold things. I need to put them in the cold bag." Duly performed without hiccup.

Obviously an aural learner this girl, talking herself through each step of the transaction!

The gooby, big, yellow "I am in training to serve you better" badge that hasn't changed in 17 (gulp) years took me back to my own training as a checkout operator. Trying to remember which code went with which grocery. Carefully swiping cards for the electronic funds transfer. Hoping my smile compensated for my slowness (I went on to become the fastest in the store). It all came back to me.

My four years as a Jewels Foodstore checkout chick broadened my world. Background music introduced me to pop culture (think Joyride: Roxette, I will always love you: Whitney Houston, Everything I do (I do it for you): Bryan Adams), magazines revealed to me the world of previously unknown celebrities (Tom and Nicole, Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter) and I earned enough money to buy freedom. Oh, and my own clothes!

I learned about customer service (rule number 1: the customer is ALWAYS right), petty theft, rotation of stock (actually Dad had already taught me that in the fridge at home), cigarettes (I liked Longbeach best - they had the nicest packaging of course), money handling and how long you could pack shelves in the freezer without donning a (dirty) coat and gloves (a minute or two at best).

I knew the store layout like the back of my hand (to this day when I can't find something in the supermarket I think back to the old days and try to remember what was grouped together there) and I developed confidence in talking to people (haven't been able to stop me since).

Ah, those were the days, when life was fresh and each day was an incredible discovery.

"Here's your receipt and thankyou for your patience," gently called me back to the present.

Patience? No problem - I remember what it was like.

I did manage to resist smiling stupidly and spilling out long stories of my own checkout chick experiences. She didn't really need any help from me - she did a great job!

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

the news reader didn't smile

I didn't want to think about it.
I didn't want to write about it.
I wanted to pretend it didn't happen.

If I didn't acknowledge it, maybe it would go away, turn out to be a dream.

The horror is too great to comprehend, the grief and madness might sweep me away.

But the news reader did not smile.
I could not ignore what really happened.

I wept.

For young lives, quick minds, hopeful dreams. All lost.
For lifeless bodies, glassy eyes, shattered dreams.

Too awful. Too tragic. Too hideous.

How can this be?
Who could do this?
What possessed them?

To the dead staff and students of Virginia Tech, may you rest in peace. For we cannot.


gnawing fear

I've been in the nursing game for a few years now, and with time I've learned to be with my patients when I'm with them and to disengage when I'm not. Every now and then a patient gets past my professional boundaries and works their way into my heart, but on the whole, when I leave work I'm off duty and I leave it all behind.

Today I'm finding that a difficult task! I crossed paths with three patients all who had all their teeth removed. Not a pretty sight really, and it was made altogether worse by their age. We're not talking old people here - these patients were all younger than me. Scary stuff that I've carried home with me right beside my empty lunch box.

I can't get their gummy mouths out of my mind! Every time I close my eyes I see rotting teeth and sunken lips.

This, because deep down inside I've been carrying a secret fear that I might have gum disease myself.

It all began in December last year. We had some friends over for lunch and the wife mentioned that she has been taking antibiotics for the early stages of gum disease. These people are quite well to do, so there are no rotting teeth in sight, just nasty disease lurking beneath the gum line.

As she mentioned her problem, my heart sank. If she with the beautiful smile could have gum disease, might I too? I often feel as if my teeth have moved after eating an apple. I frantically try and wiggle them before deciding it's merely my imagination at work. My gum line is rising higher and higher. Sometimes when I clean my teeth there is blood on the toothbrush. All this suggests I have gum disease eating its way through my mouth. I know this because the internet told me.

So have I been to the dentist? No! I haven't been to a dentist for nine years. Last time I went I had masses of enormous fillings. As a twelve year old I had six adult teeth removed from my overcrowded mouth. I do not like dentists. I cannot bring myself to go. Besides, there's a shortage of dentists in Tasmania - I might no be able to get in anyway! And what if they really do tell me I have gum disease? I can't face it.

So, no trips to the dentist. Instead I dream that my teeth fall out in crucial meetings and I bring baggage home from work.

I will, I really will go to the dentist this year. I made the resolution in January that I would venture in and open up my mouth. There's still eight months. I still have time to meet this New Years resolution. I will. Seriously.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

the legacy

I've been thinking quite a bit about legacies lately. Not legacies in a money sense, but more the legacy of life that I've been given. I'm talking about my childhood. What is the legacy I have been left by the environment I grew up in?

