Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Phonecall followup

Well, the meeting happened, and frankly, I was disapointed... it just wasn't... enough. I'm really not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn't it...

We drank some really nice coffee, and chatted about me and my family and job and life, and he told me about some of the initatives that the church has going. When I mentioned Zoe after half an hour or so, he mumbled something about "I saw that on your form, I was going to ask..." and then never mentioned the topic again. There was no pastoral nature to the meeting, it was more like a business meeting - it wasn't a sales pitch, but there was no depth to it. Friendly enough, but nothing to draw me in or draw me out of myself.

We went back to the church that Sunday, and I took Janel to the Childrens section this time. I was able to leave after less than 5 min which was fantastic - she is really feeling comfortable there!! For this reason alone, I guess we will probably keep going - I have just recieved an email circular from the church as I'm typing, must be a sign :-). The service itself was fine, the preacher was the best of the three weeks so far, although I was dissapointed that he didn't really end up answering the question he posed at the start. This was how the "obnoxious" God often portrayed in the OT can be reconcilled with the merciful God depicted by the New - a question to which I have not heard a satisfactory, evangelical answer. But he got side-tracked into a discussion of how the three epochs (pre-fall, pre-cruicifixion and post-resurrection) of relatoionship with God affect us as humans, rather than addressing how God's side of the equation changes. Nevertheless, he was an organised, engaging speaker.

The rest of the weekend was lovely, we went to Janel's second cousin's first birthday party, and while Nicole had to rush off to her business course planning group, I stayed and watched SA thrash Aus at rugby and enjoyed watching Nellie play with her cousin - she was so relaxed and happy, it was a delight to see. The weather was appaling, with storms and gales all over the Western Cape, but we had good family times in front of the fire.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Lazy rainy afternoon...

It's a wet and wintery Saturday afternoon, and the Springboks are playing Australia (in Durban I think). I'd forgotton this fact and so haven't made any plans to go somewhere that has M-Net (the pay digital channel) showing and will have to watch the re-broadcast on SABC later. Nicole is at a staff development day, listening to Ben Zander speak, so I'm looking after Janel. We've watched "Insectopia" (her name for the movie "Antz") and I've managed to wean her off the television and into her playroom. At the moment there is a lot of unpacking going on, most recently her musical instruments, so she is trying to figure out which end of the flute to blow into...

It's been a busy few weeks - the budget season at school has begun, so I have been helping various heads of subjects to consider their options for electronic/IT equipment and then get prices so that they can draw up budgets for 2009. At the same time, I'm trying to do my own budgeting for the four areas (IT, AVT, ICDL & photocopiers) that I have become responsible for. And with Nicole's seemingly endless busyness still ongoing, life at home is busy too - although we spend most evenings collapsed in front of the TV after getting Janel to bed, it never feels restful, and we always wake up almost as tired as we were when we went to bed. Nicole is sick at the moment, but I'm actually feeling OK, although my back is constantly sore - as if a vertebrae was out of position.

I got an unexpected phonecall this week. When I visited the new church we're trying for the first time (Nicole had been the week before), I filled in one of their newcomers slips, and at the bottom, after I had filled name of spouse and children, I wrote "Daughter Zoe, stillborn 24 March 2007" - in part because I always agonise over how to fill in how many children I have, but in part just to see how they would respond. When Nicole had visited, I had been impressed by how quickly they followed up on her "newcomers form" - just an email saying "thanks for visiting, here's how to find out more", but I thought that it showed they'd at least noticed you'd been. So I was a little miffed when my form didn't get followed up after a week to 10 days. Then I got a call from one of the church leadership team/elders/whatever they call them inviting me to meet up for coffee. I assume that it's in response to my note, as he seemed quite awkward about it. As it turns out, on the afternoon we were supposed to meet, his wife got into a traffic accident, so it's been postponed a week. As fate would have it, we haven't been back to the church since I filled in the form - last week was Janel's godparent's son's christening, and this week we're on creche duty at Christ Church. I'm intrigued to see how it all pans out.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Has it really been almost a year since I last posted to this blog - seems incredible...

For the longest time I didn't post because I didn't feel I had anything of value to say - I was unemployed, looking for work, feeling useless and frustrated. I thought I would start posting again when I found work and felt less empty, but even when I found work in February (almost six months ago, how time flies) there still seemed to be nothing to say. We'd started having some bereavement counseling through Christ Church, and the issue of my unemployment (and unemployability it felt at the time) dominated every session to the point where I really didn't feel it had any value to me at all. The only positive thing that did come from it was that my counsellor suggested (near insisted) that I needed to have someone to talk to (about Zoe, but also about life in general) and so my brother and I started meeting up for coffee on a weekly basis, and those times were very valuable and precious.

Starting work has been good for me in a lot of ways - the staff at Rustenburg have been very welcoming and I have felt comfortable far, FAR faster than I ever thought possible. I've always taken months, if not YEARS, to feel truly comfortable in a new environment, and within weeks, I had told the group of staff I sit with about her, wept with another member of staff over her and invited a bunch of them to our house for a braai. Inconceivable!! I have managed to make a positive impact there, as I am quite different (both in character and aptitude) to my predecessor and so have been able to do things that have simply needed a fresh pair of eyes and yet made a significant difference in the school's life. And so I feel valued and important, which has been crucial for my self esteem.

Life at home has gone through ups and downs, with Nicole working harder than ever before - dividing herself between school, home, the business and study. Sometimes she manages, sometimes not, and sometimes I have felt like I'm at the bottom of the To-Do list... Janel has gone through phases of not wanting me to do ANYTHING for her and screaming for Mommy if I so much as try. Having said that, she has also gone through phases where I'm flavour of the month instead, so that cuts both ways. Money has been tight, got better and is tight again as Lovely Laities starts gathering steam - and now we start thinking about buying a second car and renovating our house in Field Close!!

Health has been pretty horrid of late as well - I got a cold in June, which ended up as pneumonia by August, after two weeks in bed, I was ready to climb the walls, so went back to work, probably earlier than I should and picked up another cold, which I have yet to shake off, but it doesn't seem to be getting any worse either...

My faith has pretty much been down - we've pretty much given up on being able to fit in at Christ Church, it just doesn't seem to be working, although we have joined a small group "bible-study" which has been good, at least for the relational aspects, but going to services has been a bit of a wash-out. The other good thing about our stint of counseling was that we were "given permission" to stop feeling obliged to go to services if that was proving a hinderance rather than a help, which it was at the time. Instead we bought a membership to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and have spent several very happy Sundays there. We've now started attending (well, we've been twice) a church closer to where we are, and that seems promising, at least from Janel's point of view, as their children's activities seem to be well organised, and there are a couple of children from nursery there, so she is much more relaxed, which means that we may be able to leave her there on her own soon. The truth, though, is that I don't think it matters where we attend, for me there is nothing going on inside. There have been times when I have wished that I could believe in the way that I used to, but for the most part, it is an empty and meaningless exercise.

That seems like a depressing place to end this post, especially because I'm not really depressed - life is mostly good, if a little meandering. We'll be able to try and fall pregnant again in about 6 weeks time (medical aid won't cover the treatments Nicole will need until a one year probation is completed), so that will herald a whole new set of stresses!!

Here's hoping it's not another year until the next post...