Throughout the Easter Season, we are hearing some of the stories of people in the Kippax community about how they are living their “next chapter”, following on from the unfinished resurrection story in Mark 16. This is Beattie Hatfield’s “chapter”
Sometimes I read or hear a sentence or phrase which resonates and I jot them down. They are like little signposts or reminders or nudges. These are a few which seem pertinent for what I’ll be saying today.
- It doesn’t matter where you go in life, what you do or how much you have. Its who you have beside you.
- The play goes on, what will you contribute to its voice? and
- The building blocks for a well lived life are moments. And in these moments, be aware with an attitude of openness and curiosity, focussing on what matters despite the presence of pain.
You’ve got one life to live. Move things around, shift perspectives, do things you wouldn’t normally do, experiment like a mad scientist and live a life worth living.
So, what is a life worth living?
Surely it is more than the outcome of an intellectual excercise.How do we learn to evaluate and choose wisely from all the available possibilities? Exploring what could be genuinely desirable and why, rather than just satisfying personal wants or needs is useful for me.
One place I find very helpful in sorting through such questions is the small group I belong to. This group of people offer acceptance, safety to share, to think, question and explore, to learn and hear different points of view, to be challenged, to try to getthe balance right between being and doing.
It’s my special place to be refreshed and restored and have my faith affirmed.
So where do I find my faith working out as I try to live a life worth living?
When I was working, I tried to take my Christian beliefs , values and principles into the every day reality of decision making and relationships. Being part of my small group and a faithful, worshipping community here at Kippax sustained and sustains me, bringing insights, challenges, confirmations courage and hope.
Since retirement, I have been discovering new and different perspectives on time, not feeling so guilty if I spend ages reading or as a political junkie, following the daily commentary. Instead of responding at times by yelling at the TV or radio or other media,I try to be more positive in my responses. I send emails, letters, sign petitions, complete surveys to politicians, social commentators, NGO’s and other agencies and journalists.
Sometimes I get responses.
Instead of getting grumpy in a line at the supermarket, I often start a conversation or just smile, in the waiting room of whichever medico I’m at too and sometimes have interesting responses.
Over the years I have come to appreciate and value the centrality of relationships to life and living. So since retirement, I have found, especially here at Kippax, ways to be involved which are soul satisfying and hopefully make a small difference.
My life’s work, my vocation, was as a teacher and being able to be part of Kippax Kids playgroups, Newpin and Holiday Happenings gives me much pleasure and joy.
I’m involved with children’s work because research continues to show that early intervention and support for parents is critical so that when they start school they are well prepared and ready to learn.
Our faith community is especially well placed in an area of recognised social disadvantage to offer a wide range of support, care and love, to both children and adults.
You’d almost think God specially planted us here all those years ago with these and our other programs in mind!
On Friday mornings I come to Kippax with some other friends to what we call The Language Group. A few years ago two other friends and I completed a course at CIT especially designed to give skills to volunteers who wanted to help people from non English speaking backgrounds become more skilled in speaking and understanding English. The CIT model was for volunteers to be matched to a family or person with visits to their homes
Our vision though was to have a group here at Kippax, to use the kitchen for learning language through cooking, to visit the library and go to the shops across the way. When we explained what we had in mind, we were welcomed to take part in the training.
We meet with a diverse group, from China, Vietnam, the Phillipines, Malaysia, , Macedonia, Syria and Korea. Some have been for a long time, some moved on to study or work and some joined recently.
Mostly we do conversational English but respond to the members with pronunciation, meanings of words, puns etc. We have helped with phone calls , contacted Government agencies, looked at maps of Australia, discussed our poltitical systems and respectfully share about Ramadan, Easter and Christmas.
We talk about food a lot and our group love it that we know some of their special dishes and enjoy them too. We have cooked in the kitchen and shared recipes. As relationships have grown, some of the group come as volunteers to the Garage Sales or to shop.
We laugh a lot, us KUC ers learn a lot and sometimes we are sad and even cry together as we learn of the hard places these people have been in or some family members still are.
For me, it’s the relationships which make the faith journey flourish and help make my life worth living. It comes in responding to the dual command to love God and your neighbour as yourself, to live the example of Jesus.
I am reminded of this call in Micah chapter 6, verse 8
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.