It's a little bit like culture I suppose. I grew up in Australia, generally oblivious to all the values and beliefs that make us culturally unique. Sure I knew meat pies could almost be considered our national dish and tall poppy syndrome remains as a lasting relic from our convict past, but I couldn't have elucidated much more than that if asked what made us Australian. Only when I went and lived in a different culture did I become aware of our willingness to embrace anything new, our casual attitude to life, our persistence in the face of adversity. Once exposed to a culture that clung to old ways of doing things, and approached life very seriously I began to recognise my uniquely Australian view of the world.

Similarly, since Frank and I established our own home last year I've become acutely aware of the way of life in my childhood home. As we seek to establish a culture of respect within our own four walls I can recognise how little my family was characterised by respect. It hasn't been a particularly pleasant awakening.

Frank must be the sweetest man on earth. He is generous, patient, and kind. He offers me unconditional love and acceptance. I am forever amazed by his willingness to forgive my continual failings. (Most of the time!) Despite growing up in a broken home that wounded him deeply, he made a choice to look for the value in people and respect them. In Frank there is a depth and beauty of character that touches my heart in its simplicity. (He unfortunately begs to differ over my glowing report)

And me? Well I am the most curmudgeonly, selfish person on earth. I pounce on anything that does not align with my idealistic picture of how things should be. I hone in on the tiniest annoyance and tear the perpetrator to shreds. (Slight exaggeration for literary effect) Unconditional love? Only when you meet my conditions! Acceptance? After you've become just what I want you to be! Generosity? If you give me something I might return the favour!

Marriage has highlighted the worst in me. With a husband who is nigh on perfect I can hardly ignore my failings.

What is more troubling to me than my acerbic wit or cutting tongue is the way my behaviour goes against what I rationally believe. I believe in the value of people. I hold generosity, patience and kindness close to my heart. I want to pour out unconditional love as a soothing balm on wounds of the soul. I love my husband and want to cherish him dearly.

So why is my behaviour so abominable? Why do I lash out at a moments notice over the most trivial offence? Why don't I turn a blind eye to the every day irritations of life with another?

It is here that I return to my legacy. My childhood held little of respect. I was never good enough. My words and actions were critiqued or worse, criticised. There was scant generosity or helpfulness. Patience was in short supply.

I'm wary of blaming my sinfulness on my childhood - I know I have choices about the way I behave in the here and now. But somewhere deep inside, my soul has been seared by the harshness. My desire to be kind and gracious is too often short circuited by the past. Before I know it, I've followed the time worn path of meanness, and venom spills from my mouth just as it did all those years ago.

Oh what a legacy. I shall battle it all my life. (And if I'm not battling that I'll be battling downright sin!) But beat it I will.

One day I will find healing. One day I will be beautiful, generous and kind. One day I will encourage and build up the people in my life. One day I will cherish and nurture those around me. One day I will pour out love on wounds of the soul. One day I will have a family and leave them a legacy of love. This is my dream.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

television tears

It would seem I have a 'tear quota' to fulfill. If I fail to meet the quota those tears sneak out of their own accord. Suddenly insignificant, trivial events set off an outpouring of sadness that trails down my face.

Ugly Betty, my usual tear-jerking fare, has been absent for the last fortnight and in that time the tension of unmet quotas has risen steadily.

I, however, have been oblivious to this whole dynamic. I didn't know there was a quota! I had no idea that if life was happy and the tears didn't flow they'd find an out some other way! I thought I cried when I was sad or happy, or perhaps when I joined with another person in their sadness or happiness. But random crying over minimal triggers? Not me! (crying every night as a teenager doesn't qualify)

So it was something of a shock when I found myself crying over yet another television program.
Where do these tears come from?!

At least this was more worthy than Ugly Betty - the story of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who saved the lives of thousands of Jews in Lithuania in WWII. I'd never heard of Sugihara before, but as the documentary unfolded I was deeply moved by the way he lived.

There were over 200,000 Jews in Lithuania in 1940, all desperate to escape imminent death at the hands of Hitler. Despite his government's orders to the contrary, Sugihara wrote several thousand visas for the Jews, allowing them to escape across Russia and into Japan. When he and his family returned home, Sugihara was sacked and he spent the rest of his life eking out a difficult existence. Shortly before his death he was asked why he wrote all those visas. He seemed surprised at the question, simply stating "I did it because it was the right thing to do."

Then the floodgates opened and I wept.

I am often struck by the absolute self-centredness of our society. The speed limit is broken with complete disregard for the potential damage it can wreak. Litter is thrown to the ground. Fossil fuel is burned. Developing world workers are exploited. People are murdered in fits of rage. School windows are smashed. Abuse is hurled. Money stolen. If it feels good do it and don't think about who you might hurt... We seem hell-bent on pleasure seeking, even if it means destroying one another to do so.

