This is a busy week, but despite that I am making time to go to the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at the Australian Embassy on Friday morning. If you don’t know what the Dawn Service is, I recommend you read my ANZAC Day post from last year, where I explain the way this Australian memorial day (and public holiday) is celebrated in Beijing.
This year ANZAC Day comes with terrible timing. That night I have a graduation I really want to be at, and early the next morning we start the annual youth conference – my last big youth event in Beijing. So yeah, not a convenient time to be getting up at 4am and heading into the city. But it’s important to me that I go to the Dawn Service one last time.
When talking about transition, and especially about leaving a place you’ve lived a long time, a common theme is the need to “say goodbye” – not just to people, but to places. I guess for me the Dawn Service falls under that category. It’s the one thing I’ve done during a decade in Beijing that was uniquely, set-apart, Australian. I love the quietness, the respect. I love the switch from solemnity to celebration over breakfast, and coffee with Bundy. I love the meaning inherent in that switch – in sharing both silence and fellowship.
And while I’ll be groaning when I get up in the morning, I know I’ll be glad I went.