Saturday, June 27, 2009

No one laughs at God in a hospital

Have you heard the new Regina Spektor song, 'Laughing With'? I've heard it a bit on the radio, but really only listened properly this morning on the NPR All Songs Considered Podcast.

The lyrics are really poignant. Here's the first verse:

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one's laughing at God when they're starving
Or freezing or so very poor

This really struck me. Last week when I was thousands of kilometres away from home on holiday, my Dad was admitted to hospital with inflamed lungs. He'd had an allergic reaction to one of the drugs he's on for his cancer. When they first saw him, they weren't sure if it was secondary cancer in the lung region causing the problem, or a bad case of pneumonia. In the end it was an allergic reaction.

The last week has been hard. It turns out Dad does have secondaries, in his ribs. Because he's allergic to the drugs he was on, he's facing a new drug, and most likely chemo. There is no cure for the cancer he has, and there is no guarantee anything will keep him alive for a great length of time. It's all educated guessing on behalf of the specialists.

When Mum rang me to tell me Dad was in hospital, I was so sad. Sad because in that moment, death was staring me down. And that's where Regina's song hits - "No one laughs at God when the doctor calls after some routine tests".

We tend to suppress the idea of death, and put on a self-assured arrogance most days, thinking we can control our lives and be our own gods. Dad's downwards spiral reminded me again that it is God who gives us the breath of life, and he who takes it away. You can't laugh at God when death is staring you down.

Dad's not a Christian, and I don't write this in a pious attempt at tut-tutting people who don't believe in God, in the same way that Regina's song doesn't (far from it!). But it's worth saying that waiting until you're on your deathbed before you think about the meaning of life seems kind of silly. God loves us and he wants us to take off our plastic crowns, to remember we're not in control of our lives, and to acknowledge him as the one from whom all life comes.

Because of my faith in Jesus' death on my behalf, I have an amazing hope of life beyond this transient existence, one where there will be no tears, no suffering, no selfish me.

These verses from the bible are probably my favourite, when I think of the hope that God holds out to those who trust in him:

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Cor 4: 16 - 18

So it's been a big week, with quite a bit of introspection. But I know that my heavenly father is good, and he is above me and my earthly father, above everything in this world. And my hope is sure because Jesus died for me, and it's sure for all who recognise their need for salvation before God.

So, uncharacteristically for this blog, I'm telling y'all to think a bit about these things, and maybe read some more about Jesus. This is a good summary of what the Christian faith is all about. Don't wait till death is staring you down.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

mid-holiday update

I've been on holiday now since friday and it's been too good! The fun started in Adelaide over the weekend staying with my friend Steph. It was pretty cold and wet (around 11 max in the day), but it was great weather for reading, having baths, going to the 'Hills and having lots of hot drinks.

The highlight may well have been buying chesnuts freshly roasted from this awesome guy in Stirling, and then eating the delicious hot nuts walking in the crisp mountain air with Steph.I also went to Hahndorf, Mount Lofty, the city and North Adelaide.

On Monday I flew into Broken Hill, which was pretty special. We were cruising above the clouds at sunset, which is a sight to behold - violet, red and orange sky above a bed of clouds. Wow. The change of landscape from the air between Adelaide and western NSW was quite dramatic. One of my best friends Jane lives in the B-Hill and she's kindly having me stay for a week.

Broken Hill is a funny place. In the past it has been a hub of activity and in good times, wealth. At the moment, it seems more like a tourist town with a few limited mines operating. There is quite a bit of poverty and lots of dust. It's quite different to other country towns in NSW - dramatically different to Orange, where the gold mine is going great guns and farming is easier and more profitable.

It has its charms though, including a giant pile of 'slag' which hosts the towns most expensive restaurant "Broken Earth", and a memorial to all the miners killed over the years. The architecture is also fascinating, ranging from stunning Victorian era homesteads and shops, to cute tinnies (miners' cottages). Here is a lame self-portrait atop the Slag Pile looking down at the township.

Just this afternoon I visited the famous Bells Milk Bar in South Broken Hill, which is in its original 1950s state. I had a Mars Bar milkshake, which made me feel slightly ill it was so sweet. But it was worth it for the experience and the opportunity to take photos.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's going on

I almost fainted as I was making breakfast this morning. It was a bit strange. I felt nauseas most of the morning. Thankfully I kept my food down..

I've been really listless today, my brain is super scattered. I'm going on holidays on Friday for three weeks, and I think I've hit the work wall.

I'm going to Adelaide, Broken Hill and Orange, visiting friends along the way. Looking forward to catching swine flu, writing some poetry and drinking lots of tea (there's no good coffee in the outback). So thankful for people letting me sleep on their couches.

In other news, one of my poems is going to be published in the Winter edition of the young australian writing journal, Voiceworks. I'm a bit excited! And they even pay you! Who would've thought..