Going the Distance!
I have been in a weird space lately. I haven’t blogged for a while because, as they say, “I have been doing other things”. This includes moving hospitals, as the Royal Perth Rehabilitation Hospital or Shents as we know it, finally closed. Moving a whole hospital is a daunting task so it’s amazing that our little unit has made the transition and now has a home at RPH. On top of this we are moving house, (I know nuts!), and I have a son doing his final year of year 12.
So the urge to write downs things has been largely ignored until today. I have been in my study sorting out my desk, truly a work of art. It must have had at least 10 layers of papers, notes, sermons, requests, articles going back sometimes more than 4 years. I don’t know how that has happened but it appears that when I do tidy up my desk (which I have done occasionally in the last few years) I seem to place the things that are too hard to file, in another pile. So this pile just gets moved around….
Anyway I found quite a few sermons and musings on faith and Christianity, things I have written or thought were useful enough to write down. I have always been aware that my faith journey is not that typical. If someone was to ask me why I believed in God, it would be difficult to answer. I have always sensed there is something more beyond what we see and feel, more than what we can measure that fills the whole universe. Call it God, spirit, energy… And I believe this something more is reflected in the life of Jesus, his dangerous and challenging life. It is this something that has led so many to fight for love and justice and peace, when the obvious thing would be to give up.
As I was moving papers from one pile to another I had my Ipod on and Leonard Cohen started up, singing his beautiful ballad “Hallelujah”. One line really hit me, “I did my best, it wasn’t much”. This spiritual presence is also found in you and me, regardless of race, ethnicity, background or religion, a presence that drives us to love more, and live more for others. Ordinary people living ordinary lives can make a difference, actually little bits of “not much” can make a huge difference. I have also thought there is something inherently wonderful and beautiful in that.
Perhaps we have to remember this when times get rough, when things get completely out of hand (like my life at the moment) or when we lose hope that things will change.
Here are a few paragraphs from a piece I wrote for my husband’s cousin Julie, which I found lying on my desk. She has been gone now for some years, but her life is reflected in and remembered by so many. And she still inspires me, reminding me that making a difference can be found in the small stuff. A life time commitment to the “small stuff of our lives”
“Over the last couple of weeks Matt and I have had the privilege to spend some time with his cousin Julie and her husband Rob and their family. Julie has been fighting breast cancer for about 9 years, and is at the end of a long and at times very difficult journey. She is unable to walk unaided, has difficulty speaking and tires easily. Yet we met her at Delish on Saturday, a coffee place in Floreat, where she sat in her wheelchair, had a cup of tea and engaged with us as best she could. That night Rob and Julie were going to a play with old and dear friends and while that was going to be tricky with a wheelchair they were both determined to get there. And they did!
Julie has revealed an amazing side to her personality, through terrible circumstances. She has been able to continue to live a full and active life, even though she has been progressively getting weaker and sicker. We have been humbled by the way that yet so near death she is able to live, really live, engaging with us and the rest of her family and friends. For Julie sharing the normal things in life with those she has a deep and long lasting relationship with has been very important. So when we see her we do not come to say goodbye, we come to spend time with her as we would on any other day, doing what comes naturally.
Life can bring to us so many good and bad things, moments when we feel we can do anything and others when the whole world seems to be crashing down on us. Times when all seems lost, and we are lonely and bereft. Yet throughout all of life’s journeys there is a reality that is stronger than one could ever imagine. That reality is the connection we have to each other. The small intimacies that come from knowing and caring for someone, sharing with someone the pain and the joy of life, sharing what happens each and every day. This is how relationships are formed, are nurtured and are prolonged and how we can support one another along the road. This is how Rob supports Julie and Julie gives light to Rob.”
In this I hear again Cohen’s song, “I did my best, it wasn’t much”. If we were to love and care for one another, everyone, then perhaps it would be enough! It could even be extraordinary.