What silent moments know

SATURDAY night radio in Melbourne is awful. There are two stations playing dance track after dance track. Ugh. Or another two playing what seems to be one slow romantic song after another. The chance to hear something about Romeo and Juliet and a lovesong for the fifth time that week is unappealing. So I turned off the radio as I drove on the tollway and then the freeway out of the eastern suburbs and towards home at around 10.37pm. Then there was just me, the sound of tyre on road and the hundreds of other vehicles making their way on a haunting autumn night. And I wondered if this was my life: work a job, fight sin, seek God, keep striving and try to get closer to people. Forty years of slog spanning ahead of me like a safe and reliable, but dull, freeway.

They catch you off guard those moments where for some reason, ‘bang,’ a thought or feeling gets through all the self-protection and everyday details. Like randomly listening to Hillsong United songs on the computer and you double click on track 7…“let chains be broken, lives be healed, eyes be open, Christ is revealed’ and you’re back there. In a living room on a Sunday in September where the same song was playing on a DVD and the memory of that moment is so real you can smell it. And haunting raw emotion wells up inside.  Or you’re watching Veronica Mars, season 2, episode 18, and there’s a dream scene where Veronica has a 30 second dialogue with a dead gay classmate. He’s confident, a bit smug and you rewind it and watch the scene again. Watch him again. ‘What secret is he going to tell you?’ comes the thought questioning what the appeal of an effeminate character in a TV series is.

Last night you couldn’t take a conversation trick. Every comment seemed to fall flat and no connection with others seemed to be happening. So you resorted to questions. Lots of questions in an attempt to gain some speaking traction and feel competent with the added bonus of seeming interested. Then today, at church, it was the exact opposite. For whatever reason they just talked to you and then another person did and another person did. They comfortably entered into your personal space as you chatted cordially. ‘We should catch up sometime,’ someone said. ‘Do you want to come for lunch?’ asked another. I was surprised. Did I wake up this morning with flashing lights above my head that said ‘nice guy below; talk to him’? Last night was chalk and today was cheese. But who knows the whys of life that produces two really different experiences within the span of 15 hours.

The choice of movies at the cinema during school holidays is limited to one kid flick after another. So due to your interest in time travel stuff you suggest to your mate that 17 again looks okay and along with a hundred or so teenage Zac Efron fans you head into cinema 2. There’s an absolutely beautiful scene in it where the woman does some garden landscaping design for the first time ever and she shows Zac’s character who happens to be her estranged husband in the body of a 17-year-old. And for the first time he recognises her hidden talents and appreciates her in a new way while she basks in the glow of his praise and her achievement. It touched me and the scene lingers in my mind. When the DVD comes out you anticipate renting it and watching the scene a few times. There’s just a beauty about it.

You drive out of town and down a road. Probably passed where you should have been going, but you didn’t see any signs. So on you go one kilometre after another on an overcast Friday morning. The road becomes narrower and then turns to dirt and you start to climb out of the valley and into the hills. Up and up you go. Then you look out below and wow. God paints some breathtaking pictures. The valley of green grass, with the pretty small town in the distance and behind it more rolling hills. You could sit down here and never get tired of what spreads out below you. But with the beauty comes caution. The road is narrow, the drop is long and with the feelings of gladness there’s tenseness as well.

When I started writing this I had no great declaration to make or wisdom to reveal. Life goes on and on.

I want God more now. I wanted to witness to people during the week. Genuinely desired to for the first time in a fair while.

I’ve been challenged in sins of omission this week. Of not doing the right thing at the right time, of not taking the initiative to do what needs to be done. It’s not a weight, because Christ is my sinless substitute, but it’s an area to work on and allow God to work in my on.

The masturbation fight keeps up. Had a bit of a bad period, but I feel more confident I’m back on track and ready to go.

My housemate has found a room I can have for a few months while I look for something else, so that is good. 

Without the internet at home I watched the first series of Jericho and have almost finished Veronica Mars’ second. When that one’s done I’m planning to give myself some more silence and see what happens. Maybe I’ll lie down and let the thoughts come and mull over them and pray. See what those moments know.


Not been my week

SOMETIMES you just need to have a good whine; here’s mine:


The week started full of promise, but those good days of Sunday and Monday didn’t follow through into the rest of the week. Tuesday was below average, but I think it was Wednesday where it really went downhill. Nothing bad, even close to bad happened, but it was one frustration after another.


During the day my boss upstairs called my phone and announced I was the lucky person to cover the cricket (it’s a sport) presentations on Friday night. Ugh, double ugh. It is my weekend to work so that’s how I got this job. Trying to take pictures of people in various states of intoxication and get their name spellings is probably as close to photographic hell as you can get. So that was a bit of a dampener on my future outlook. Actually the main point of my bosses phone call wasn’t that I had to take pictures there, but that he didn’t want me to come in to work until later (ie 1pm) on Friday so he would have to pay me less overtime penalties. Charming. Anyway went home after work and, wallah, my housemate has bought a house. He is the ‘renter’ here and I ‘board’ off him. He’d been looking for a while, but has had house hunt phases before that have come to nothing. His new home is two bedrooms and there are three of us here and as I am hoping to move to a new job in the suburbs after mid-year he wants the other housemate to go with him for stability. So I will have to find a new place in June. I could just take over the lease for this unit, but as I am hoping to move I don’t want to be locked down to a 12 month contract.


