Hello everyone,

This e news has been written ahead of time. I’m out of town as you read this. With the fast pace of life I run the risk of what I say being out of date only days after it is written!

The mysteries of the mail chimp system tell me there are 244 of you out there who might be reading this, depending on the busyness of your Friday afternoon. Hello. Sometimes I get carried away on a thought and you have a lot to read that day – sorry about that! Other times it’s more based on what’s happened, happening and going to happen. I do enjoy communicating with you.

Today I speak to those worried about friends, family or yourselves who are feeling suicidal. I have a friend who attempted suicide many times. Only once did she phone me as the last one she wanted to talk to. Not a good experience for me! Usually I heard after the attempt – little better. But, yesterday she said she was going to volunteer somewhere in the suicide prevention network. I marvelled how far she had come. She could have been one of the 606 pairs of shoes above.

However, I did lose a family member in the wider family network to suicide a few years ago. Both Roger and I wonder if we had been closer… seen them more often… you will know the self-recrimination one goes through. Members of that same family now are helping organise a community fundraiser for mental health prevention in their country district. I wonder if their life would have gone in that direction otherwise?

Sometimes it’s not possible to find a ray of light for a long time. And when we do see light it can be faint and flickering. However, it’s like the transformation I wrote about last week. It takes effort, guts and determination to get through. All strength and courage to those struggling with suicide or illness, depression or estrangement, relationship ups and downs, the aches of old age or who are simply really, really sick of rain and yearn for more sunshine. For those who worry about and for others – don’t try to be strong all the time. It’s important to do something silly, frivolous or luxurious when you can for relief from the sudden (or prolonged) seriousness of life.

I should probably stop. Some of you will be trying to read this in your coffee break and time’s up. Hang in there. ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ Reading the scriptures, I wonder if he might wander out and pick some of the ‘lilies of the field’ – wildflowers of his day. Practically speaking, it would get him outside in the fresh air, let him walk the earth, increase those endorphins, ground himself, and remind him there was beauty in this world. Perhaps you could grub in your own garden or walk the public gardens where tulips are out (don’t tell them I said you could pick the flowers!).

On Sunday we celebrate larger plants – it is Forest Sunday. Kevin Hackwell, Chief Conservation Advisor of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc. will reflect on: “Our forests – from plenty, to loss, to recovery”. The Social Justice group will meet after church around Peace issues. See you there!


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