- Melbourne Half Marathon Revisited
It’s now been a couple of weeks since my Melbourne half marathon experience and that has given me plenty of time to ponder the experience in hindsight.
Sometimes immediately after an event like this you get caught up with the emotion of the experience, adrenaline still flowing, the sight of the finisher’s medal and you are on such a high that your judgment of the whole experience is slightly clouded. This was my thought because immediately after, I thought how much I immensely enjoyed the race. The photos of me before, during and after the race indicate this fact. I am smiling so much so that my son Nicholas, who usually comments on my intensity before, during and after the race said to me how relaxed and happy I was.
So here I am, two weeks later, I can honestly say what a great experience it was.
Here’s a few thoughts on why.
It was my first ‘big’ race. Tens of thousands competing. To commence the race after the gun went off and see runners as far as the eye could see was breathtaking. Everything about a big race was exhilarating. The start, the mayhem of the drink stations, ear dropping on other runners conversations as I ran, the cheers of my brilliant family and support team, running through a major world city like Melbourne, the support of fellow runners and crossing the finish line with the biggest smile on my face. This was seriously a cool experience.
There were moments during the race which made it special as well. Encouraging other runners from my squad GaleForce Running felt so good. I honestly felt that my success was everyone’s success. The team mattered even if it was an individual event. I think seeing the 2 hour pacer at the 19 km mark and realizing as I passed her that I would run the half in under the two hours was such an fantastic moment. Never did I expect to run that time due to the injury ravaged preparation. Then to run across the finish line smiling and happy was the best feeling.
Then there was my running buddy and good friend – Louise Cusack. One of the great joys of running generally is the people you run with. The early mornings, the pain, the injuries, the running chatter during a run and the support and encouragement make these people special. Louise is one of these people. She was always up for a training run no matter what the hour. Running with Louise is fun. She chats, she ‘sightsees’, she encourages everyone around her and she is your greatest cheerleader. At about the 12 km mark she asked me, I think jokingly but I’m not quite sure, if we could stop and take a photo of some ducks on a pond? To which I replied ‘no’. I just burst out laughing and the race became fun again. Running with people like my friend Louise is pure joy to the soul.
Perhaps another aspect of why this race was fun was I got to share it with my family. Now, if you are a runner, you have perhaps experienced this take place. The people around you, to put it nicely, think you are stark raving mad for all the training you do. My family think I am slightly obsessed about running. Is that possible? Yet they saw on race day what running is about for many of us. The hard work pays off – they see the discipline, the perseverance, the dedication, the spirit of togetherness of the squad and the joy of the finish. They get a slight glimpse into your world. After the race when one of them sidles up to you and says how proud they are of the old man it truly is a glorious moment.
These are a few things about the Melbourne Half Marathon which made me enjoy the race so very much. I hope you get the opportunity to experience a huge race like Melbourne as it is such a wonderful experience.
As I typing this blog I find myself smiling at the memories of a terrific weekend with my ever tolerant and supportive family together with the best running friends one could ever run with.
Yes – still smiling!
- Thinking Pink
One of the questions I am frequently asked, especially by non runners, is ‘What do you think about on those long runs?’ I might add I would do anything to do a long run at present however 6 kms is better than nothing I keep telling myself unsuccessfully.
It is very common for me to do long runs Saturday morning, whether I am training for a event or not, of two hours or more. When I am in training for an event a two hour run mid week is common as well. I should say that company certainly helps but over those distances it is common for there to be periods of long silence. So what do I think about? What keeps me going when to be honest, the run just gets tough and very hard?
All runners know that there is always a point on a long run or for that matter a difficult hill session or even a dreadful speed session where you feel like stopping.
Your legs ache
That old injury seems to be resurfacing
The blister rubs
You think, ‘Why am I doing this?’
Your pace drops
The obsession about food when you finish gives you real or imaginary hunger pains
Well, you who run you will know what I mean?
For me, certainly lately, I have started to think of people who really inspire me with their courage and toughness. People who, due to circumstances in their life, have refused to give up. I’m not one for thinking of a song or repeating a motivational quote or imaging myself completing the race I am training for, I think of people who I admire and respect.
I’d love to tell you about two of those people.
