We celebrated the birthdays of Nicole and Sean in Zac's on Tuesday.
On Wednesday I joined about a hundred others at the crematorium for the funeral of a 'gentleman of the road'. Known by most of Swansea as Tea Cosy Pete, he lived for the last 30-35 years on the streets and he was something of an enigma as unlike most rough sleepers he didn't drink or use drugs. His passions were athletics, music and books, and, interestingly, he was in the same class in senior school as Rowan Williams, ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, who remembered him as being a man of complete integrity.
Sean was one of the few people Pete allowed to get close to him and it was Sean who took the funeral service. I've never before known people to applaud the preacher at the end of a funeral but Sean did a brilliant job. The local paper did a good job of covering the service too.
|Hannah, who had befriended and grown close to Pete, left a bunch of wild and seasonal flowers along with some of the books Pete had left in her keeping.|
I didn't really know Pete. I've often seen outside Zac's when I've left bible study at about 1015 pm. He'd wait for Sean to come out and then talk to him for an hour or two. It didn't matter how tired Sean was he stayed to listen. I considered myself honoured if I got a grunt in return for my 'good night, Pete'. But I went to the funeral as part of Zac's and afterwards mourners were invited back to Zac's for bread, soup and cake.
Then on Thursday I gave a talk to a ladies' group about Zac's. The morning didn't begin well. The meeting was being held in the local Marrriott Hotel and it was a pay and display car park. In the pouring rain and gusting wind I tried to make the stupid machine take my money. After 5 minutes I gave up and tried another machine only to be told when I got in that I needn't have bought a ticket. (They gave me my money back.)
Next up we had technical problems. I'd made a short film to give a snapshot of Zac's but we couldn't get the computer to talk to the television or my stick. And then I gave my talk.
You know how when someone gives a talk that at the end there's usually applause? Even if it's only a little bit? Well, there wasn't. I don't think it was me but rather that as a group they didn't do it. But it did throw me a bit. Especially as the woman leading it then got up straightaway and prayed without saying thank you or anything about my talk like people usually do.
On the plus side, in the middle of my talk the receptionist brought in a plate of freshly-baked cookies, which smelled delicious. Of course, that was also on the minus side as it was slightly distracting to one and all, not least me.
Straight from there to women's group at Zac's where there were only four of us. Car trouble, sickness and work prevented three others at least joining us but two of the four were newbies, which was encouraging. Very different women - one with years of Christian experience and mission and the other a fresher - who both brought a lot to us, with honesty and openness.
When I finally got home it was to find flowers and Maltesers waiting for me from my lovely Husband who thought I deserved a treat after all my hard work. And croissants in bed this morning AND he cooked dinner tonight. He might not surprise me very often but it's worth waiting for!