Birthday Party

On Thursday I went to Wellington for a day long meeting of the Bishops. We sat in one of those soulless airport conference rooms and talked through matters which some people think are important enough to leave the church over.

Friday was a day of conversations, some of them fraught, then an afternoon frantically preparing our little house for an influx of visitors.  And on Saturday, Ada was one.
We had the sorts of food that toddlers like. She got presents. We sang the song and cut the cake, and people took photographs. Ada took it all in her stride. She doesn't sleep much, but nonetheless is determined and quiet and mostly calm. She is very quick to smile. She has been walking for almost three months now, so is very mobile and takes a bit of shepherding. She has worked out roles for us all, mine being to carry her about, on a route decided by her, follow the direction of the appraising frown in her dark brown eyes and talk about the things she points at. It's only been a year and a full, singular, rich, strong personality is taking shape even as I watch.
There were 6 or 8 adults in the house and three pretty lively children for all the weekend. We had people in the caravan and an airbed set up in my study, and there was constant movement and noise, which was welcome and beautiful even to the introverts amongst us.

On Sunday I had a confirmation in All Saints, North Dunedin, where even with the movement and colour of the service, experienced in the bluish haze of smoke from the thurible, I found a welcome little island of stillness. I preached on Trust, and knew that, as usual, I was speaking mostly to myself. This Lent past, in a thousand ways I have had the lesson repeated that this beautiful, powerful, elegant, astonishingly clever universe is  a gift to me and means me well. The universe and the immense will which formed it trust me, so I can trust them in return.

After the service there were sandwiches and cake in the parish hall, but I couldn't wait to be back in my little home, still full of people, and with toys and bits of cake scattered over the carpet and with Noah asking me questions which sounded like poems. Why do people sometimes see motorbikes?  What are butterflies for, Pappa? Where does the moon go in the daytime?

Today was farewell. I buckled my dear ones into their car seats, hugged my daughter, shook hands with my son-in-law. We all waved. Then Clemency and I  packed up the temporary bedding, dismantled the child proof fortifications on the stairs, looked at the photographs, cleaned the house, and settled back into our quietness.


What a blessed time - both at home with family and in church with family. You have been richly blessed.
Craig McLanachan said…
Just one thing, I have never, ever, heard you give any sermon where you were remotely talking to yourself. Your modesty is part of who you are, but I know for a fact that your thoughts and words are and have been life changing for so many. The pictures are filled with love, thank you.
Elaine Dent said…
What I particularly appreciated about this post is the reflective way it moves through all of the events and celebrations. We didn't hear so much about the events but how you were moving through the events and conversations in a deeper, contemplative way, noticing what is going on both inside you and yet totally engaged in the present. And yes, we do preach to ourselves, we must in order to be honest, genuine and humble, but usually we do so good preacher does so in a way that no one knows we're preaching to ourselves. Otherwise it becomes more about us and gets in the way of the Holy Spirit preaching to others. Thank you for writing this and helping me think about this.
Kathryn said…
What a beautiful time you and Clemency had with the family, Kelvin. Those times are so precious and sometimes, in the busyness of all the activity, it would be easy to miss those special moments. Our children and grandchildren are such a blessing.