One I have known for over fifty years, whilst the other I have only got to know very recently. Both are brave, full of courage, impressive, self motivated, selfless, tremendous role models and discovered that they had breast cancer. Both faced this illness with determination, strength and a resolve that put my ability to persevere to shame. I have found my self thinking of them often during long runs.
One is my sister Louise and the other is my running buddy Rochelle Louise Vaisanen. I am not in the slightest comparing what they have faced to running long distances. There is no way I would dare do that and in fact both of them would be so embarrassed by my even mentioning them. Yet they influence me.
It is hard for me to describe how I think of them or what I think about when I think of them when I am running but I find myself doing so. Somehow it strengthens me, it helps me, it toughens me up, it certainly motivates me and it forces me to confront my ability to sometimes allow the small things in life to get the better of me.
I am so glad that both these wonderful women have graced my life. I am better person because of them. They propel me to greater things of which running is indeed such a small part. Rochelle has resumed running after a bit of a break due to surgery so I am keen to run with her again. My sister Louise, who never ever gave up, passed away on Fathers Day Sunday September 7 this year.
Sometimes it’s important to tell people how much they influence you and how much much you admire and respect them. We don’t necessarily do that often enough do we?
When I ran the Twilight half marathon twelve months after my heart attack there were plenty of things to be fearful about. I wore a pink ribbon around my singlet. Only a couple of people knew why but it was for these two two incredible women. Rochelle ran the ten km that day. I completed the half marathon and thought about them at various times during the race. I will race again and every time wear a pink ribbon while thinking of the people who inspire me to greater things but always there will be two brave women that I will think of most.
- Our Body Speaks
It’s amazing how time flies especially when you are NOT having fun. Just joking – well sort of! As you are aware I injured myself on July 30 when I tore the gluteus minimus muscle in my nether region. Since then I have been doing some cycle classes but no running.
So I have had plenty of time for reflection. Now hindsight is a wonderful thing but I’m yet to gain this rare gift – but I wish I had it. I could wind back time and perhaps do some things differently to prevent this injury.
I have a confession, I have learnt something from this injury and I hope I will take note for the future.
How many times have I heard the expression ‘listen to your body’? Honestly I never really thought much about this except to ignore it. My philosophy was that you trained as hard as you can as often as you can and as a result you will achieve your goals. No wonder my family suggest to me that I am slightly ‘obsessed’ and that’s one of the nicest things they say when it comes to my running.
As I think back to the lead up to my injury I was increasing my running kilometres considerably to train for this Melbourne Marathon and I felt not just tired from the early morning starts but also my legs felt weary as well. Not just a little bit weary but a lot. Now some of this could also be due to the reduced heart function I have as a result of the heart attack last year and the ‘wonderful’ medication I am on as well.
In hindsight I should have had a ‘rest’ day or two. Now let me say it was not for lack of people suggesting it to me. I was just too stubborn to listen.
Why don’t runners want to listen to their bodies? I now actually believe that our body does speak to us if we are prepared to listen. Is it we think that a day off will dramatically reduce our level of fitness? We will put on some weight? Perhaps both of those things have some validity as I know they do for me.
However for me one other reason is missing, the actual run and the people I run with every time. There is a love of running that runners understand and this includes running with people who also enjoy running. Part of me not listening to my body was not wanting to miss out on this aspect of running.
I never thought I would say that our body does actually speak to us. Still can’t believe I am saying it now as I type. Yet it does!
To not listen means one thing – an injury, which in my case means not running for some time and having to postpone the dream of running the Melbourne marathon. So I hope I have learnt my lesson – to listen to my body in times of heavy training.
Hopefully I can start doing some shorter runs next week then resume training the following week. Listening to my body of course!
- How Remembering A First Gives Me Hope.
During the Presidential primaries leading up to the last USA Presidential elections one of the candidates was asked about running his first marathon and what his time was. It was discovered that his answer was untrue in that he exaggerated his time by reducing it considerably. He claimed he made a mistake and he just forgot his time. Many media commentators who themselves were runners made the point that every runner remembers their first full marathon and their time no matter what it was. I know I certainly do.
It is amazing but runners tend to remember ‘firsts’.
That first race you competed in.
