Wednesday, April 30, 2008


A supermarket stacked full of food which tumbles from the shelves and into my trolley.

A catered afternoon tea with an abundance of sandwiches we can never hope to eat.

A pub meal so big I wearily push the still full plate away.

A worldwide food crisis in which people are starving because there isn't enough food and what there is they cannot afford.

I think we have stuffed up.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


As I type, a small, dark toddler lies nestled on my lap. Asleep. Our chests rise and fall in gentle harmony and I wonder if there is anything more precious than this - a child in my arms asleep, even a child not my own. He lies so trusting, totally abandoned, resting in the safety of my embrace and I am struck by his vulnerability and fragility. I want to protect him from all harm (is that a small bruise I see on his eyelid?), nurture him, defend him.

As these feelings swell in my breast I can't forget what happened just a few nights ago. He screamed and screamed in total denial of his need to sleep. While both our tempers flared, I plonked him none too gently on the lounge and Frank and I loudly debated his readiness to sleep. We were both right - eventually he slept. But in the brief flare of rage did we harm him? Despite all my latent longing to shelter him from danger, did I instead leave a nasty imprint upon his mind?

Tonight I prepared myself for the onslaught, determined to maintain calm whatever this young child threw at me. He fell asleep at 6:30pm, stirring once or twice but settling quickly. I don't deserve his trust or adoration. Something shifts within me as I ponder his ability to forgive my wrong of the other night.

It strikes me we all have an element of this little Indian boy tucked away inside. We all need to be loved, nurtured, protected. We all are fragile, easily broken. Our bodies are bulkier, our hearts encrusted in defensive stone, but inside lies a softness to be cherished.

I am weak and faulty, I fail all the time, but the best in me stretches to offer this little boy love and hope and safety. The best in me also reaches out to my husband with deep valuing and respect and the desire to cherish him (he is amazing).

I am fragile. They are fragile.
Together, perhaps, we might find strength.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, April 25, 2008


Yesterday morning I ditched bouncing around on a rubber ball in the confines of a four walled fitness class for the freedom of a walk with fresh, sunny air brushing my cheeks. As I strode over King's Bridge I happened to glance down at the murky, tidal water of the South Esk and there I was, clearly projected onto the river by the morning sun, my outline floating gently in the water's eddy. I resisted the urge to stop and wave at myself, before I experienced a strange, surreal, almost out-of-body moment. In observing the shadow cast by my body I was confronted with the shadow thrown by my life - what impression do I leave as I walk through each day?

Lately I am hard pressed to evaluate my imprint on the world. Life is busy. I tumble out of bed into the beckoning dawn and sixteen hours later collapse under the sheets with barely a second for reflection between. Crossing the bridge yesterday I grabbed hold of the opportunity to mindfully ponder the trail I am leaving.

No doubt I am like every other person, with some of my shadow well defined and graceful. At other times the shapes fall dark and gloomy... like the scowl I shot at the young man sprawled across the public footpath of a local food hall. Despite his efforts to draw in his seat I barely acknowledged the gesture - an ugly shadow best hidden in the shade. But then there are moments in which I am pleased with my shadow casting, when I lean in with generosity to the needy around me, or consciously appreciate the goodness found in people.

It was just a walk in the park incorporating a jaunt across the bridge, but in that moment God sparked my thinking and prompted me to consider how I might cast a shadow to be proud of.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 17, 2008


The trees turned, the leaves fell and autumn arrived, just like that.

It is stunningly beautiful here right now. A golden sun is shining through leaves of yellow and brown. The air is still and warm. The colours restore me.

A gift.

(When I finally did go looking for photos of fine specimens they were hard to come by... native Australian flora is not as a rule deciduous and the drought has caused the introduced trees to drop their leaves in a rather scrappy manner. Usually beautiful autumn trees are displaying rather poor form this year. Still beautiful colours though)


Friday, April 11, 2008

and I thought I was having a bad day!

My insides are all scrunched up, and I can't work out how I'm going to manage my nursing job while looking after a little boy who is in an unsafe situation in the evenings, who has a tendency to scream on and off for a couple of hours when he comes here, plus every thing else I do.

As I cleaned my teeth this morning I worked on relaxing my body, thinking calm thoughts, unscrunching the scrunching... and then the phone rang.

I was greeted by an elderly lady with a wavery voice, in something close to a state of panic:

I can't come in today, I've slept in, my alarm didn't go off and I've just woken up and I'm not going to make it, and, and, and...

