Well we’ve been off the grid since June (in that I’ve not posted much blog wise or social media.) What’s been happening?
We became embroiled in a national retirement housing scandal. Our “lease for life” house arrangement went belly-up as our investment went into receivership. We’ve lost $AU 259,000 and are lobbying the Federal Government for compensation on the basis of criminal negligence by the financial regulatory body that knew but failed to warn in spite of investors’ due diligence. We are approaching the zenith as Federal Parliament returns to sit and confirmed evidence of the regulatory body’s failure comes to light.
Stress related health matters arose as a result – nothing major but enough to grapple with medications and side-effects. A bit of a blow to the pride because I have been medication free until now. I’m approaching the age where planning for the management of one’s eventual mortality becomes a little more insistent. Wills, powers of attorney, financial management, future care, household management, and diminishment of physical and mental faculties play on the mind from time to time. The experience of acidie, (a spiritual becalming that is anything but calm!) has been an unwelcome but effective teacher during this time as my usual contemplative rhythms fell out of sync.
Bliss – the defiant celebration of our 40 year marriage in Singapore in the face of the breaking news of our housing predicament. The support of friends near and far. Laughter and a prevailing sense of humour. We’ve just had a week long visit from my sister and brother-in-law, enjoying the natural beauty spots around here, including our favourite, Wadjemup (aka Rottnest Island). My sister is the social glue of our extended family and enabled a re-connection with a cousin we have not seen in many years. We anticipate a similar visit from my brother and sister-in-law in November. It is always a delight to speak by phone and the new Marco Polo app with my 95 year old mother. (They all live 2695 kilometers (1675 miles) away by road in Adelaide, South Australia).
More than a year into retirement our lives are as full as ever. Supporting our extended household, contributing to the life of local and wider Perth church communities, we continue to measure the balance between leisure and work. Apart from my focused areas of ministry in spiritual direction, contemplative workshops and retreats and occasional worship services, I serve on a local university research ethics committee and am a trustee of our movement’s very large and energetic aged care services.
So this is why I’ve been a bit quiet online lately. The savvy amongst us may recognise the criss-crossing of the Quadratos four paths of the gospels in the above, dealing with the transforming life patterns of change, pain, bliss and service. (See Alexander Shaia: Heart and Mind: The Four-Gospel Journey for Radical Transformation: Second Edition.) It is amazing at times how each of these seasons can be experienced in the course of a single day. Awareness of this framework has not only kept us sane, but helped us in knowing what to anticipate and how to keep a bumpy ride in perspective.