The first occasion you broke ‘that time’ – for me it was 2 hours for the half marathon or 50 minutes for the 10 kms.
The first training run on a new course.
Your first running shoes that you never want to wear out.
That first big injury.
Your first overseas race.
I have a first that I remember vividly – it was the first time I was invited to go for a run with a group of people. At fifty years of age and a growing weight problem and perhaps the onset of a mid life crisis, I decided to join a gym. How many fifty somethings do this? I engaged a personal trainer – Sarah Shaw and she was brilliant. Sarah set me on the track to good health and fitness and I owe her my life to be honest. She still remains a great encouragement to me to this day.
She commenced a running group for some of her clients and was I interested! Her aim was to enter her squad into the Ipswich Park2Park 5 km run. I remember everything about that run – we met under the gym. I remember where we ran – over the Trumpy Bridge and along King Edward Parade down Jacaranda Street in Ipswich and back. I remember the people I ran with, some of them are still running to this day. I remember I was the only male – not sure of the significance of that!
AND I remember one more thing – I remember that from that very first moment I fell madly in love with running. Some of my family would say obsessed with running. I didn’t run very far at all and was in considerable pain all the way, but I loved it. I loved the feeling of running, the freedom of running, the exhilaration of running, the challenge of running – you name it I loved everything about it. I dreamed of running long runs even as I ran that first run. I’ve never lost that love of running.
Recently I have suffered a series of injuries, the latest of which is a torn gluteus minimus muscle – yes, as some of my running friends remind me, it is a pain in the butt. The injury is amplified by the fact that the heart medication I am on means my blood doesn’t clot as easily so any injury like this takes much longer to heal. The end result is that I wanted to run the Melbourne marathon but now cannot. The half marathon is a possibility depending on this injury healing soon.
I’m devastated but apart from acknowledging it really is a first world problem, something else keep me going. I remembered that first run – what it felt like. I remembered how much I love running and I remembered that an injury will not rob me of that love of running. I will run again and as I run I will remember that initial feeling of freedom, joy, exhilaration, pain and pure delight that I had found a passion that did my physical health good and refreshed my soul beyond measure.
There will be another first for me soon I hope and that will be the first run after my return from injury. Methinks I will remember that run too. Another first!
- We Runners Are Just Misunderstood
Let’s face it – runners are misunderstood in a ‘huge’ way. Some would refer to us runners as ‘crazy’ but I think I like the term ‘misunderstood’ better. Personally I think my running friends and I are absolutely normal. As I type this I realize many of my family would dispute that description of me personally however they are not runners.
What’s wrong with getting out of bed before dawn in freezing cold conditions to run?
Why would you not run in the rain?
I love eating ‘snakes’ in the middle of a run.
Yes – I do place certain lubrication on various parts of my body to prevent chaffing.
Just because my colour co-ordination is not the best at 4.00 am does not mean I have outrageously bad dress sense.
I know I am in every sense technologically challenged with the TV but of course I know how every aspect of my running watch works.
What do you mean hills are meant for walking?
I do confess thinking but never speaking disparaging things about cyclists but that’s normal isn’t it?
Are you seriously suggesting that sucking on a gel mid run is not cool?
I don’t believe recording every run diligently but forgetting my children’s names is a problem.
And finally how could you possibly know the GNP of a small African nation when you say my running shoes cost more than that?
Totally normal right?
There is one more thing that makes us runners normal or perhaps it isn’t that normal but I see every day when I run with my running mates.
It is a sense of great perseverance. I see it in the fastest runners and those like me who just plod. If there is a twenty kilometer run then they run twenty kilometers. They don’t run to the point of where they started and if it is less than those twenty kilometers that’s enough. They run until the watch beeps.
They run with niggles.
They run in all conditions.
They encourage others who are running with them that they ‘can make it’.
They complain about the hills but run them anyway.
They push on when it hurts.
They run one more ‘rep’ because that means they did one more than last week.
Long distance runners are indeed a special and rare breed and the more I get to know them the more I enjoy that sense of perseverance that everyone of them has. The finish line of every run is not just ‘the finish’ it is something to be defeated at all costs and perseverance is the weapon of choice for the runner.
