Summer 2011 #1
A very good year, barely worn in, has given way to twenty-eleven (a jaw-breaking mouthful of a word), and I confess to being ill at ease with the New Year. For one thing it’s a prime number, which is odd. It doesn’t roll of the tongue. It’s all shiny and new. Or perhaps it’s something deeper…
Last year, twenty-ten, was terrific! A bonzer, cracking year; a peerless age. There were one or two difficult moments, but oh so many glory days. It was roughly this time 12 months ago when good old Bugger and I first eyed each other suspiciously across the garage floor. After just four months my operator’s license was upgraded from manual to power (R2-B2), and I steadily progressed from Bugger #1 through B2 and B3 and on to the celebrated B4! It’s amazing to think that the contraption that once scared the daylights out of me has become the vehicle of so many wonderful encounters with family and friends.
I tallied up the miles last week, wondering just how far the various incarnations of Bugger and I had travelled in 2010. A little over 20,000km by my reckoning, and most of that on public transport. Not bad, not bad at all! Finding that B4 and I could roll onto busses and trains was the discovery of the year. The sense of independence is intoxicating. Back in November I managed to travel by interstate rail on eight consecutive days (and I’ve been trying to casually drop that statistic into a blog ever since!) So tell me now: How cool is that?
I love travelling. In fact I adore it; but only when it has a purpose. The Grand Tour was undoubtedly the month I spent in Central Australia pushing B1 through the red sands of the Gibson Desert (Kurta, yirringkarra-rni!). Worshiping with Aboriginal brothers and sisters before dawn on Easter Sunday is an indelible, priceless memory. The purpose of every journey (other than a couple of mongrel trips to doctors and hospitals) has been to be with the people I know and love. It’s who we have, not what we have, that matters in life.
2010 was the year my Favourite Wife and I found Snow!
2010 was the year of the Shed.
2010 was also the year to surrender my licence; a moment that loomed with unreasonable dread, a monstrous shadow cast by a meager creature. In the event I found that wisdom welled up from who knows where, and I could see with absorbing clarity that “Surrender is an ultimate proof of possession. It is only that which I can freely give that I have ever truly held” (The Gift of Loosing Things). Learning the graceful art of surrender has proved essential; and a continual challenge. Today for example, New Years Day, I capitulated and employed a robotic, computer-generated voice for the first time. Plenty of blog-fodder there in coming months I suspect!
From time to time in life I have felt that I must be the most fortunate man to have ever walked the green fields of this good earth. The force of this awareness is hard to describe. I don’t simply feel content with my lot; this is not mere satisfaction; nor good luck. I feel a sense akin to guilt at being so privileged, at receiving such blessing, at providence having been so opportune. I feel it still, even today.
When we first married I bought a large ‘minute journal’, bound in green leather and suede, and began to record the seasons as they came and went. The funny things our children said, the achievements of our family, and our dilemmas as well. I’ve sometimes rehearsed in my mind the acrid stench of smoke and the desperate rush to retrieve a single possession, our treasured Green Book, seconds before the burning house comes crashing down! Random readings are a feature of family gatherings, and they are a nourishing delight. In every season, the good and bad, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, we seem to have done well. A life so rich that even the bad bits are good.
I have never felt as alive. I am enjoying life so much that I feel in danger of crossing over an invisible line beyond which one might somehow take a pathological pleasure in illness itself. When you discover freedom in the midst of confinement it comes like a slow dawn. Your eyes almost perversely seek out the darkness, but there is soon none to be found. That’s the great thing about light, it utterly dispels the night.
So, maybe there’s hope for twenty-eleven after all?
One thought on “A Very Good Year”
Great blog, Roderick! There is much worthy of comment. Your travels and the scope of them in this past year is incredible to my thinking. (“I managed to travel by interstate rail on eight consecutive days”)
But finding the loss of bodily freedom to correspond with the gained light is the eternally amazing “secret” which I and others share with you. How could we ever have been brave enough to choose what the Lord trusts us with? I know very well I wouldn’t… but am so glad He did.
I pray for 2011, that all the needs of you and your family will be abundantly met.