Lake Burley Griffin becomes a friend.


I had the alarm set for 5am on Sat morning but Tress was up at 4.30. I decided to get up a few minutes later and just before 6am, we were in the car and started the trek up again. We only made a couple of stops for toilet and coffee and by 1pm we were at Burton and Garran Hall again. It was great to see Kiddo again.

We unloaded the stuff we brought up with us, and then Kiddo jumped in the car and we took the much shorter drive across town to Campbell to our B&B (sort of). After lunching at a Korean joint at the Civic we went to the shops for a bit before going to Weston Park at the Lake Burley Griffin, for a walk/jog. The little black jedi had a whale of a time as we let him run around off lead for a while. The late afternoon scene lakeside was really nice and it was just great for the 3 of us (plus the little pooch) to be there together. The lake is huge and to get to know this place takes quite an effort.

That night we went to the Civic again, and looked for a place for dinner. We settled on “The London Burger and Beers”, a place bustling with young people. The burgers were gorgeous, as were the salads. We were to return the following night as well – another discovery of a nice eatery in Canberra. Later that Saturday night we drove to the Old Parliament House which had an architectural projection type of show on, and the building was opened as well for touring so we walked around and outside the building and it was really late by the time we got home.

On Sunday we went to the Old Bus Depot, went to the Fyshwick food markets for lunch and then went back to the Lake, this time to walk around the Carillon and also took a ride around that area on a paddle bike which took all 3 of us (and Scruff). The bike was christened “John”, a reference to John Howard. All of the bikes were named after past Prime Mnisters of Australia and we saw “Billy”, “Paul” and “Malcolm” go past us. As far as past Prime Ministers go, I cant wait for a “Julia” to appear. The Lake has truly become something more familiar. It is very large and I guess it will take loads of effort to know it really well.

We went to the Crossroads church on campus (at the Manning Clark Lecture Theatre) on Sunday evening, then went back to the London for a late dinner. We again drove around to catch more light projections on buildings and went to the National Gallery.

On Monday morning we spent some time in Kiddo’s dorm room, with some housekeeping stuff and then went to the “Scholar” – a Chinese restaurant for Yum Cha. It was pricey but the food was very good – another discovery of a good place in Canberra.

We left Canberra close to 3pm, and got back to Melbourne just after 9 – a record time for us. I guess we have become accustomed to the drive.

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The Crossroads church was very impressive, content wise. All of the songs were unfamiliar to us but they all had strong emphasis on Christ, the cross, the Gospel message and such themes. There were very little material on power for us, our needs, how much he means to us… in other words, the worship was all about God, not about me or us. What a refreshing change.

The message (“The King’s Speech” – Matthew 5 & 6) was also Kingdom centred and focused on what it really means to be godly and not just religious – again it was all about taking the focus away from us and turning to God.

It was a refreshing change, again.

So often, our church life is centered on ourselves – what the church can (or even ought) to do for us. If a church somehow misses the mark in terms of addressing our daily needs, we turn our backs and maybe even become bitter. I guess when we have needs which appear to be overwhelming and no one seems to care it would appear that we have a legitimate expectation that the church ought to do something. Maybe to a large extent the church ought to, and perhaps the local church ought to take its eyes off lofty notions like discipleship and mission and tend to the daily needs of its flocks. To some church goers, that would be a reasonable ask. Can we discuss discipleship without caring for members’ needs? I dont know.

I’m not sure I know how to deal with needs of church friends and “quasi church” friends. Especially needs of Christians who have been Christians for a long time. Life in Australia is often busy with cares of everyday living. One wakes up and goes to work, comes home and potters around the house with 101 things to do, leaving the “big jobs” for weekends. Many take up further courses of studies like yours truly and whatever free time in the evenings is taken up by work on these studies. Weekends see us catching up with more everyday living stuff – grocery shopping, house cleaning and other such or related chores. Then we have a little bit of time to catch up with friends and be socially alive. Often this means dinners on Sat nights or lunch on Sunday arvo. Either event means more time needed to plan, shop, prepare,  clean etc. Often this has to be rotated around so that different friends of different family members get time spent on them and we maintain our social networks that way, no matter how pained or little “value-add” in terms of strengthening these relationships.

One cant be doing that on every weekend either as some weekends are taken up with other stuff which invariably crop up – school events, weddings and birthdays, farewells, or even spending a Sat night at home catching up with work or with each other at home.

So the best one can do is maybe spend a bit of time, every few weeks, with some friends. I dont know if that is enough. I dont know if it is reasonable to expect more. It does become a bit of a pain when one has to work all these out, just to be satisfied that we’re ok. I would have thought it is a no brainer but apparently not.  Maybe we are meant to give up our everyday living demands, so that others can have their needs met. Maybe the answer lies in foregoing everything just so your friends are kept happy. I have to work that out further. Maybe keeping some friends happy requires a bit of effort. Much like getting to know Lake Burley Griffiin well.

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