I suppose runners will continue to be called many names – normal is not perhaps on top of the list but I do know one thing about runners. They possess a rare gift that separates them from the crowd – they know the characteristic of perseverance. If that’s crazy then I am happy to be referred to as crazy but I think I’m perfectly normal thank you albeit ‘misunderstood’.
- SOMETHING I SAW ONE MORNING?
Once again the alarm goes off but unlike previous occasions I will not be running. A torn glut tendon is literally a pain in the butt at present. The Melbourne Marathon less than ten weeks away and time slipping away. So while I wait for this injury to heal I have decided to do cycle classes. It is non weight bearing so it doesn’t affect the healing process.
There is nothing I like about cycle classes at the gym. Sorry to all you cycle class lovers. However me in a darkened room on a stationary cycle is not my idea of a good time.
However I’m up – I’m on my way. As I drive to the gym I see three runners pushing up a hill. It’s freezing outside and they are all rugged up. Gloves, beanies, long skins, long sleeved tops and even a running scarf. I nearly drive off the road getting a good look in the vain hope I might recognize them.
Anyone else witnessing this scene would think, ‘What are they doing, that’s crazy!’
However if you run you know what I was thinking. ‘I want to be where you are right now!’ As I drove on to my stationary bike at the gym I wanted to be out on the road in the dark on a freezing morning with a couple of crazy like minded running mates.
It made me think of why I, like many others, like this sport of running more than other forms of exercise?
Immediately some things came to mind and perhaps if you run, you will identify with them too.
I love the toughness of running. Every step is a commitment to the distance one runs. There is no ‘coasting’ – you either are running or you are stationary. Inclines that you drive up in your car and never notice become hills for the runners. There is a distance to be run that morning and it is you verses that distance. No one can run the distance for you, fellow runners can certainly encourage you but it is you and you alone that has to put one foot in front of the other and you keep moving. It develops a toughness of soul being a distance runner and I love it.
More than that I love the feeling of achieving something that everyone tells me is impossible to do. Even my body sometimes screams at me that it is impossible. It is that feeling of running that huge distance and when you have finished it knowing you have conquered something that most people never dream of doing. It is that feeling of standing at the ‘drink cooler’ at work later that morning and when someone asks you what you did this morning you tell them you ran over twenty kms before breakfast in the freezing cold. It is that feeling of doing something you never thought you would ever do.
I have a scan this afternoon to see how long I am out of action for – I’m nervous yet it’s part of running – sometimes injuries happen.
However one thing I do know is that my love of running is only getting stronger. So whoever you were on the road that freezing Ipswich morning – you inspired me as do all the runners who get up before dark in the cold, dress ridiculously and go out for a run.
Methinks we runners are a tough bunch. Can’t wait to be back.
- Ipswich Boys Don’t Cry?
Injuries are a runners worse nightmare. We runners are a neurotic lot, well at least I am. The slightest twinge is immediately something major and Dr. Google gets a work out for every pain with the self diagnosis much worse that the actual niggle itself.
As I type this I am injured yet again. I had just recovered from an especially painful ankle injury but after some light running, I put in a full week of training last week. My last Saturday run of 24 kms was, I felt, my best for such a long time.
Another run Tuesday followed by a mid week run of 20 kms was to be my week ahead.
Tuesday’s run of 10 kms – no problems.
Wednesday morning and the alarm went off at 3.15 am for a start to my first 20 km midweek run at 4.00 am – the news that night said that The Switch was -1 degrees and it certainly felt like it. Off my running buddy and I went and I felt good until 5 kms into the run when I felt a sharp pain in my hip for no reason. I finished the 20 kms in pain and I mean pain.
This morning my Physio confirmed it could be a glut medius muscle or tendon tear – without a scan it is difficult to tell. My pain only increased by the fact that the medication I am on from the heart attack could be playing a role in the injuries. At worse three weeks out perhaps longer. Well – tears flowed from this fifty five year old. Thank goodness for a wonderful and understanding Physio who also is a runner. The dream of the Melbourne Marathon diminishing I thought before my very eyes.
Why is running this marathon so important? Why have I elevated it to the heights that I have? Why the tears?
