Thursday, September 06, 2012

endings.... awaiting beginings

Last week was quite a lot to take in really. Lots of endings and uncertainty about new beginnings...

The week didn't exactly get off to a flying start as I got made redundant. I've had a job share for the last couple of years and my job share partner had just been appointed for a full time post in our kindergarten. So the powers that be decided to disestablish the job share and revert to three full time teachers plus 11hrs lunch cover. I was offered the opportunity to take either full time or 11hrs but full time is way beyond practicality for me in terms of health (I only just manage my 21hrs some weeks, so 40 is way out of the question!) and 11hrs isn't really a living wage. So after a lot of emails back and forth and some soul searching I've decided to take full redundancy and see what relieving work I can pick up....

In some ways I'd been expecting life to change, I just wasn't sure how and when that might come about. I'm pretty sure I've blogged about the apprehension I felt about going to the World Conference in Kenya, knowing how the 2004 Triennial changed my life I had this unsettled feeling that change was once more on the cards and had assumed the World Conference would be the catalyst. Yet the event came and went and life went on much as it had been, yes it was a transformative experience but not in the turn-my-life-upside-down way the Triennial had been! Then more recently I realised I was about to clear the last of my debts and wondered what would happen next as every time in the past that I have gotten myself into a secure financial position life has shaken things up and put me back at square one and counting every last penny/cent again! I just didn't anticipate the way that this would happen.

It was looking back at this growing feeling that change was in the air that helped me make the final decision. Pretty much since I got back from Kenya (minus the half-expected life changing experience) I'd found myself sitting in Meetings for Worship holding the question 'so what does god want me to do now' in the light and hoping for divine inspiration, but all I ever got back was 'be still and know that I am god'. To which my impatient reply was 'yes I know that but what I am supposed to be doing?' until I finally twigged that what I was supposed to be doing was be still and know that god is there... harrumph. So I am now (slightly less patiently again) waiting to see what the universe has in store, working on the grounds that something has always turned up in the past and that getting anxious and trying to hurry things along or shape them myself has always ended up with frustration and dead ends.

It is rather ironic really that after a year of being over-committed on the Quaker committee/responsibility front I will find myself with more time on my hands to deal with it all just as several of those roles come to an end! At the end of the year our Monthly Meeting is amalgamating with part of the neighbouring one which is dividing in two, the larger part joining with us and the rest joining the next MM down the line and sorting out some geographical anomalies of boundaries that have been around for some years. For what feels like my sins I've been very much involved with the transition process and am part of the amalgamation committee which meant I ended up facilitating a day for our MM on Sunday addressing some of the issues.

It has been a painful process on many levels and brought about mainly due to the failing health and aging population that makes up the majority of our MM, so there is a constant flipping back and forth on the part of several Friends between wanting to hand everything over and not have to deal with any of it ever again and then not wanting to let go of control and change things as it means having to accept their own inability to manage. Add to the mix a certain amount of failing cognition and we find ourselves going around in circles a lot of the time - discerning gods will requires letting go of ego and seeking beyond individual preference, but that seems to be a step too far for many so it feels like a small group of us in our MM dragging them kicking and screaming along into a future that is nothing like they had expected, yet it is where the discernment of others is leading us. Ho hum. I keep telling myself that 'this too shall pass', that it isn't long now really to the end of the year and then it all becomes someone else's problem. Well okay, it doesn't really cease to be my problem but at least I get to share it with more people who are willing and able to deal with it!

As if those two things weren't enough for one week Saturday was spent saying goodbye to Natalie with her Kiwi based friends and whānau. Richard and the boys plus a couple of friends flew over from Australia to join us for a very special celebration of Natalie's life. It was a very moving occassion, with many a 'leaky moment' as Richard called them - just as well I took plenty of tissues, I needed them! I still find it hard to believe that someone who lived life to the full in the way Natalie did could be snuffed out so fast and so young. That night when I got home someone had posted something on facebook which I wish now I'd copied down as I can't even remember who shared it but it quoted some cleric explaining (to paraphrase badly...) that untimely deaths are more a case of crossed wiring in the universe rather than being part of a divine plan and that god greives them as much as we do. I'm not sure quite what I think of that theologically in the cold light of day but when feeling exhausted emotionally and physically it was a comforting thought as I crawled off to bed knowing I had to be up early again in the morning.

In memory of Natalie some of us who studied with her are working towards getting a community quilt made for Natalie's whānau, the beginning of what could be a major project... at least it looks like I'll have plenty of time for it!

No comments: