Monday, September 19, 2011

Impacting his world

My boy, who arrived so fast into the world the midwife missed it. He literally fell from womb to floor. And he cried for the next twelve months - especially when strapped in to a pram, a car seat, a high chair... He didn't want to be held back. Or held at all. Interesting, really, that his birth was so independent. 

My sensitive boy. The one who likes his own space. Is faithful to his family. A loyal friend.  Loves a project, persevering with it until the end. Determined. Stubborn. Kind.

Already 9.

When we arrived in Jakarta he was fearful. He didn't feel safe when we were in the streets, didn't like being stared at because he was white, didn't like being touched and photographed. 

And he saw the poverty around him. He wasn't comfortable with that either. He provided the 'solutions', thinking of the options available if it was he who was poor. I would gently suggest that these were not practical, would not solve it. That unfortunately it wasn't that simple. He would frown, and think some more.

As the months passed the solutions became fewer. But then a new thought. 

"I'm going to start a Foundation and feed the poor."

I reply that it is wonderful he wants to, and perhaps he could support the many existing organisations trying to do just that? But my determined boy wanted it to be his. His idea, his way. Weeks rushed by, and suddenly I realised the lack of wisdom in 'fighting' my son, who wanted to change his world. 

And so the 'White Box Foundation' was born. Like him, it was fast, and done with determination. He gathered donations from his brothers, and family and friends who heard about it. He bought the food, placed them in shoe boxes, and delivered them to people living on the street in Jakarta.

Yesterday he gave two boxes to this Dad and his little ones, who were sifting through rubbish piles near some of the biggest mansions in Jakarta. Enough food for a couple of days. Not much really. But more than the alternative. And done with love.

Better than doing nothing. Don't you think?

Giving thanks:
  • A boy who wants to find solutions.
  • That he was willing to do something, no matter how small.
  • The example of Jesus for my children. The ultimate servant.
  • Sobering images, right where we are.
  • Overcoming fears.
  • Gaining some understanding of our relative wealth.
  • Those who have donated to the White Box Foundation. An encouragement to Ethan.
  • Determination. Hard to deal with sometimes. But good for his life.
  • A sensitive boy.
  • That a family has some food today, when they could have been without. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Past Life

I am considering the direction I should go when we return to Australia. Part of that process is thinking about what skills and experience my past hold. Of course pure motherhood has been my world in the past five years. Then there was before...

What have I experienced?

I went to train suicides.

Dealt with the sadness of mental illness.
Spent time with drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, abuse victims.
Read suicide victim's notes.
Arrested many, many people.
Told people their loved one had died.
Watched as people had the horrendous task of identifying the body of someone they loved.
Counselled parents, desperate to turn their wayward children's lives around.
I was spat on, punched, threatened with weapons.
Saw the realities of homelessness.
Dealt with decomposed bodies.
Saw justice done, and justice denied.
Spent many hours in watchhouses, where I heard more creative abuse than you could ever know.
Stood alongside my workmates, with a bond few would understand.
Had the privilege of investigating bikies, drug networks, cold homicide cases.
Waited for the 'jaws of life' at car accidents.
Spoken to many perpetrators and victims of domestic violence.
Driven 'lights and sirens' to armed robberies - heart racing.
Saw hopelessness abounding.
Typed many a charge sheet whilst shaking, after a fight.
Strip searched women.
Entered homes with vicious dogs, weapons, syringes, untold filth.
Been hated because of my uniform, my badge.

They are some of the best memories I have. Strangely.

What did I learn?

I am privileged to be born into a home where it was safe.
Few people have answers for those suffering extraordinary disadvantage.
Racism and stereotypes are an easy default - it takes much more work to have understanding and empathy.
Suicide is one of the saddest things I have seen. The loneliness and despair, overwhelming.
Loyalty is an amazing motivator.
The majority of people I dealt with would never have known love.
People are quickly lost to the destructiveness of heroin.
Justice will not always be done on this earth, but it will come.
I am blessed.

I am so thankful I knew Jesus when I stepped out on that street. Trusted Him. Relied on His strength. Knew His love. For me. For them. I'm not sure how my other, wonderfully dedicated and hard working colleagues, manage.

Jesus was my peace, and gave me love amongst the hate, to share with others.

So...looking at my list...

What is next?

Giving thanks:
  • Life experiences that changed me forever.
  • Love and empathy for those who hated me. Only by the grace of God.
  • Moments with so many suffering people...opportunities to impact their lives.
  • Being kept safe. Too many have given their lives doing the same job.
  • Exciting times. Lights and sirens are fun, no matter what awaits you!
  • Unbreakable bonds with those you have been alongside. Depended on. Trusted.
  • A sense of humour at tough times.
  • Marrying a man who has shared these exexperiences. No need to explain.
  • My heavy heart for some of the stories that have stayed with me.
  • Peace. From the Spirit.
  • Love overflowing to others.
  • Justice. Now. Or eventually.
  • Experiences that provide a springboard for the next season.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Dad

Yesterday was Father's Day in Australia, so my thoughts turned to my Dad... So much to be grateful for.

Giving thanks:
  • The way he loves my Mum. Completely. Unconditonally. He still says she is the most beautiful girl in the world. And means it.
  • The move he made at the age of 38 from a country town of 2000 people where he was born, to the city  to provide opportunity for my sister and I.
  • Very different politics. And the ensuing debates.
  • Watching storms together on the front porch. Silent. Content.
  • The really bad dancing he did. Surely (hopefully) for our amusement.
  • Piggy backs to bed.
  • Seeing the way he serves my mother.
  • His love for clocks. The familiar and comforting sound of ticking.
  • For sayings that will live on for generations.
  • His advice to me about marriage. And seeing him live it.
  • Meat & three veg whilst my Mum was at work. Apple, orange or banana for dessert.
  • Work first, play later. 
  • Lessons that you should never expect life to be perfect. 
  • Cricket in the driveway.
  • Dad watching me play sport. I couldn't have tried harder to impress him! 
  • "Ho Ho Ho"-ing around the house at Christmas. Mustered more joy than any Santa could.
  • Clean cars and mown lawns.
  • An education in football.
  • The fact he is still learning - going to a weekly discussion group re current affairs.
  • Routine, routine, routine. It's in my blood.
  • The memory of a winning grand final together at the MCG.
  • His competitive spirit.
  • Putting up with me as a teenager. I argued. A lot. 
  • He wouldn't let me kick a footy because it wasn't ladylike. How ironic now that I have four boys!
  • Encouraging good posture. Telling me to get my head up and shoulders back, and swing those arms, while he looked for the lost coins! 
  • Though strong willed and stubborn, he still listens to me.