The reason actually poured out on the Physio’s table as I found myself saying that in running the marathon I will finally ‘defeat it’. Defeat what? Somehow, somewhere in the past 14 months since my heart attack I have elevated the heart attack to something I need to defeat. Completing the 42.2 kms would mean I can put it behind me for ever or so I thought.
In the car on the way home the tears flowed again as I phoned my wise muse and wife Gail. Again my declaration of defeating this enemy came flowing out. Silence followed until gently she said to me that if anyone had ‘defeated’ a heart attack it was me. I didn’t need to defeat it anyway, she said. Reminding me of all that I had done since the heart attack – running the marathon might be my way of defeating ‘it’ but being alive was the more significant way.
I’ll still run the Melbourne marathon but perhaps with a different perspective. The training might not be done as I would like it. The time that I want might not happen either. However I will run. I will run because I love running. I will run because I will run with wonderful and dear friends from GaleForce Running Squad that believe in me and encourage me. I will run because my family will be there cheering. I will run because a dear friend said she would walk with me if need be to ensure I finish.
I don’t need to defeat the heart attack – I’ve done that already by surviving. Everything else is a bonus. The Melbourne Marathon is back in perspective.
And what the ….. as I type, tears are flowing again – methinks tears will always be a part of me. So much for Ipswich boys don’t cry?
- IT’S WHY I GET UP?
It’s dark and cold AND I mean cold – minus one in The Switch also known as the city of Ipswich. The alarm goes off and in the dark you see in bright red numbering on the face of the clock – 3.45 am.
What the ….?
Every part of me wants to roll over – pull the covers up a bit – find the hot water bottle at the bottom of the bed and yes I have a bright purple ‘hottie’ and go back to sleep. But there’s a problem – well not really a problem but a reason to get up.
In exactly 30 minutes there will be friends waiting for me in a park ready to run. If I was going to run by myself the bed is looking good. So I get up. As every runner knows the time between the alarm and the arrival time is measured down to the last second so I arrive at exactly 4.15 am.
I shouldn’t have turned those heated seats on in the car on because when I open the car door I immediately think, “Who’s crazy idea is this?” It is absolutely freezing.
My running buddies are a funny sight until I realize that I would be looking exactly the same. Covered from head to toe – beanie, running scarf to keep the neck warm, long everything, gloves and lights hanging on various places that make us look like weird human Christmas trees.
We set off and the chatter starts – the conversations are friends talking about ‘stuff’ AND I love it. The darkened streets start to lighten a little and the day breaks and we find ourselves stopped for a drink on a hill all standing there watching the first rays of the sun create colours in the previously darkened sky. I never get tired of that sight.
Sixteen kilometers later we arrive back where we start. It actually feels colder if that is possible – perhaps it is because we are now wet with sweat. We say goodbye to each other and proceed home to start the day before many are out of bed. I’m so glad I got out of bed – if you run you know the feeling of finishing a long run – there is no better sense of accomplishment.
As I drive home I’m thankful for crazy running buddies who help me towards my dream of running the Melbourne Marathon. They encourage me, cheer for me, urge me up the hills, motivate me, share their life with me on darkened roads, whisper their secrets, listen to my stories, laugh with me, relive their days with me and allow me to be me with them without fear of rejection, ridicule, derision, envy or jealousy.
Running deepens friendships in the most unlikely places with the most amazing people and that’s why I run even if it is at hours that non runners just don’t understand.
- Hidden Joy Of Running
Interesting that my first blog entry on running is when I’m injured – if you are a runner you know that feeling. All the emotions kick in when you are injured.
Will I lose my fitness?
Will I put on weight?
Will I ever run again?
Only when you are through the injury do you look back and realise how silly those thoughts really are. At the time it is different though?
At the same time many of my running friends are running in various events at the Gold Coast this weekend. I am so excited for them and I just love seeing the pictures of them competing in their various events.
You see as I sit here injured and at the same time so genuinely excited about my friends competing I discovered one of the hidden joys of running.
As you stand on the starting line of a race and more so when you finish the race, all around you are people with stories that no one really knows about. The early morning or late night night training sessions, the early to bed syndrome because of the before daylight training session the next day, the injuries, the periods of recovery for those injuries, the joys, the heartaches, the pain, the one more rep, the hill that seems to steep, the kms that seem just too far that particular morning and the encouraging words from friends as they run with you or past you.
