Today my mum was picked up by the Anglicare bus for a day at their neighbourhood centre for the first time ever. In the bus, she immediately brightened up and started chatting with the woman in the seat beside her. The centre runs a half-day of activities interspersed with morning tea and lunch. And as I waved goodbye to basically just the busdriver and ran into the house to collect my stuff and then back down to my car, and then as I found a rockstar car park and jauntily walked to the cafe, I thought “How great is this country – this sharing of resources?” I felt like thanking the whole community. Because even though mum isn’t sure about who owns this house and sometimes the execution of a half-twirl causes her to forget what she is doing, her life is a still series of lived moments in the company of people who are familiar. So thanks, everyone.
So I’ve had time and headspace to write. And today’s lunch has been cold meat straight from the package and a two-day-old buckwheat pancake with butter and jam – just like old times!
At the cafe, previous to starting this post and eating the above appalling lunch, I drink coffee and read the Sydney Morning Herald. Half way through my second flat white, I arrive at the letters page and read this missive from Brendan Jones in Annandale:
Electric cars’ dream drive
Alan Finkel dispelled many of the myths regarding electric cars but there’s one vital thing he omitted (“Step off the gas and turn on the lights: electric is the way”, February 10-11). Electric cars are so pleasant and beautiful to drive that once you’ve succumbed to their responsiveness, smoothness and simplicity, you’ll never want to drive a petrol car ever again.
Brendan Jones, Annandale
And I thought: How pleasant and beautiful are the words ‘pleasant and beautiful’. I’m overlooking the gendered phraseology of ‘responsiveness, smoothness and simplicity’, Brendan, because the truth is, I also long for a car that is obedient, beautiful and does not take much effort to live with; one that is powered by the same sun that has been causing even natives to die off around me this summer.
At church the other week we were reminded that one of our roles as saints is to ‘wait a little longer’. It’s unwise to distill an entire talk into a gory proof verse that probably shouldn’t be read out of context (and, even in context, is quite destabilizing), but here you go:
11 Each of them was given a long white robe and they were told to rest for a little longer, until the full number was reached of both their fellow servants and their brothers who were going to be killed just as they had been.
Revelation chapter 6, verse 11
And the question posed that evening was: How do we rest/wait well?
I am in awe of the sun for its destructive power, and yet I want to see it tamed and harvested. I want to see its withering power transformed into responsiveness, smoothness and simplicity. Can you blame me? I am the First Adam and the First Eve in an eon of relived denial. I was made for a garden and now I’ll never get back there, although the Good Book assures me that the city which awaits will be even better.
So our life as believers is to involve waiting well. And I am thinking that waiting well involves embracing, as much as we can, the good future of the world. There is a great deal of brokenness and heartache, which anyone alive can immediately confirm. But when I now read about South Australia maybe making electric vehicles in its old car factories, a little tear comes to my eye. Because I want the future to be good. As good as we can make it. I want us to wait well. I even bought a packet of those little metal straws with which to drink my iced latte, although I suspect a teaspoon and the lip of the glass would have sufficed. Also they taste a bit like a metal tube. Contact me for any product endorsements.
People sometimes ask our new four-adult family ‘Do you live with them or do they live with you?’ and we reply ‘We all live together’. The question makes me uncomfortable. Read one way, it implies power is contingent on property ownership. Read another way, power is presented as being inversely proportional to one’s need for care. In the city to come, we all live together. And this spiritual urbanisation is represented as an inevitability. Perhaps that is why Jesus suggests we reserve some real estate while we still can. This is Sydney, after all.