15 February, 2010

I wasn't prepared

On the weekend we drove out to Kingaroy for deputation. For non-Queenslanders, Kingaroy is a country town about 250km west-north-west of Brisbane. They have a population around 10 000 people. (Photo is of my apartment as it was back then.) I wasn't prepared for the wave of nostalgia which swelled over me as we travelled back that road up to Kingaroy. You see, I lived there for more than two years immediately after I graduated from university. I was the Occupational Therapist for the region surrounding (and including) Kingaroy - some 11 000 square kilometres! It was a daunting task for a new graduate. But it turned out to be my most satisfying job as an OT thus far. The variety was awesome. The freedom I had to make choices was inspiring. The opportunities to develop my own skills and the scope of the department were fantastic. In addition to this wonderful challenge, I lived on my own for the first time in my life. Something I was very keen to do after four years of living in community at a university college. The down side was the loneliness that came with it all. Working on my own much of the time, living on my own and going to church on my own. No young adults group to enjoy. At 21 I was the only person between the lone young teenager and two parents in their ?30s. Now I can look back with fondness at the whole experience, however. I'm glad I did it. It often helps when I'm feeling low about my own ability to cope with life in Japan, to know that I once did manage independently (admittedly, in Australia, not a foreign country). I wasn't prepared, though I should have been, for how I felt on Saturday. The closer we got to the town, the more memories surfaced (my poor husband!). We first landed at the church and did the preparation for our deputation with the church. Then I took the kids down the road to a park. I sat while they played, and memory after memory washed over me. Through the trees I could just see the church that I two-timed with the Presbyterian church, going there for fellowship and livelier music in the evenings. I remembered the weekly Bible studies I attended and the long-term friends I made there. The volleyball games where I enjoyed being just another player, rather than the OT. The shopping centre where I'd learnt about shopping and cooking for myself for the first time. The news agency I wandered around, in a strange kind of echoing of the future, hoping for a bookshop to materialise out of nowhere! The block I circled looking in vain for Christmas presents. The set of traffic lights which were the first ones in the district and the cars which used to slow down up to a kilometre away, wondering if the lights would turn red before they got there! It has been more than 12 years since I left that post to go to Brisbane where my fiancé lived. Some changes have occurred in Kingaroy during that time. Probably mostly superficial ones. The church has a lot of different people, many have moved away, new ones have come. But the age range is still about the same. Much has changed for me! I didn't know back then that living and working on my own in Kingaroy would be good preparation for living and working in a foreign country, but it was. I learned many things, but not least among them, that I need to be responsible for my own spiritual growth. I cannot defer that to the church I happen to be attending at the time.

1 comment:

Janet said...

Isn't it amazing how God brings together everything in life?! Rom 8:28 of course!