All these things are lost in the joy of crossing that finish line and the jubilation of completing something you have trained for and dreamed of for what seems to be ages.
I train with the most fantastic group of people at GaleForce Running Squad led by our Paramatta Eel supporting coach Chris Gale. I have seen first hand their dedication to running through all climatic conditions and through all situations good, bad and just plain challenging. I have laughed with them, sweated with them, been encouraged by them, froze with them, been drenched in torrential rain with them and loved every minute of being with them.
So when I see their faces after finishing an event I rejoice with them because every one of them, like me, has a story which no one knows about. A story of what it took to compete.
No wonder I now realise that running is far more then about the actual run. The hidden joy of running is the people that journey with me as we run the streets together. The silent stories behind each of them and the bonds that form knowing that every start and finish line contains those stories in the lives of people who secretly dare to call themselves ‘runners’.
- Anonymous Citizens
On Sunday August 10, 2014 Cityhope Church held it’s annual Day of Honour where we as a church honoured our emergency service personnel and local political representatives. Many people have asked for a copy of what I said that day. The following is a transcript.
“Recently I listened to an interview with Michael Fullilove who has just edited a book on great Australian speeches. He said that a great speech is one where there is something being said that moves you to the depths of your being even though you do not necessarily respect or even like the person who says it. One such speech was in early 1942 by the Prime Minister of our nation at the time Robert Menzies. He would do weekly radio broadcasts, which everyone would gather around the radio to listen to. The most famous of these radio broadcasts was known as “The Forgotten People” speech and even his political opponents said it was brilliant.
In it he takes a shot at what he calls a ‘cult of false values’. He says and the language not mine but his – there is something wrong where the ‘half wit on the screen’ is paid millions yet there are those who make significant contributions to society that are never recognized – he calls them the ‘forgotten people’. These people, he says, have a ‘stake in this country’. Menzies suggested that what motivates these people is a belief they have a responsibility for the homes of the nation – material, human and spiritual to protect them, defend, build, improve, shape & safeguard them – not just the physical homes but the people inside them – their bodies and their souls.
His point was these often forgotten people must never be forgotten and these are the people that make a nation great.
As I thought about the words I realized that Menzies could have been speaking to the majority of people in this room today. I like to think that this Day of Honour is not about forgotten people because you, here today, are not forgotten. However it could be said that the majority of what you do is unnoticed, unseen, overlooked and often invisible to the average citizen as opposed to the celebrity who makes the headlines, yet in some cases not all, does nothing of significance.
As Menzies said – you are the ones who make this nation great and what you do although anonymous is significant. It doesn’t matter who you are – whether you are the Political leaders here today, representatives from the emergency services, heads of those services or those who man the patrol cars, ambulances, fire trucks or anything else that one does in the field of emergency services, no one will ever know the countless anonymous deeds that you do every day and night – the deeds that are done to benefit the ‘homes’ of our nation and the people who reside in them
I’m here today to tell you that what you do matters? What you do is the backbone of our society? You will never be forgotten as long as there is a light on this hill called Cityhope Church
You don’t do these things for the public adulation
The awards, the recognition or the monetary gain
Much of what you do will never be known by anyone
You might not even know the significance of it yourself
However what you do matters
You may be criticized at times by those who have never had to face what you face or never had to sit in the chair you occupy every day or never face the situations you have to face.
However what you do matters
As Menzies says, you have a stake in this country. you made a choice that you are a not a spectator nor a bystander, you have no thought of being an onlooker and you don’t want to be an observer. As Theodore Roosevelt a President of the USA once wrote in a series of essays in 1913 entitled Citizenship in a Republic, you are the one actually in the arena and your face is marred by dust sweat and blood. When others are ‘knocking off’ – you are just starting work.
