In Search Of Living Stones

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Month: October, 2013

Am I speaking too loud?

As I sit here typing there is rain pounding outside and thunder rolling and lightning flashing and I love it.

Never before have I heard so many members of my family express their affection for a city like they have for Darwin.
Never before have I felt this way about a place. I feel like that I could stay here for a long time.
Big enough to feel like a city with things to offer and small enough to feel like you could make an impact.

Even the heat can’t beat you after a while. If you accept that its going to be hot no matter what, then it frees you up to operate in spite of the heat. And, if you can actually enjoy the heat, then all the better.
In saying that, air conditioning is still the best thing ever.
Its hard to describe the heat, but I’ll try to give you some understanding.
I’m wearing shorts and have been sitting on the tiled floor for the last 30 minutes,  I just shifted my position and realized there was a pool of condensation created by the warmth of my body…

Bedtimes
I’m going to take this time to boast about my wonderful baby sister, Selah(5).
My favorite time of the day has recently become bedtimes with Selah, we read a story together, discuss the world and pray.
Each night I ask her who she would like to pray for tonight, she usually decides upon either refugees(both in Australia and abroad), Syria or something happening around the world(Sydney fires for instance). These tend to be subjects we discuss around the house and the amount of information she inadvertently picks up is amazing, resulting in some incredible conversations.
One night, we were discussing Asylum Seekers who arrive by boat in Australia and their fate of life in a detention center when they reach our waters.
I could see Selah was thinking about this when she asked if we could, instead, pray for the people who put the boat arrivals into the detention centers.
So that night we prayed for the politicians who have decided to detain the asylum seekers.
I kissed her, said goodnight and left realizing my baby sister had taught me something.
I went in wanting to give her a wider view of the world and I left knowing that I had missed something. How often have I prayed for refugees in detention and not for the people who placed them there?
Needless to say I pray a little differently now.

Am I speaking too loud?
This week something peculiar happened to me around this subject.
Because I only have a 4 week contract at the school I am working at, I am often asked by co-workers where I plan to go next.
This gives me  the opportunity to say that I am hoping to work with asylum seekers and how I’m working towards this
I have probably had this conversation about 7 times.
One day at lunch a woman approached me and told me that ‘she had heard me talking about asylum seekers’ with a  hushed voice and covered her mouth with her hand. This caught me off guard I thought it was strange, why did she feel like she had to say those words in secret? Am I speaking too loud? Are these words supposed to be hushed? Why?
I’m sorry that I am passionate about people seeking refuge in Australia, running from war and seeking a home where they can simply sleep in peace. Actually, I’m not sorry, and I will not be hushed.
I believe that this is an important topic and needs to be discussed, not swept under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist. And I will talk about it, whether or not it makes you feel uncomfortable. I don’t intend you discomfort, only that you would at least think about it and maybe look at it from a different direction.

Here is a short trailer for an Australian documentary about what I’ve just spoken about.

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Limbo

Most of my family will tell you that I’m not good at waiting. If we’re going to go somewhere, don’t mess around, just go.
Over the years I have got a little better, mostly by busying myself while waiting.
This year, this whole year has felt a lot like waiting and making myself busy while waiting. It has almost been a year since I came home and if you were to ask me to show you evidence of what I’ve done I wouldn’t have much to show you.
I’d have a certificate for TESOL, a (almost) certificate in Education Support, a bunch of timesheets for  hospitality jobs temp I picked up and two days a week as a volunteer Teacher Aide.
Not a lot.
I’m in limbo, not here, not there. Not fully engaged.

New

For now, I’m enjoying some new things and discovering this new place.
At the beginning of September I moved to the Northern Territory at the top of Australia, and so far have thoroughly enjoyed it up here.
The heat does take a little getting used to(it stays around 30-33C most of the year), but you quickly learn that air conditioning is a gift from God and you DO get used to it quicker than you’d think.

I love the culture up here almost everyone is laid back and easy going, and I know more about my neighbors here in the last month than I discovered in 3 years in Brisbane.
It’s hugely multi-cultural, full of markets and outdoor cinemas(during the dry season anyway). And has the highest number of ESL speakers per-capita in the country, which always makes me excited to hear all sorts of languages on the street.
Put simply, it feels like a sigh of relief living here. A very hot, humid sigh of relief that is hurrying to get into the shade, but a sigh non-the-less.
And Air Conditioning is still the best thing ever.

Last week we all went to  Litchfield National Park, to show my Grandmother around because she is up here visiting, when we checked the gauge it said it was 40 degrees. FORTY.
Litchfield was incredible, full of amazing landscapes, wildlife and termite mounds. Being 40 degrees we decided to walk(hahah) to the waterfalls and go for a (crocodile free)swim in the swimming hole at the bottom. Absolutely wonderful and refreshing.

Because I didn’t finished my Education Support qualification in Brisbane, I am finishing the last three assignments up here  which means I needed to find a job at school up here.  While I was filling out the forms for my course, the teacher offered me a temporary job covering a Teacher Aide for 4 weeks at a primary school.
The job is in the Special Ed department of the school, working (mostly) 1-on-1 with kids doing Occupational Therapy or specialized programs their therapists have recommended. Its exactly the kind of work I wanted to do as a Teacher Aide and quickly accepted.
I started last Monday and I LOVE it, the kids are great and the school is awesome. I have 1/2 hour sessions working with kids from 5yrs all the way to 12yrs, which means I get to do all sorts of different things all day.

Stones
This blog is named Living Stones because, at the time, I was on the other side of the world meeting people I considered to be living stones because of their specific circumstances and place in the world.
When I decided to start writing on here again, I briefly thought about changing the name, but came to the conclusion that I would keep it because I want to continue to meet people who are living stones. Whether other people recognize them or not, I want to continue to meet and work alongside people I consider to be living stones in their day to day lives, no matter of their place in the world.

Something to think about from the Book Of Common Prayer for Everyday Radicals:
 Sure, it’s easier to build a memorial than to build a movement,
and we’re always better at sculpting our saints than following them.

Peace and Grace