1. Boomerang Boy - I need to mention this first so as to excuse any errors I make while typing - as I can't actually see very well at the moment. Maybe I was trying to invent a new Olympic sport called Boomerang Eye Catch, or maybe it was just one of those bizarre accidents that I can never explain. I threw a boomerang into my eye last Sunday. Contrary to popular belief this is not due to that fact that boomerangs come back. I was trying to throw a very fast spin so that the boomerang would come back in my small backyard (in a large field you don't need such a spin). The boomerang left my hand and went straight into my eye. Forward, I need to remember to throw it forward. Anyway, as it stands right now I have very poor vision 1 week later and I'm finding out today if the damage is permanent. But why am I not worried...
2. The Backstab - Saminda and I had friends for 11 years who were closer than family. We rejoiced for each of their children born, we wept when they miscarried 2 and we felt anguish at them living on a remote property running out of water. So we bought them a house next door to us. They were going to pay for the mortgage and all related payments, but we had to finance the project because I have the income for the bank to agree to it all. DON'T EVER DO THIS! I will strongly stress again that these friends were as close as you could ever be to another family. And yet my friend, who was my best man at my wedding years earlier, abused my trust and carelessly destroyed that friendship. I even found it within myself to forgive him, but he didn't want to be forgiven. We didn't want to keep financing the house, they moved away and stopped paying for the mortgage, we were left with a lot of debt and stress and this has only just ended. This has been the most trying time of my life, and the fact that a chapter has finally closed is such a relief that I feel I don't even need an eye. Nothing else matters at the moment.
3. Pegleg Stu - Last year I was being my usual indestructible self at Jujitsu when I broke my leg in a throw. That was such a turning point for me as I felt young before that, and old after it. I'm only turning 30 this year and I'm already starting to resemble a pirate (not such a bad thing). If I can replace my leg with a stick and wear an eye patch my character will be complete.
4. Scurvy Dog - While we are talking about body parts falling apart lets talk about teeth. When I recently went to the dentist to have a tooth examined I realised that it had been 17 years since I had last been to a dentist. And I had thought that religiously brushing my teeth would be enough, but I was forgetting that our high sugar western diet doesn't like teeth. So now I'm left with holes everywhere and teeth coming out and its a real shame I didn't have ongoing examinations.
5. Across the World and Back Again - How young we were... and how naive. I had a teaching degree, all the enthusiasm in the world, money in the bank, 2 children (1 of them 10 weeks old) and a beautiful wife - off to teach in the UK. Okay, some of that sounds like it will work. But the married with 2 children thing, nope, not going to work. Teaching in the UK is a great idea for single people who can choose to not eat for a day, or sleep on someones loung chair, or work a late night shift packing shelves if they get strapped for cash. Trying to find a nice house, buy a car, make family friends and hold down a successful teaching job is really hard as a family. Add to that the fact that the job we were promised disappeared the moment we got to England and you have a disaster on your hands. Our 18 month stay very quickly turned into a 6 week stay, and then only thanks to the lovely families at Romsey Baptist Church who supported us.
6. Memories, What Memories? - Hey at least we took a ton of photos and LOTS of video footage while we were over in the UK. When we got back from our overseas trip we had no money so we stayed in Brisbane for a while to be near family. We ended up renting for a short while so that we could have Christmas in our own place. Brisbane isn't as friendly as Maryborough. Someone broke into our house, while I was still awake at the computer, and took my wallet and our video camera, from just around the corner in the kitchen. I couldn't believe someone would have the gall to do that, but a big city attracts reckless people. And in a flash all of our video footage of the UK, all kept safely in that camera bag, was gone. That was heartbreaking.
So what have I learnt? I need to take care of myself better! I don't necessarily need to stay away from sports and boomerangs, but I need to be careful.
I need to count every one of my blessings. I have 3 of them in this family of mine, and countless angels around this town who have supported me, and supported my family through hard times. My community has been tested, and they have been proven superb.
Listen to advice. If there is one thing that some friends of ours taught us, its to think for ourselves and go against the majority. RUBBISH! Sometimes the majority knows what they are talking about, and people with experience can teach you a thing or two. Don't be a rebel just for the sake of it.
And lastly that being a positive person makes a difference. How often have I wanted to visit that old friend of mine, give him a call, write him a letter to tell him what damage he caused and how foolish he is, but I won't. I am a better person than he is, and I will stand proud and tall in the way that I weathered this storm. Praise be to God for the strength to endure!
(cue "Rocky" soundtrack)
Me in front of my ship in England. The trip wasn't a complete disaster.