Sugihara stands out in stark contrast to this. He hoped for diplomatic promotion; he wanted a good life for his family; he knew that writing those visas could signal the end of all his dreams. Yet he still did it. With each signature he banged another nail into the coffin of his career. But he knew it was right. He had to do it because he could do nothing else but help. Sugihara stood by his convictions and paid a great personal price.

Maybe I don't have a tear quota! Maybe I just have a soft heart.

Whichever it is, I have been touched by the life of Chiune Sugihara.

May I also be someone who does what is right because it is right.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

mad-spiders... it could be possible after all

Some time ago I wrote about a spider running in circles around my bathroom floor. At the time I questioned if it might be delirious. Do spiders suffer from mental illness, or (as one friend suggested) was the spider simply burned by the hot air I blew on it and hopping around in pain?

I don't know, but it seems that I am not the only person who wonders about such things! 'lucidiocy' pointed me in the direction of an experiment which uses web design to determine the mental state of a spider.



there are mutants in my garden! (or 'high school biology comes to life')

Our zucchini plants are still limping along, producing a small number of fruit. I had grand visions of 200 zucchs but, funnily enough, not watering the plants has slowed their output! We're 25 away from 200 and I suspect the frost will beat us on this one.

The other morning I popped out to pick a couple of green zucchinis and got quite a fright... they were covered in odd, mutant-like insects. I flicked them off quickly (such bravery) and scurried away from the infested plants for the safety of our house. And a quick internet search.

Carefully typing in 'yellow head larvae', I discovered a fantastic website that helps you identify bugs (limited only by its location in New Zealand). No matter, Australia and New Zealand have enough fauna in common for me to identify my mutant insects as larvae of the yellow ladybird.

It seems that we have a classic example of high school biology functioning in our very own backyard!

What I forgot to mention when explaining our dwindling zucchini production was the white, powder-like fungus that covers every visible leaf and stem of the plants. This mildew may well be slowing their growth more than lack of water, but half-baked-vegetable-growing-city-dwellers that we are, we have done nothing to stem the spread of this nasty parasite.

It would seem that yellow ladybirds love white, powder-like fungus and recent weeks have seen a burgeoning of their numbers in our backyard. Each zucchini leaf is covered with anything from one to ten ladybirds, munching away contentedly. (OK, ten is an exaggeration, but still, there's loads of them!)

With the plentiful supply of food they have set to reproduction in a BIG way. Not only can you catch them mating at regular intervals (I didn't mean to intrude, but they were on top of the leaves - what did they expect?!), but the ladybird numbers are swelling before our very eyes.

Leaves are now covered with multiple ladybirds surrounded by their (very ugly) offspring. The leaf above had seven babies larvae scurrying around just in this one corner!

Now I'm having visions of my Year 12 Biology teacher passionately describing parasites, synergistic relationships in the animal kingdom, and food chains that produce insect plagues in times of plentiful food.

Wow... in our backyard... our very own food chain! And I get to be part of it all, enriched by observing the incredible interrelationship of nature... if that isn't synergy I don't know what is!

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

autumn in australia

It's autumn in Australia. - and most of the southern hemisphere I guess. In fact all of the southern hemisphere! I necessarily focus on Australia because I live here.

While northern hemisphere blogs are positively budding with life and spring blossoms, we are gearing up for winter. Cold, grey winter. Yes, I know... miserable isn't it? Don't you feel sorry for me?! (Secretly I hope it's a wet winter because we badly need rain)

I've been looking with envy at all the online pictures of spring, wishing it was me rejoicing over life and colour and warmth. Nothing beats that feeling of delight as coats are discarded, the sun angles higher in the sky, and plants burst forth from hibernation. It's like being reborn. Flooded with energy afresh.

At one point I stopped looking at the computer screen for long enough to start observing the world around me here. Suddenly I noticed the trees turning, colouring the scenery with a marvelous array of gold and orange and brown. There's a stillness and quiet in the air as nature prepares to bunker down for the winter. Leaves gently float to the ground, their task done, duty complete for another season.

No, autumn doesn't give me that wonderful buzz like spring does, but it is beautiful in its own way. It speaks of the ebb and flow of life, the sparkling moments counterbalanced by times of subdued reflection. Of taking time to rest and and be restored, nourishing oneself after a time of busyness.

The older I get (and the less energy I have!) the more I desire to attune myself to nature. Moving with the cycle of the seasons seems a helpful way to survive in a world of continual happenings.