You see things no one should see
You hear things that no one else hears
You do things that no one else is able to
And I’m here to tell you what you do actually matters
You are not forgotten
Your deeds are not forgotten
When you are tempted to the limelight and the fame please understand why you are doing this. You have a sense of the cause. You are here to serve ‘others’. You have a sense of selflessness. ‘It’s not about me’, you would say. You may not have any belief in God at all – I respect that but there is a wonderfully moving story of Jesus who also had a sense of cause and a sense of selflessness. His supporters urged him to go to a prominent festival. Get on the stage. Have some publicity photos done. Take center stage. They said to him, ‘You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!’ (John 7:4)
His answer was NO
He understood what we need to understand. It’s not about being famous nor being the center of attention. If jesus was here now and we asked him what mattered? Perhaps he would say ‘It’s all about the ones’.
The lame who can now walk
The blind that now see
The lepers that are now accepted
The hungry that are now fed
The isolated that now have homes
The rejected that are now loved
The disadvantaged that now have a voice
The fearful that are now have courage
The broken that are now healed
I think Jesus would say recognise the forgotten, honour the anonymous and identify the nameless.
There will be times when you will think, ‘Is it worth it?’ It’s hard and tough going. The critics are ferocious, the hours relentless and the work wearying. How do you keep going?
I am certainly not Robert Menzies, but I can say that like Menzies my pledge is that this church will not say that you are a forgotten people. We will continue to honour you. however more than this, you are leaving a legacy that will never be forgotten. Here’s why?
Because when you get home and put your head on the pillow and not every night will you think this BUT on the nights you do – it will be worth it. In those few seconds before sleep comes you will think of that home that could have burnt down but it didn’t, the people you rescued, the offence that wasn’t committed, the missing person that was found, the offender that is off the streets, the patient resuscitated, the child protected, that crime solved, the fire put out, the accident that didn’t happen the victim comforted, the law passed that protected that group of people, that endangered species, that piece of environment or that disadvantaged people group, that hope that you gave, that encouragement that you passed on, that reassurance you provided and you will know without doubt that someone in a home (as Menzies said) somewhere, is better off because of you.
For me when I put my head on the pillow and sometimes wonder why am I doing what I do – I remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:40, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”
And just as sleep comes I hear a whisper, “well done you good and faithful servant!” and I know it has been all worthwhile.
In 1942 Robert Menzies identified the possibility of a ‘forgotten people’
In 2014 – my pledge to you is that I will not forget you
This church will not forget you and together we will not forget each other
Thank you – what you do matters and will always matter.”
- Something About Canberra
There is something about Canberra that I have come to really love. The changes of season, the local coffee spots I am discovering, the clinical layout which suits my ‘Sheldonlike’ personality and certainly the runs around the lake. The more I see of our Nations Capital the more I enjoy it.
Yet there is something else in Canberra which is a ‘must see’ however be warned – under no circumstance should you judge this city by this sight.
It takes place on certain afternoons at exactly 2pm
You need a pass but that is easily obtained
It is not for the faint hearted
Yet it is very interesting
In fact once in a lifetime you should go
After I went I thought every budding actor from NIDA should be compelled to attend because of the performances I witnessed
What I witnessed was the House of Representatives question time?
When 2 pm came I swear I heard a faint whisper uttering the words, ‘Lights, camera, action!’
I can honestly say I can’t describe the sight I witnessed. There was name calling, yelling, points of order that weren’t points of order, ‘Dorothy Dix’ questions, unintelligible answers and general all around bad behaviour.
Clive Palmer asked a question on whether his parliamentary office and computers were bugged then walked out.
All around me was quiet disbelief from people like me that we were witnessing such appalling behaviour. It was ninety minutes of my life I would never get back again and of no benefit to democracy in any manner or form.
Am I expecting too much that our elected representatives would debate policy, ask intelligent robust questions that were taken serious enough to answer fully?
Am I expecting too much to see our elected representatives treating each other with some respect and decency which could model behaviour outside those walls?
Perhaps the most telling thing for me and in fact the saddest was when I walked outside there were people who also had left and there was this mass shaking of heads in absolute disgust. I overheard one man say to his companion, ‘I’m ashamed to call this my parliament?’ To which people who overheard the remark all agreed and added some very interesting but unprintable observations.
As I walked away I thought, I wonder if our politicians could hear what I just heard from who appear to be average Aussies, would they wake up and change their behaviour towards each other and the way parliament is undertaken on our behalf?
There is something without doubt that I love about Canberra but question time in Parliament House is not part of it.