Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Dog's Eye: Wherever I may Roam

Six hours and fifty five minutes remain of 2018 as I write this. Time for a bit of reflection: my year in a nutshell, with healthy doses of gratitude.

This time last year, I had just arrived back in Darwin, hopeful, as many are on the eve of new year, that 2018 would be a good year. In particular, I prayed for an angel to come into my life. About a month later, she did. I met Bich on eHarmony, and we got married in August. God answered my prayer by bringing this awesome lady to me. She's here now in Wollongong with me, and we are enjoying quality time together before we face another long separation. It's been great to have her here celebrating Christmas with family, and hitting tourist hot spots around Sydney, Wollongong and Canberra.

After Easter I began my house sitting adventure, and also commenced my busiest ever period of travelling. My nana died, as did one of my best friends, I got married, and in October I was made redundant which ushered in a period of five weeks of unemployment before I got a great new job. We also had a second wedding celebration in Bich's home town.

So after three trips to Vietnam, three to Sydney/Wollongong, one to Brisbane and 19 house sits, I've racked up 20 individual plane flights and slept in 34 different beds, including 13 hotels, in eight months. 

It's been a tremendous year of personal growth as I have been "forced" to do a lot of letting go. The cultivation of thankfulness for what I have, and the practice of holding these things lightly. Letting go of the past, treasuring the present and trusting my faithful God for the future. 

I don't know what 2019 has in store for me, but I don't need to know. All I know is that God is good, and whatever comes my way, I'll make it through and I will be happy and thankful. Wherever I lay my head, however long I have to wait for my wife to be granted a permanent visa, regardless of my circumstances, I will give glory to God, and as Father Calvin suggested...I will live the Spirit of Christmas each day.

Peace and blessings to you for 2019. Happy New Year.

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Dog's Eye: the ant and the sluggard

Twenty nine years ago I shared a room with a bloke named Taz. The room was one of three in a house full of young Christian men from around the world. Taz and I hit upon a way of encouraging one another not to sleep in. As befit our circumstances we chose a bible verse to recite to one another should laziness attempt to chain us to our respective beds.

"Go to the ant you sluggard. Consider it's way and be wise..." - Proverbs 6:6-10

I started a new job four weeks ago, following five weeks of unemployment courtesy of being made redundant. I'm working harder now, for slightly less pay, but that is okay. I start work later, and finish later, but I have a little more flexibility. I've gone from a small, poorly run organisation to a large well run one, and I've left the classroom to become a teacher manager. And I love it.

Work is satisfying, stimulating and challenging. Hard work is its own reward: a cliche but nonetheless true. Rest is important. Balance between work and rest can be tricky. My new colleagues have welcomed me, and I sense a friendly, cooperative and supportive environment. They also work hard, and I find all this very encouraging.

We ended the year with a staff Christmas party yesterday, and while most of my workmates were breathing a large collective sigh of relief at having made it through a stressful, difficult year, I was, and am, simply feeling grateful to have been given this job. It has been a testing year for me too, professionally speaking, so I will enjoy the break. Three weeks to spend with my wife and family. Three weeks to reflect on what has been a remarkable year. Three weeks to not think about work. Three weeks to rest, and yet I will not forget the ant: its diligence, its organisation and provision.

Although working hard, being organised and budgeting wisely are admirable, I know that God is Jehovah Jireh, my ultimate provider. This is the main thing I have learned in 2018, but not the only thing.