So while you laugh and dance and twirl in the lushness of a spring-world reborn, I shall be turning inward, slowing down and allowing myself time to repair.

That's the theory anyway!

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

remind me what easter's about again?!

I thought Easter was all about Jesus - you know, death, resurrection and all of that.

Then I went to the shops where my eyes were opened to the reality of Easter in the lives of most Tasmanians.

I didn't think about it really. Thursday was just a day off work. I chatted over coffee with a couple of friends before deciding a quick round of the shops was in order as a reward for recent hard work.

Caught up in my thoughts, I drifted into Target to peruse the latest fashions, before walking smack-bang into a literal wall of shoppers. Every checkout was open with a queue extending across the aisle.

"Strange," I thought "Tasmania is hardly a crowded place! Where have all these people come from? It couldn't be Easter causing all this could it?"

Next I spied a local chocolate store.

"Hmmmm, I haven't bought Frank a surprise for a while, I'll duck in and find him a yummy chocolate that expresses my love," and in I went.

Packed, absolutely packed. As many people as you can fit into a 6 metre square shop were frantically scanning the shelves for dairy free chocolate, gift boxes, specialty Easter eggs.

It appeared that Easter might be bringing the whole of the city into the streets!

That evening I decided to combine aqua aerobics with grocery shopping and ducked into the supermarket on the way home. What a crowd! There were as many people racing up and down the aisles as at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, and there it was nearly nine o'clock at night!

Suddenly all became clear. Easter isn't about Jesus! It's about frantic last minute shopping for Easter eggs, long weekend camping, chocolate, commercialism... anything but remembering Jesus' death and resurrection.

I feel angry with the people who've pedaled such a shallow concept of Easter. I'm annoyed that people who deny Jesus' name cling to a long weekend in his honour. I'm sad that the church universal has done nothing to prevent this prevailing attitude of disregard.

And then Easter really arrived, and Frank and I went to church to reflect on Jesus' death. This is a relatively new experience for me, since my Dad insisted that Easter (and Christmas) were originally pagan feasts and not to be celebrated in our home. I now love gathering in solidarity with all those around the world who choose to remember Christ, calming my heart, stilling my mind and meditating on Jesus.

When it all boils down, I'm humbled by Jesus' attitude, inspired by his obedience, overwhelmed by his love.

We all have the freedom to make Easter what we want. I'm grateful for the opportunity to reflect more fully on Jesus and his incredible beauty.

Come tomorrow morning I'll be back at church rejoicing in the incredible wonder of new life! I love it.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

on inventing the wheel

They say the wheel is the greatest invention known to humankind.

It must have been incredible for the people who dreamed it up - the sudden speed and ease with which objects moved.

The stuff of dreams.

I wonder if, in their wildest dreams, they could have imagined where that simple wheel would take us?

Did they envisage the transformation of transport? Were metallic cars with four wheels pictured in their mind's eye? Or giant caterpillars skimming along ribbons of steel? Did they think of the endless possibilities?

I wonder too if they contemplated the carnage to be wrought at the hands of a wheel. Crushing forces breaking bones. Grinding metal tearing flesh. Skidding tyres snuffing out life.

Another motor vehicle accident in Tasmania. (blast those winding roads!)
Another fatality.
Another statistic.

What price a wheel? Would they have invented it if they'd known all this?

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Monday, April 02, 2007

the mathematics of Sunday

I love God, don't get me wrong, but something is bothering me about the whole church thing.

Sunday = Church
Church = Music
Music = Work
Work = Energy expenditure
Energy expenditure = Tiredness

Therefore, Sunday = Tiredness.*

This is not a happy equation. A better one would be:

Life (including Sunday) = God
God = Love
Love = Peace and joy
Peace and joy = Contentment
Contentment = Rest

Therefore, Life (including Sunday) = Rest.*

I'm reminded of something Philip Yancey says about prayer:
I have found that my reluctance to pray increases when I regard it as a necessary discipline and decreases when I see it as a time to keep company with God.
I'm tired of rocking up to church on Sunday to perform duties that I'm not sure he even requires of me. I'm disenchanted by the 'need' to prepare and present a feature service every week. I'd like to sit at his feet and gaze at his face and drink in his beauty. That would be a wonderful Sunday.

Sunday = God, love, peace, joy, contentment, rest.*

How good would that be?!

* I'm a little jaded at present. It's highly likely that Music = Loving God. I'm just not there right now. For me, Sitting in adoration at God's feet = Loving God. The two seem incompatible, but I hope to assimilate them at a future date!

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