When she finally paused for breath I kindly advised her that (to make matters worse) she must have the wrong number but I hoped things worked out better for her. Then I hung up and laughed. We're all just little ants running around like crazy, stressing ourselves out over this or that! My problems, your problems, her problems... let's keep them in perspective hey?! And stop taking life so seriously!

A fitball class helped rid me of some of the angst too. I love fitball. It's hilarious, all these women bouncing around doing ridiculous things on a rubber ball. But it feels great.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

care: a matter of drawing close (with thanks to charles ringma)

Even the best of busyness engaged in with the purest of hearts for the good of others will catch up with you eventually. Or so I've found this last few days when stress and exhaustion reared their ugly heads. I think it has something to do with this:

We cannot simply live for others. A life that is totally focused on others and shows no regard for itself will eventually disintegrate. The idea that such a life is the highest form of spirituality is a misunderstanding of the rhythm of the inner life. That rhythm recognises that we need to be nurtured, refreshed, and empowered if we are to continue to give... we need to care with a care that springs from being nurtured ourselves.
Charles Ringma

I'm still figuring out this rhythm of the inner life... or maybe I already know the rhythm, but I fail to move in time with it. I see this or that good thing I might contribute to, a person here or there whom I can help, and there I go racing from one person, task, need to the next. The last two weeks are a case in point.

This evening I soaked in a bath full of bubbles and I'm feeling more rested and balanced, less like I am disintegrating, more nurtured, refreshed and slightly more empowered to give. A good sleep should do the rest.

This busyness thing is a running theme for me. I am constantly overcommitted. I have now obtained a copy of 'In Praise of Slow' but am yet to sit down and gain inspiration and insight from its pages. I have however found a chapter in 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' by Barbara Kingsolver that was helpful. She writes of the conundrum of time, in which we rush to 'save' a few minutes here, 'snatch' an extra moment there when in reality we have twenty four hours a day, every day, no more, no less. We cannot save time, all we can do is cram more into our allotted hours, for as Kingsolver writes:

Every minute I save will get used on something else, possibly no more sublime than staring at the newel post trying to remember what I just ran upstairs for.

The solution? Could it be accepting each twenty four hour day as it comes and making the most of each minute instead of trying to create space for the magical, ever out of reach moment when
we can indulge in something really enjoyable? Life does not consist of lounging around reading books or engaging in pleasurable hobbies. Those things are good and right, but so are cleaning the bathroom, cooking the meals and washing the dishes. The key to me seems to be cherishing the cleaning, cooking and washing up, or as Kingsolver puts it:

...attending to the task in front of me - even a quotidian chore - might make it into part of a good day, rather than just a rock in the road to someplace else.

I haven't made it to such a state of enlightened attending, but I am edging my way in that direction. My busyness last week was not a matter of saving time or cramming endless duties in for the sake of it. I wasn't grudging in my meting out of time, tapping my foot impatiently for the moment I would be free to do as I wished. I just forgot to care for myself in the middle of caring for others and it all caught up with me.

Lessons in the journey of life - maybe by the time I die I will be dancing to the tandem rhythms of ministering to others and providing space for my own nurture!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 03, 2008

you can run, but you can't hide

Life is very, very busy this week. But mostly it's good, life-at-the-coal-face busy (as opposed to busy for the sake of busy)... my life is intersecting with others in what is hopefully a meaningful and helpful way. However good it might be, there still isn't much space for blogging. In the interim, here are a few things I have noticed:

It's so long since I've posted here Blogger forgot who I was and demanded I log in from scratch.

Even just one afternoon of rain will have green grass shooting up in an otherwise barren, drought stricken back yard.

I like teaching student nurses. It's a pity I don't like nursing much any more. I do however LOVE my new job as school chaplain in a poor area of town, and one day I promise I will write about it.

Italian farms don't like replying to emails written in English even if their website features an (oft times hilarious) English translation.

The world has gone a little texting crazy. At first, when the car service centre sent an SMS to remind us of our up coming service and followed it up with a 'how was our service? reply 1 ok or 2 not good and we will call you' message I thought it was great. Unfortunately today I received a text advising me my one year dental check up is due from June 1. Hello?! After a ten year dental break I think I can go more than a year without a check up. Leave me alone!

And that's all I have time for. I hope you are all well and I will get back in touch soon. Hopefully on the weekend!

Labels: , , , , ,