Well anyway, in that instance the split was the classic - way of the world, or way of the Kingdom? It got me to thinking about Furlough 17, and in some ways every furlough before that. I arrive always in Oz as an outsider to a way of life that I have already left. This time was no different, although it came with a novel desire to be on the inside. The kind of things I’d left behind like a 35 hour work week, steady pay, disposable income, leisure time, all started to take on a certain brightness since it seemed that those were the things that would lead to a stable and somewhat comfortable family life. Who wouldn’t want that? In every place that we went, I pictured Jude, K and myself living out an alternate life; days lived at cruise speed and being quietly drenched by sun and sea on the Sunshine Coast, suburban existence surrounded by ship shape facilities and services in the Nation’s Capital, or perhaps a reinstatement to NSW bureaucracy and the Kohs blithely rubbing elbows with the Inner West fringe folk, although more and more I felt drawn away from places where the lost gather.
Ah, the shiny-ness of it all- a yearning for greener pastures, or at least a different one. When furlough drew to a close though, the brightness of the Australian Dream dulled, as the extrapolation of my fantasies led predictably to where they had before, a decade ago. Then what? There are many answers to that question, none of which I have really explored. For now the easier thing seems to remain. But then, who said easy was good? We often say the opposite, in fact. Or I do.
K sent a book my way this week. It opens with a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer thus:
“The Pauline question of whether circumcision is a condition of justification seems to me in present day terms to be whether religion is a condition of salvation.”
That is a brilliant way to put it. No, we do not require religion for salvation, although I wouldn’t have said that salvation was the end game, not that we would need religion for whatever the end game turns out to be, either. But for someone who’s been in the miniverse for 10 years, is doing the same old same old, somehow tantamount to religion? If so, is it time for something OUTSIDE, even if it isn’t the Aussie Dream?