In 1999, I gleefully left my childhood home of Wollongong, NSW for the bright lights and sunshine of Brisbane, Queensland. I was 17, excited and ready for adventure.
I left behind a lifetime of friends and a handful of family.
I have returned a few times to visit friends (many of which have since left the ‘Gong for Sydney) and to see family.
My Grandmother died just week and I have had occasion to travel once more to that city wedged between the majestic green mountains and the expanse of the Pacific.
In all honesty, I thought this would be if not my last, certainly one of my last trips to Wollongong. I don’t have many close friends there and my family are at quite different phrases in life. My grandmother was my main relational connection to the city.
On the evening before my Grandmother’s funeral, I spent the most wonderful time with old family friends – their children – children I once babysat are now grown adults and most married!
Sitting around that sturdy table with beautiful, encouraging, faithful friends, I realised I still have many more trips to make back to the Gong. I realised once again that seeds of friendship, faith and love planted many seasons ago were only just flowing. Seedlings of the everyday had turned into a colourful garden!
I went to Wollongong for a funeral. To bury someone and say goodbye to someone very near and very special to me. When I left, I realised it was not the dead that I was leaving behind, but the living that I yearned to see again.
The picture above is the work of @tvidins on instagram. You can find this, and other beautiful pictures here