Friday, November 8, 2013

How to make sewage look good....

Wow, have I been slack... long time since I posted here. And not because life has been boring, I just think I have too many choices about posting on the internet. I may have to whittle down my options and 'consolidate' my web presence.

Anyway, here's a bunch of images from a visit to the Werribee Sewage Treatment Farm. Yeah, I know, not exactly a place you'd think to take a camera. If you are thinking big buildings and miles and miles of pipes, you'll be quite surprised. I didn't see a single significant structure, but there is plenty there to photograph.

I'm not into birds, so I only know about half of the ones here. There are places where the view is quite spectacular too.

OK, this one's easy - Pelicans :)

A Spoonbill

Cape Baron Geese


A triptych of flight

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Same sex marriage, love and refugees...

A hot topic currently is 'same sex marriage', with people from all sorts of fields being asked to make comment on it... politicians, church ministers, celebrities, even footballers (just to add the surreal to the situation).

And lately I am being asked what I think.

Straight off the top of my head I think, 'Who cares what I think. What possible relevance does my opinion have?' The facts are, some people of the same sex fall in love, some have affairs, some live together, some want to legalise their relationship. My opinion is of negligible consequence to all of that. Yet the questions keep coming.

So for what it's worth (very little actually) here's what I think.

It's a topic that is being pushed to the fore at the expense of what I consider far more weighty issues in our society, like Australia's inhumane treatment of refugees. The breakdown of families and the consequent problems that causes young people. The selfish vapid and empty 'look at me' ethos of the celebrity that our media pander to and our young people aspire to.

Against this, how my friends Joey and Peter want to live is small potatoes to me. What they want won't bring Australia into a moral morass. We're doing that fine just on the refugee issue thanks very much.

Then there's my friends who say 'But you're a christian, shouldn't you be toeing the church line?' Well, yes I am a christian, in that I have surrendered my life, present and future to God and His grace. And what I read in His word are things like "Do not judge, lest you be judged", "God loved the world so much He sent His Son so that we may be saved", "He who is without sin may cast the first stone", "Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest", "And they shall know you are Christians by your love".

So, as a christian, I'm all about emulating the very basis of God's character - Love. Yes, there is judgement in the Bible, but that's not my job, and I am in no way qualified to judge ANYONE, being just a sinner saved by grace myself. And I don't know a single other christian that is any better equipped than I am to do God's job for Him.

I've had friends who are so riled up about it from the other end of the scale too, saying things along the line of "I believe in equality and if you are against same-sex marriage then you are no friend of mine and you are a bigot." Well, from my vantage point, that's bigotry itself.... saying 'if you don't agree with my opinion on this topic then I have no time or place for you in my life, as your opinion goes against my opinion'. Yet they seem to think that gives them the moral high ground, when all it does is potentially drive otherwise good caring people away with hatred and hostility. 

You may have noticed that I haven't stated unequivocally whether or not I support same-sex marriage. I could cover all sorts of arguments, like is marriage a legal or religious institute... what parts of the Bible are relevant today?... Are we a christian nation?... 

All these are furphies, like having a theological debate over should we help the homeless. It turns into a wordfest. So I will reiterate... Why do you think my opinion is so important that you need to know. How I live is far more important than what I think about one issue. And here is how I endevour to live - Love God, love others.

If you don't understand that answer, then I suggest you put aside all thought of these 'hot topic' issues like same-sex marriage, and meditate for months on just how you live, and whether or not love is the basis of all that you do.

Greg Carrick

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A week to live. (Confession of Depression)

I have lived with depression since I was a teenager, although I didn't know that until I was 40. I thought it was just my mix of being an extrovert/introvert. That and the blanket of silence that stifled any talk of depression among men, the heavy grey lives that edged closer and closer to the solution of a shotgun or fatal 'single car' accident.

I'm writing this now in my own home, with my wife and daughter close by, Spring is just starting and my diary has things to do in it for the next few weeks. But not long ago I none of these things. I was homeless, had lost my family and gave myself one week to live. My story is not uncommon.

Loss is a major component of depression, and it starts with losing the truth. Your brain lies to you, telling you black is white, and white is black. I believed that no-one loved me, no matter what they said, as there was absolutely nothing about me that was at all lovable. My sense of self worth had been sucked into the black hole that also took my humor, my smile,  and worst of all, my hope. When I lost all sense of hope, that was when the inevitability of suicide was most in my thoughts.
The lies that were in my head drove me down a road that had no turn-offs. It was a lie that my wife didn't love me, but I believed it to be true. It was a lie that I was worthless, that there was no glimmer of value or good in me, but that's what I believed. It was a lie that I had no choices left in my future, that killing myself was just a matter of time, but I was heading there without slowing down or seeing a way out.

My world was shrinking without mercy. I no longer felt welcome or comfortable in my home, the only place I felt I was tolerated was in the middle of the couch, any other place made me feel I was an unwelcome intruder and in the way. All these feelings were lies that depression was telling me, but to me it was truth.

Being so badly depressed affected all areas of my life, I ran my own business, and that went down the drain, as I had no energy or inclination to keep it working. I felt I was a failure there as well. My friends were hurt by my 'attitude' and to this day I have lost some through those times. I don't give any the blame, as I know how low I got, but it was just another example of how I had no glimmer of light or happiness in my life. Everything was broken.

And now comes the hardest part to write about. With darkness all around, I was awakened one day by some light and warmth, given to me by a lady. Over months we tried to answer each others needs, and try to find some happiness with each other. When I look at other men who desert their wives and families and have an affair, I have had no sympathy for them, but now I was doing the same thing. I can blame depression, I can make excuses, but I can't change wrong into right. All I can do is accept what I did and grow from there. Some of my friends couldn't, and some reading this won't be able to either. We all have to go through our own journey, and no reader owes me loyalty anyway. I've had to come to terms with judgement, not the least because I judge myself harshly.

All that came crashing down, as it was bound to being built on damage and desperation, and I was worse off than ever. By that time I was living week by week in a caravan park, my income was so low I had to choose between rent and food. I believed that I had a week left before I would kill myself. To me that was just a fact in my mind, something that I would do next week. There was only one thing that would stop that from happening.

I called my wife, who I hadn't spoken with for six months. I had no idea what reception I would get, I didn't know if she would even want to talk to me.

I believed i had been without love for years, and I had tried to find hope where I could, but with hope gone, the desire to live was also stolen. I had just that once chance left, would my wife want me? If not, I had no reason to live.

And here's where I found the difference between hope and despair, love and disdain, life and death.

My hope was answered in ways that met and matched the darkness I had lived through. I was shown grace which was given as a gift of love to me. Healing began, and it had to take it's time. It was six months before I could smile. A year before I felt like being sociable with others. I made mistakes still. I should have changed doctors. Mine would not contemplate any medication for me. I went for years up and down though depression toughing it out without any help. It shouldn't be like that. Through it all my wife gave me room and time, no demands or recriminations. That was my rock, the love and non-judgemental acceptance I was given. I had enough judgement from myself, learning to accept and forgive myself has taken some years.

I am still alive. I am stronger now. I have an understanding and empathy for others that came the hard way. And I know that grace and love can defeat depression.