Maureen Hickling MSS featured in our August 2020 newsletter. Here is the full version of Maureen’s beautiful reflection, which had been originally shared as part of our 2019 MSS Chapter Gathering. Maureen wrote:
For more than 20 years now I have lived, moved and had my being, here in this place called Bribie Island. Each morning I rise before dawn, instinctively looking towards the East, to take in the newness and the colour of a brand new day in life. Though challenged daily by Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (‘ME’), I have accepted and embraced this debilitating illness and am committed to reach out in service to others with what I can, where I can and when I can. As a bearer of hope, I pray that this may be transformed into service, care and compassion, with some laughter, joy and happiness along the way. Having to live with ME has gifted me with opportunities for prayer, contemplation and reflection ~ all central to my life tapestry.
This year being our 75th Anniversary and my 40th since Incorporation, I sit at a small table with a few friends to sip tea and celebrate moments and memories that bring us to today. I am deeply grateful for the love and tenderness of friendships and the human journeys I have had the privilege to share in. All the while, feeling deeply the pain of separation from MSS at these very important times.
At the heart of mission for me is how Jesus worked with human hands, thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. This is a constant source of hope.
Reflecting on events, ventures, projects, and activities that have called me to respond, my day begins early with calls to isolated, elderly people in their homes. I make these calls friendly, kindly, respectfully and compassionately. This begins my Highways and Byways pathway daily. Pastoral care happens from the back seat of the Church of the Little Flower, also in the aisles at Woolies, on the foreshore and on the street where I live. Faces of homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, grief, sadness, struggle, illness, pain, joy, wonder and happiness present themselves daily.
Across the years I have had the privilege of journeying with some older folk, on their last earthly journey. These journeys call for great empathy and compassion and have been mutually enriching. The natural environment here calls for help and recognition ~ I’m involved in turtle monitoring, toad busting, pelican lobbying, sand dune restoration, beach protection and more. Photography reflects God’s magnificent creation; moments celebrating the wonders of nature shared through my card making. In small ways I am part of, contribute to and support the Community where I live. At times I am touched by the acknowledgement of those who express their appreciation and gratitude and who indeed value our MSS presence.
In reading the signs of the times, I believe that we all may be transformed by the power of the Gospel. Life around Bribie is changing at a great pace. Our Church Community is being challenged. Our once small island now is growing big and high and more. The environment is the first to suffer. Life itself continually challenges us all ~ some more than others.
As we grow up, we realise it is less important to have lots of friends and more important to have real ones. The smile on my face doesn’t mean my life is perfect. It means I appreciate what I have been blessed with and I choose to be happy. Tomorrow morning the sun will rise again, and in the evening will set beautifully and reflectively. Then the moon will rise and wander quietly across the darkness of the night, until the dawn comes again.
Gratitude fills my heart for our collective years of loving service and faithfulness to God’s call.
Photos courtesy Maureen Hickling MSS.