1/18/2009 07:14:00 pm

It's All About Me

Posted by Unknown |

So Sunday the 11th was the day the Harbour Bridge went cashless and I quit my job (which funnily enough will also involve me going cashless).

I was pretty sure the day was going to be a little unpleasant. Partly because I was leaving my job, partly because I was going to be the centre of attention all day, and finally because I was going to a party and I was the "host". I am really only happy at parties when I'm with comfortable people and hiding. When everyone is there to farewell you hiding isn't as much of an option.

I started the day by catching the train to Chatswood early in the morning to collect three samurai swords I had bought the day before. They were to be part of my handing over ceremony to Courtney the new Youth Minister. I had left the swords at Grandpa and Valentina's place because I didn't think transporting three real swords on a train would be a good look in today's paranoid world. Who would have thought?

Happily enough Forest Coach Lines was totally uninterested in the guy with the swords on their bus. I could have slaughtered a passenger or two and nobody would have batted an eyelid.

I arrived at work early to clean my office as I still had a bit of dusting to do. Rach wandered in got hay fever so she left again.

The 10am church service was uneventful. I thought there might be some sort of prayer or something, but there was only an announcement to come to the barbie afterwards. It was the last time I wasn't going to be in the limelight all day.

After Church I found they'd decked out the playground and Kindy area for a party. They had a table covered in cans of Coke with a tower of Coke many stories high. There was a big cake which said "Seeya Tom" on it. And there were my t-shirts hanging from the roof. It was pretty cool. I felt loved.

We had a barbie and I ate a sausage. I was pretty hungry because I didn't have breakfast, but I didn't get to eat much. I was too busy farewelling myself. I realised I should probably be hanging out with people and talking them and all that. So I popped over to a group of parents to say "G'day" but just as I got there they started the official part where people say nice things about me so I had to stop. I'm not a very good host. I have lots of lovely friends at my church and they said lots of lovely things. My favourite comment was from one girl who said she knew that I'd "touched" everyone in her family. The sentiment made me pleased and the wording made me smirk.

It's kinda awkward having to sit there and accept everyone's thanks and praise. You don't really know where to look or how to respond. I'm so glad I'm not a head of state or a celebrity or someone who gets nice things said publicly about them all the time. That'd be tough.

I got a chance to respond and I muddled my way through some thanks and encouragements. It felt pretty dumb trying to sum up 6 years of gratitude in 5 minutes. Really there is such a depth of thankfulness in me for my time at the church and all the wonderful people I have worked with and served that I don't think I could ever find an adequate way of getting it out, so I just fluffed on for a while.

After that I was given my presents. Rev Michael had been paying attention in my sermon the week before. I had done an illustration about my love for Coke so he rung a friend at Coke and got a bunch of merchandise delivered for me, along with 96 cans of Coke. It was pretty cool. I was going to be pretty happy with that. But in the bag of Coke goodies there was a large wad of cash to go towards my desired MacBook Pro. I was pretty chuffed. People were amazingly generous. I'm so loved.

I went back to my office after that to finish work in preparation for the impending camp. It's kinda silly to go straight from work to camp, but I think in the end it worked out for the best.

Church that night was a little surreal. I had the old fan club there. The Commy crew, Ma and Pa plus some randoms who came to farewell me though I'm not sure who they were. That was all on top of the usual church crew.

The worship was good, though I was a little distracted. I was told by someone they thought it was the best worship we'd had in years. That's pretty good I reckon. I got to do the announcements for the last time. They were, as usual, silly. I'm not sure anyone I did the announcements for would have actually appreciated my input, but I was leaving, so I could be a silly as I wanted. There were probably a bunch of new people sitting there saying "I'm so glad this guy is leaving."

I was prayed for in the magic spot. Almost the whole church got up to lay hands on me. I thought I might get emotional during this bit. But as it turns out I just struggled to stay standing. The weight of all those hands is much greater than you would expect. Lucky I work out.

After I got prayed for I had the chance to do a hand over ceremony for Courtney. I gave her a big long ninja sword. I gave it to her explaining that it was an ancient sword from a group of ninja Japanese Youth Ministers. She was to pass the sword on to whoever comes after her. I did it mainly because it'd be cool if there was a sword that the Youth Ministers in the church pass down from generation to generation from now on. People saw symbolism in there for the Word of God and what not. Certainly not symbolism that I discouraged, but also not nearly as important to me as just having something cool.

I then got to lead the prayer for Courtney which was nice. I know that often people don't get to do much of a hand over to their successor so I was very happy to endorse and bless the woman who is coming after me. She'll do good.

I preached. The sermon was all about people knowing Jesus. I figured I didn't have much I really wanted to say, except, "know Jesus". He's pretty much the summation of everything the matters, why should there be anything else worth talking about?

After the service I spent a bunch of time saying good bye to people. It's pretty odd saying good bye. I felt like it wasn't significant because I can't understand that I won't see a lot of people for a while, and I certainly won't see most of them regularly ever again. It's totally sad, but I can't really get my head around it.

I ended up being the last to leave. I left my office by handing over the keys to Courtney, turning off the lights and locking the door.

Helen was kind enough to give me a lift to camp. That seemed right. She was the one that I started the youth group with (in it's current state) she was the one I ended it with too.

And that, was my leaving. I didn't cry. I got a voice wobble. But none of it seems real. I'll cry one day when I break a cup or something and it'll all come tumbling out. Till then though I'll just live with the unresolved pain and take it out on all those I'm close to. Sounds great!