Sunday, January 31, 2016

Atheist goes to adventist hospital class reunion.

Sydney Adventist hospital nursing class of 75 reunion. 

It was a mild and warm evening as I drove to the Stuart’s point adventist convention center on the north NSW coast (in Australia). Forty years had passed since we started our nursing course, more than ⅔ rds of my lifetime. Nothing had changed, everything had changed, I started, as did most of the class, as a pious adventist christian, now I am an atheist activist, how will this weekend go?

I was nervous, very very nervous, I had missed out on a lot of sleep worrying over this, I even broke out in shingles ( was it stress induced, unmasked? I don't know). On my own, all the more so without a “God”, long lonely drive up from Newcastle airport to the sleepy little coastal town. The convention center is a ways out of the tiny town, I arrived just after sunset … it was their sabbath, no longer mine. The lovely receptionist handed me the key to my rental cabin, no business allowed, payment would happen later, adventists don't do business on their sabbath. Hungry, back into town to buy fish and chips ( it was a fishing village after all ). They wouldn't approve I expect.  Also the center apparently bans alcohol on grounds. Handy tip : nice little tavern that sells take away drinks. I would see red that weekend, but only in a nice way, red in moderation shall we say.

    There they were, those same gorgeous wonderful people that I had started my first nursing course with. How many were still sdas? Did it matter? News was out, I’m an atheist, might have been my Darwin - evolution  T shirt or some other news on my various apparel. mostly met with ”oh”or simply ignored, not a problem ( yay, what a relief)! Goody, now we can just get along, and we did. Lots of hellos and hugs, all good, very good. The occasional person would start up with evolution is a lie, or let me pray for you or wouldn't you rather go to heaven etc  It did feel like a time warp, they were still them ( mostly) yet I wasn't the me that I was 40 years ago. Stood out like a sore toe I did. Secular was the flavour for the most part, how are you? Are you married? How are the kids? Has life been good to you? Plus there was coffee, phew, caffeine withdrawal off the cards.

In retrospect I needn't have worried, apart from the occasional prayer before a meal , said ahem on behalf of all of us … I had to announce “I abstain”, and my Evolution Shirt photobombs it was pretty darned good. A few came up to me and said they were still christians but no longer adventists, others said they weren't religious. Did “God”come between us? I don't think so.

Stuarts point convention centre  

Sydney adventist hospital

( first draft, i may or may not edit / addit)