– stories of faith and life ‘I love it that people of faith and of no faith tradition tell me they like my work. I don’t think I could have stayed in a conversation with the Christian faith tradition if I had not had the freedom to doubt and question.’ – Julie Perrin
‘Julie takes a tiny event– a note from her cleaner, an observed interaction with a solicitous bank teller – and spins it skilfully out into something profound. Her stories remind me that grace breaks through, constantly.’
– Clare Boyd Macrae, author The Whole Shebang and Off the Page
‘tantalizing and telling…they often admit Faith’s companion, Doubt.’
– Harriet Ziegler, reviewer Crosslight December 2016
Below are a couple of stories from Spinifex Blessing. The stories from Spinifex Blessing will form a part of my forthcoming book Tender, stories that lean into kindness
In Melbourne, on Sydney Road Brunswick, the traffic is stretched bumper to bumper. There is a taxi at the kerb outside the bank. As I enter through the glass doors a young man is walking towards me. His arm is outstretched as if to make a space ahead of him. With his other arm he is guiding a woman dressed in long flowing robes and hijab.
The young man looks sharp and confident, wearing the bank’s corporate dress code. As he shows his customer out through the glass doors into the street, there is something about the quality of his attention that captures mine. He is decorous, almost tender—not something I expect from a buff young bank teller.
As he and his customer pass me I catch a glimpse of the woman’s face. In the small section visible between the headscarf across her forehead and under her chin, her face is a mass of scarring. As the bank teller gently ushers the woman past I see that she has no nose, just two holes in her face. Her eyes are milky and appear blinded. Tall, erect and softly spoken, she is engaged in conversation with the bank lad and he leans his head closer so he can hear. They go out through the glass doors and the young man waits at the kerb while she shifts into the waiting taxi.
The small act of mutual respect I have just witnessed renders me teary in the bank foyer. The woman’s scarring is alarming. I wonder what searing cruelty or misadventure she may have met with. You cannot walk past unaffected.
Human cruelty and human kindness, they sit closely together. The bank teller carved out a space for the scarred woman to walk in. Her presence and energy called something out of him, and from other witnesses to their conversation. What will it take before we can make space on our shores for people who carry their scars less visibly?
The Pearl– the day I came home to a back of an envelope resignation note from our erstwhile house cleaner…
Some years ago I came home to find a note on the kitchen bench from the woman who came to clean my house. Give it a listen below.
I am very sorry to tell you that I have developed an intense dislike for cleaning and I can’t bear to do it any longer. I do apologise but I have to stop, I hope you will forgive me for leaving at short notice.
The note went straight to my heart. It takes a lot of courage to leave something in this way and I knew it would cost her. Grateful for her honesty, I dropped a card in her letterbox wishing her well…
Listen to the whole story on Soundcloud below.
To purchase Spinifex Blessing visit CTM Resourcing – $15 per 3 volume set plus postage. Please be aware that the 24 stories in Spinifex Blessing will be incorporated into the 60 stories in Julie’s new collection Tender, stories that lean into kindness which will be launched in May 2019.