On Thursday for some reason my boss wanted me to go to a two and a half hour seminar on dairy farming stuff. Usually you’d go for the most interesting talk or at the end to take some pictures of people eating lunch. But, no, poor Chris had to listen to a full complement of speakers. There was more than an hour on farm profitability, then fascinating information on fertilizer followed by an exceedingly interesting talk on pastures. The title of the pasture talk was “what can replace ryegrass?” or something, but his conclusion was that nothing could replace ryegrass, so it was a bit confusing. Also Thursday I discovered that instead of working Saturday I was working Sunday, which was going to annoy my weekend plans. Anyway went home that night and my housemate says ‘if you try and go on the internet and it doesn’t work it’s because I cut it off.’ This hit me hard. (My housemate didn’t do anything wrong. He’d been thinking about it for a while and I was only paying a token amount as he was claiming the net cost as a business expense. He was on a super expensive plan I would not have wanted to take over, but hadn’t warned me Thursday was termination day). Since I’ve had super-fast net at home it has been a mainly good thing with the ability to messenger with friends and read stuff. It’s especially been good when I have to work on the weekend and need stuff to do. For the rest of the night I was walking around in a kind of state of shock. As I will be moving soon I’m thinking twice before paying the $100 internet installation fee, then $40 a month, followed by the $60 moving/cancellation fee to get on the web again. (As I’m working this weekend I can get away with going to the office to use the internet).


Friday was the worst. Trying to fill in a couple of extra hours in the morning with no internet was boring and hard, and by the time I get to work I was in a relaxed mindset rather than a working one, which made the whole day a chore. So to what I expected to be the lowlight of my week….at about 7pm I arrived at the cricket presentations. They did a few awards at 7.30pm. These weren’t too bad with only a few people in each picture and no one was drunk yet. Then they had a break for dinner and I walked to my newspaper office to get a drink of water. Unlocked the door, went in and typed in a password for the alarm system. Unfortunately, I realised later, I was typing in my bank account PIN number and not my security number. Whoops. Alarm goes. Rang up the security people and they said type in your number and I realised my mistake and typed in my security system number. Then the security person said typing in the wrong number sets off the alarm and you can’t turn it off for 10 minutes. Yay, double yay. The alarm is a lot noisier then I imagined it would be. A lot. Need to cover my ears noisy. So I went out the back to the toilet where it was quieter and waited 10 minutes for the stupid thing to stop ringing. Then typed in right number and it stopped. Whew. Had drink of water.


So back to cricket presentations. The journo from the other local paper had arrived and I had a good chat to her. Then more presentations and photos. These were the worst. It was the team of the year for six grades of cricket. There is 11 people in a team. The organisers had given us sheets of paper with names on so we arranged them in that order, so we didn’t have to go “what’s your name?” “sorry, what was that?” “You mean W-h-i-t-i-n-g?” “Uh, what’s your real name?” “I’m not stupid; I know who Ricky Ponting is.” But it was still hard work making sure they stood in an order that matched the list on the sheet in a noisy room with cricketers who don’t care heaps. There were a few changes here and there as well as absences, so I marked them on the paper. A slight highlight of the night was when I took individual photos of each of the cricketers of the year for each of the seven grades. If all those photos go in the paper that’s $14 rather than $2 for one photo of them all.


So the night was over. I walked the 15 minutes to my home relieved and it didn’t rain on me. Woot. But, no, my week wasn’t over. When I arrived home I discovered the “super-important sheet of paper” with cricketer names, absences and what clothes they were wearing for matching to photos later was GONE. Now I want to cry. My boss’ obsession with proper names, in the correct order is unparalleled. This was not going to go well for me. So I get in my car and drive to the hall where the presentation was, ‘hello drunk people’ and look for where it should have been. It wasn’t there. Ugh. Like I said this paper is important and therefore I need to do everything possible to avoid the “uh, don’t know name orders or people absent” conversation on Monday morning. I drive back home and decide to walk back over my path from the hall to home. It’s now 11pm, so avoid other crazy people walking the streets and retrace my steps. I’d probably done 1.3km; past the park, petrol station, offices, supermarket, laneway, pub, across the road, past my office, past gym and I’m getting close to the hall and still no sight of this precious yellow paper. Then lying in front of the drycleaners was the said piece of yellow paper. YAY. Double yay. I walk home relieved (not happy) and see no more crazy people. Not that they’d have wanted to meet me then; I had a torch and I wasn’t afraid to use it.