My life has changed a lot in the last year, and even more in the last month: new job, new car, new house, new location with new weather, geography, altitude and attitude. Moving from inner Melbourne to a small town (‘though not far from some regional cities). After years of University and Health chaplaincy in in the midst of a major urban area and on the edge of the urban archdiocese (even though near some sort of creative edge), I am now working in a country diocese and, as the Bishop’s Chaplain, close to the centre (yes, and a creative one) of the workings of the institution.
My office is is next to the Bishop in the Diocesan Registry next to the Cathedral, and I am busy on a variety of fronts: looking at plans, protocols and procedures for the diocesan institutions and culture; formulating some ideas for clergy and lay education and formation in the coming year; stretching my IT expertise by trying to bring Google apps and cloud technology into the way we calendar, document and share our work. It’s all a great stretch, but it has to do with things I love and people I am enjoying a lot.
The town and country are a surprise. I keep telling people that my great great great grandparents moved to California in the Gold Rush, building and living in towns much like the places where I am now living. So there’s a feeling of deja vu (all over again), of a return to the place where I started and knowing it, if not for the first time, at least in a different way. Now with the freedom of age, past the urgency of youth, past the tyranny of the years when I needed to name everything and get somewhere, anywhere else than where I was. There’s not much else to do or to go from here, so I can enjoy where I am. I am enjoying the expanse of the land, the sky, enjoying the fresh air and the smell of the fields, and the loud birdsong with Australian Magpies, Cockies and the occasional pair of blessed Kookaburras. Last night we were walking down the street at dusk when two of them started a series of shrieks so like a Hollywood special effect machine that it was hard to believe two birds could make so much noise, but they do! I am loving the fact that people speak to you on the street, wish you good morning and good evening, meet you eyes and smile.
And in 28 days I will be a Deacon. And I feel that accounts for a kind of deep and rich silence and resonance under all the business, that there’s a real reason for me being here, that the work have to do with an assent that comes deep in me, deeper than I ever knew, to doing what I do and giving what I can in a way that is both very specific and somehow universal at the same time. The universe seems pointed and broad lately, and it’s a very rich time.