Last Saturday was and is, to some degree, a blur. After waiting many years, ploughing through exhausting study and jumping through a myriad of hoops “O” (ordination) day arrived – Saturday 5th December 2009.
It had been a traumatic lead-up over the week prior to going on retreat as a young friend of many years died tragically and I flew to Brisbane to assist at his funeral. It was emotional and very trying and, yes I cried a lot for Brendan. He had died so young but had achieved so much. As I said at the funeral “Brendan wasn’t a saint, just an ordinary boy growing into an extraordinary young man.”
I came back on the Saturday, one week out from “O” day and tried to set myself for the biggest day of my life. The retreat helped and I noted the juxtaposition of Brendan’s death, the fact that at the funeral a whole range of young, and not so young, people whom I had worked with were present was significant. Particularly so as I was about to be ordained and embark on work in a school environment.
In my conversation with Brendan 3 days before his death, his last words when I challenged him about his seeking work in a fine dining restaurant was, “I’m up for it.” It seemed his challenge to me was the same, “Are you up for it?”
The weeks retreat and then “O” day itself reaffirmed for me that I could answer as confidently as he did, “I’m up for it.”
Most of the 2 and a half hour service is slowly being unlocked as I receive more and more photos. It all felt more real the next day when I celebrated the Eucharist and is slowly revealing itself. It was great to have the support of people from the full gamut of my life – from St Jude’s Randwick, St Clements Brisbane, my mother and my aunt and uncle and from my Golden Oldie Rugby Days. To have the Bishop Keith Slater officiate was a thrill as Keith was instrumental in my return to the church and a sober and useful life. To have Rev’d Lee Gauld preach at my first Eucharist was wonderful for we worked together at Brendan’s funeral a week before.
I need to mention my wife, Gaye, without whose help I simply wouldn’t not have got sober and wound my way to this day.
Yes and to God who has never failed me and has remained faithful and hopeful that I might, just might, get there one day, thank you.