I will have my operation on June 21 - the solstice. Not that the solstice means a lot to me; just because the earth has got to a certain point in it's annual journey round the sun doesn't mean that I have to go dancing naked around a dolmen. I am, after all a hemisphere away from the nearest dolmen. And it's June. And it's Dunedin. The solstice does mean, though, that the year is exactly half way through, and it's a bit staggering to think of what has happened in this year.
In January my father died. For better and for worse he had a huge influence on the shaping of my life and so my family gathered in Motueka for his funeral and for a deeply significant time of talking and healing. Almost immediately I was a candidate in the election to choose a new Bishop of Christchurch. Episcopal elections are conducted in front of an employing committee of 150 each member of which feels obligated to comment at length on the candidates' belief system and pedigree. It's much like dancing naked around a dolmen, in June, in Dunedin, in front of a large and warmly clad audience. Then, even as the world was settling back into normalcy Clemency and I planned the sabbatical we had been anticipating for years. And just when it was all signed, sealed and on the brink of delivery my GP rang and asked if I could pop in and see him, first thing tomorrow morning.
The year is now half way through. It's time for the reserve to run onto the field with the plate of oranges and for us to swap ends with the team from the other school. It's time for the coach to stoop down 'til he's looking us in the eye and tell us to play the ball, not the man and remind us it's a game of two halves and it's there for us to win or lose, it's all up to us. At the end of the match there is likely to be the one about it not being whether we win or lose but how we play the game that's important.And that last speech is the true one, the one we didn't, but always needed to, truly understand.
This has been an interesting year, but it hasn't been an annus horribilis. It has been one of the most significant and powerful and affirming six months of my life. We learn not by addition but by subtraction. Growing into truth isn't a matter of acquiring new learnings, it is more a matter of removing old ones: of wiping clear the glass in order to let the light shine through. A lot of cloths and windowlene have been expended on me this year, and for this I am profoundly grateful. And I note with alarm, and excitement that the year is half way over. Only half way.