Come as you are, See me as I am

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My daughter’s Godfather is Reverend Bill Crews, an icon in Sydney, admired for The Exodus Foundation and The Bill Crews Charitable Trust. At the end of a service at the Uniting Church in Ashfield, we all hold hands, forming a circle. In part, he says the following “come, come as you are… This is not the door of hopelessness. It doesn’t matter what age you are, what sex you are, who you are or what you’ve done.” We all feel it. A bunch of eccentrics, poets, misfits and empaths, we feel that we can indeed come as we are. The ego is a silly thing, misguided and sometimes seeing to it that we neglect opportunities. Neglected, because at that particular time, we don’t feel 100%…Our house is a mess, we lack the funds to put on a fancy spread for dinner, we need a haircut or we feel we need to present better before having people over… I didn’t think I had allowed my ego to misguide me, but I certainly had! I have planned dinners in my head, and am waiting for the perfect opportunity. I have planned to have people over, then neglected to actually invite them! I look back and in all honesty,  perfect gatherings were unscripted. I have drunk cheap wine out of jam jars, and had a drizzle of olive oil on bread with friends by candlelight, vying for space amongst magazines and cushions. Those nights were sublime and unforgettable.

I have a problem with my right foot (where nerve damage has occurred from my spinal injuries), and am having surgery next week. In spite of this, each day I have showered, done my hair and put fresh clothes on. I have cleaned my home, and put everything in its place. Last weekend, the pain got the best of me, and I had heavy-duty painkillers and put myself to bed, where I stayed. Sunday, I was surrounded by empty bottles of water, clothes and medicines strewn all over the floor, the Sunday papers covering the bed. I was still in my pajamas, and looked a sight with unbrushed hair and teeth. Of course, this was the day that a friend I haven’t seen in ages came for an impromptu visit. She didn’t bat an eyelid at the chaos; rather she got herself a chair and sat by my bedside. I didn’t feel self-conscious; she had come as she was, and so had I! It actually felt good, to visually demonstrate the chaos that was happening within. I felt authentic, un-judged and valued. She not only tread through the detritus when my mask fell, she also gifted me this magnificent umbrella!

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Apparently, it had spoken to her at the shops, and she knew she had to buy it for me! We avoided niceties, delving into the deepest parts of our lives and the society in which we live. My friend gifted me a reminder to stop the avoidance of extending invitations to people because my life/house isn’t perfect that day/week. No life, house or veneer ever is, and those whom love you don’t give a flying fig about any of that. They will step over the clothes strewn on the floor to reach you. Come as you are.

 

The Weekend

My daughter and I were delighted to attend The Love is Huge by artist Jodie Whalen. We had no idea what to expect. We discovered the following on our seats;  a pink flag, a party popper and instructions. We were asked to surprise a man called Heath by waving the flag and cheering when he arrived in the theatre. We certainly did, and he blushed and laughed, before sitting on the stage. Jodie came sauntering out in a gorgeous gown, and took us through a thirty minute performance. It was her declaration of love to Heath, and was intimate and profoundly moving. Much to my surprise, I found out that it was Jodie’s first time singing in public. During the finale, we set off our party popper’s and applauded as scores of pink balloons (with Heath’s photo on them), were released from the ceiling. My daughter was enchanted by the performance, even though she posed like this for my photo. “Romance, yuck!”

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We then made our way to the 21st Birthday party of Casula Powerhouse  (as a designated art space). It is an extraordinary place; large and filled with hope. David Capra did a splendid job of curating this event. There was techno music, a huge birthday cake, photo booth, karaoke, performers and more artists than there are angels spinning on the eye of a needle.

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Artists are the dreamers, the visionaries and the ethereal of this world. Stepping into their realm is akin to splashing iced water on your face and falling asleep under the coercion of a fairy potion.

To our delight, on Sunday, there was a Blessing of the Animals at Ashfield Uniting Church with Bill Crews. It was organized with WLPA, the World League for the Protection of Animals. It was a service which greatly resembled an episode of the Vicar of Dibley. There were cats and dogs, ducks and guinea pigs. If I had known it was on prior, I would have brought our pets along! It was a very moving service, and we said a prayer for a lady who had lost one of her little dogs to old age that very morning. The hardest part of having animals is found in the dreadful day that they die.

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It was a beautiful service, filled with love, for both the humans and animals. A majestic Police Rescue Dog made his voice heard by the end of the service. Bless the animals of this world. They have a lot to teach us, as my canary taking on an Indian Miner bird (from behind the safety of the window), can attest.

Easter

You can’t breathe life into someone who is lost. Believe me, I have tried. I have been privy to someone I care deeply about being taken down. At first by addiction, and then mental illness. I am grieving although the person lives.  If you are not careful, their reality becomes yours, a closeted,  nonsensical, grey world. It holds no colour, no engagement, no life. I could feel myself becoming pulled into the mayhem this Easter. A land where money is of no consequence, rules are for other people, and laying down staring at the ceiling is what one does for 48 hours. If you are caring for somebody in this situation, coaxing them to eat, to live, to fight, can be exhausting. Best be careful that you don’t go down too. You don’t see it happening. I didn’t. I ate Hot Cross Buns in the city Good Friday, then spent all day Saturday in bed. A smothering film of depression clung to me. I was exhausted. Giving, giving, giving until I was bone dry. The rest did me good. Not having to think. “Please, don’t ask me any more questions,” I pleaded.

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Easter Sunday, the torrential rain stopped and the sun came out. I went to Ashfield Uniting Church. My sanctuary. Rev Bill Crews feeds the homeless via a soup kitchen and van. Via the Exodus Foundation, kids who have fallen behind are educated, and a new school is being opened in Liverpool. Each Christmas, there is a free lunch and it is a grand affair, with a cast of thousands! They do so much at Ashfield, and have changed many lives.

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This treasured lady is 98 years of age. She walks everywhere, lives in her own home, and takes a great interest in social issues. I want to be like her when I grow up!

We went to lunch afterward, and munchkin met the Easter Bunny and his assistant!

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Rev Bill was off to Hong Kong and then Cambodia, so she gave him a big cuddle before he left.

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Nobody pretends to be perfect here, to have it altogether. We muddle through life, and that is enough. You are still loved. Isn’t that reassuring? No titles need to be proclaimed, no diamonds flashed, no mention of private jets. No pontificating. I don’t think you would get away with it if you tried! It was a happy Easter indeed.