Sunday, February 18, 2007

our weekend

the three of us had a lovely but lonely weekend together.  after a busy week with forge meetings, we were eager to be with isaac and relax our minds.  kev and kath, however, had to return to adelaide to continue to assist with nana and comfort her during her stay in hospital.  we missed them the entire time.

friday morning isaac prayed for rain.  we went to a nearby mall to escape the heat of the day and get some exercise.  i love walking through the malls here because they are full of shops i've never seen before.  and, every mall has a grocery attached and multiple news agents.  isaac loves it as he can run full-on through the crowds and never get bored.  friday evening we had treasured rain fall (prayers were answered) and we relaxed at home.

saturday promised even more heat, but we were prepared.  we walked together through the neighborhood in the early morning, then we headed for the beach.  we spent the morning at the beach until the sun peaked and it was time to retreat indoors.  it was delightful because the crowds hadn't emerged and the beach was quiet.   and the tide was out.  at altona beach (the bay, not the ocean), we are able to walk out into the water about 100 yards and sit on sand banks.  isaac can safely splash around and begin to grow comfortable in the water. 

after a nap, we returned to the beach and found it in a totally different state.  it was after 4 p.m., the roads were blocked off for pedistrian traffic and as far as the eye could see, there were people enjoying the water.  after a hot afternoon indoors, it was beautiful to sit in the cool water and watch the masses.  again, i was amazed at the ordinary state of diversity here.  i heard half a dozen different languages as people strolled by.  i also marvelled at how relaxed everyone was.  there were people of all shapes and sizes, beautiful mothers with their children, 60 year old women in bikinis.  no one seemed self-conscious or uptight, except me.

we dragged ourselves from the water around 6 p.m. saturday evening and drove on to williamstown - a small, historic port town just before the bridge to melbourne, in fact you can see the city's skyline through the masts of yachts that clutter the horizon.  we ate pizza and walked to a park for isaac to use up his last bits of energy.  we were sun-weary and so relaxed.

sunday we drove into the city to attend st. martin's church.  this is the church in which geoff grew up and kev and kath worked along side john and glena smith in ministry for a long time.  it is the church of the famous "god squad" - missional order to outlaw bikers like hell's angels.  it always promises to be interesting.  we arrived after the service had started and there was standing room only.  it must have been just shy of 100 degrees inside and i knew my capacity to cope would be limited.  they had planned a lovely service/ritual for ordination for two workers in the community.  we sat in the back.  i sat between two women, one half crazy and the other a lovely chinese woman talking of her time of persecution while living in indonesia.  there was a bloke asleep under the tea table (right next to us) and a transgender fellow sitting next to geoff.  bikers were everywhere and children played beneath the feet of parents despite the stiffling heat.  we were really happy to see uncle pete in the corner.  unfortunately, i only lasted an hour and we left.

we were meant to go to geoff's dear friend scotty's house to have lunch with him, his wife dan and their 14 month old, jonathan.  we'd left the house in the morning without their phone number or any directions.   we had only visited them one time three years ago.  we speculated about our destination (which is on the other side of the bay from us) so we headed south out of the city and down the coast a bit to the beautiful suburbs of the east.  after driving around awhile (with isaac on his 22nd time of asking "are we there yet") we stopped for a host gift and called geoff's dad in adelaide to ask for scotty's address.  big kev is faithful and always comes through with the goods.  it turns out we were quite wrong with our guessing, and twenty minutes later, we arrived at their house.   we spent a long and restful afternoon with them, with geoff and scotty talking for hours and my getting to know dan better.  she is one the most witty and charming women i've met and i found her company delightful.  we finally left because his parents were due soon for dinner.

on the way home, we stopped at mcdonald's to get an ice cream cone for isaac (and two for us).  poor isaac is convinced it is called "frank's" because months ago, in a futile attempt to protect him from "branding", we told him that was the name of this ever-present establishment.  now he won't believe otherwise. 

after isaac had gone to bed, we reflected on the weekend and the gnawing bit of melancholy we were both feeling, despite a great few days together.  it was clear that we were longing for kev and kath.  without them here, it didn't feel like home.  they are our grounding stakes here in australia and together, as a family, we find comfort.  we felt a bit like strangers or housesitters without them.  and all weekend isaac asked after them as he would run through the front door calling out to them.  they'll return today, after hard work and heartache, to a very eager threesome.

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