Errol Pike writes of … ‘A Most Fortunate Life’
Seventy-five years on and I continue to be blessed with a most fortunate life.
I was born a male from British antecedents.
I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and I am one of many proud citizens of this magnificent, naturally-endowed, multi-cultural country; one of the world’s safest, and most economically and politically stable countries.
I was born into a Christian family. My parents, siblings and extended family were close, loving and supportive.
I was born with a few natural gifts, which I have been able to develop – to a greater or lesser extent - for my benefit and for the benefit of others.
I was brought up in the Christian faith. It is the faith that I personally claimed relatively early in life. Ever since that day its precepts have stood me in very good stead. Denominationally, my faith-life has been a tad ecumenical. Especially, I owe much to the Salvation Army for the many and diverse opportunities it gave me and its Godly influence in my first few years of life and later in my adult years.
Between, when aged 5 to 15 years old, our family attended Baptist churches. In more recent years, Anglican worship and liturgy best speaks to my age and stage in life.
I hold to my faith to this day, though some elements of it rightly remain a Divine Mystery ….
…for now we see through a glass darkly; for now I know only in part, ….
I have never gone to bed hungry. I have always lived in a warm, comfortable home.
I have enjoyed good health and where and when needed, I have had quick access to very good health care and facilities.
I have never gone to war. I have lived in New Zealand in one of its most prolonged, peaceful periods.
I have had educational and study opportunities that only a minority of the world’s populace enjoy or have access to.
I have had employment all my working life. My work has given me many challenges and a few seriously stressful times; but also, opportunities that I would not have enjoyed otherwise. My occupations, especially in media for 25 years and then in the Christian charitable sector for 15 years, have given me satisfaction and fulfilment. Throughout, whether in my employment, or in the professional associations I have led or been part of, I was privileged to have worked in the company of some of the finest and most talented of men and women.
I have had a very happy marriage to an extraordinary woman, Jennifer, who means so much to me and whom I love dearly. She has always kept me grounded and honest. We are now in our 52nd year of married life. I have been warmly accepted into Jennifer’s extended family who have greatly enriched and broadened my life and my thinking.
Jennifer and I have two gifted children, a son and a daughter, of whom we are extraordinarily proud for a myriad of reasons. They themselves, with their spouses, have given us four of the most delightful grandchildren anyone could wish for - two young men and two young women whose lives are now bursting with positive potential.
Music, many genres of which I have grown to enjoy and appreciate - especially classical and choral - has been an integral part of my life from my earliest memories. On many occasions, music is the medium which has intensely heightened my sense of the spiritual.
Friendship is so vital to a fulfilling life. I still keep in contact with life-long friends from my early Auckland days. Jennifer and I also have close Wellington friends whom we have known for over five decades – all were originally part of our church family. We socialise regularly together and in recent years we have occasionally holidayed as a group to co-celebrate ‘significant birthdays’. I treasure such life-long friendships.
I have visited nearly every corner of my own country as well as travelling to more than twenty other countries, including Australia (‘crossing the ditch’ no less than fifty times!).
I have lived through the most progressive times our world has known in fields such as communications, science, technology, medicine, social change, theology and more. I have been privileged to take advantage of many of these advances.
I am, however, acutely aware that…
… from everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required…
Whether I have contributed sufficiently from the gifts I have been given is, thankfully, not my call.
My life has indeed been most fortunate. My sincere gratitude goes to the many people who, known or unknown to me, or whether knowingly or unknowingly by them, have made it so. I have been providentially privileged through the words, deeds and love of so many good and generous people.
My life has been and remains testament to the assurances given in this blessing:
‘The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
And be gracious unto you .…’
Thanks be to God.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. The above photo is the upper part from this portrait.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html