Easter and Mother’s Day – reflections from women in our community

The women in our community have been an immense source of encouragement and joy for me since I commenced in my role as associate priest in January 2021. Thank you to you all!

Through worshipping, talking and listening with one another, praying, planning, working, caring for others, laughing and drinking coffee together, we have been companions ‘on the way’ in life and faith.

Their stories of serving the mission of our church and ‘mothering’ people in our community in many and varied ways go back years – decades even. Every week I hear new stories of how women have served our church and the wider community, recently and in days gone by, locally and in other places, as Christ’s hands and feet in our world. I have memories of my own mother taking Sunday School and youth groups, leading women’s groups, arranging fetes and fashion parades of home-made clothing (aka fundraising!), cooking, sewing, arranging flowers and a hundred other things to contribute to the life of the church. All this while she worked in her own profession. I learnt so much from her passionate example.

These stories inspire and encourage me to find my own way of serving, as I am, where I am, for this time. I’m reading Archbishop Rowan Williams little book Being Disciples (highly recommended!) and came across this quote which really speaks to us all, yet particularly women I think, as we can often underestimate who we are and what we have to offer, especially when we find ourselves at a time when we can no longer do what we once did:

“I am more than I realise, in the eyes of God.”

Simply by being who we are and sharing our lives with one another we can be a source of encouragement to others, and perhaps in ways we may never know.

Two women from our community have written this week to share something of themselves as an encouragement to others. Please read on to hear Marianne Harrison’s reflection on Holy Week and Easter, (thank you Marianne) and then from someone else about an experience of mothering.

Encapsulated in this beautiful piece are many of the real and raw emotions evoked when mothering children and young people and people we encounter in our daily lives. Thank you to our anonymous author for their insight.

Mother’s Day can be a day of mixed emotions or even none. As we gather for worship on Sunday we have tried to create a safe place for everyone to come and worship God and be together in safe and life-giving ways.

With every blessing as you ponder the ways you may be more than you realise in the eyes of God – and in the eyes of others in our community,

Marianne Harrison reflects on Easter …

I have been a member of Robina Anglican Church for many years and have to say Holy Week up to and including Easter has been a very enlightening time for me.

Yes! We did need Easter more than ever.

The early part of 2022 was challenging for me with health problems, and also losing my very Best Friend, Del Kolberg. Not having Del in my life has been difficult. It has been a very emotional time for many of us. I was looking forward to Holy Week, hoping I would find something meaningful to help me with my belief in Jesus Christ.

I have been very moved by all the Easter Services as I’d hoped, but it still came as a surprise to me that I would feel something deeper and more precious during these services.

I have been attending Church most of my life, but this Easter I discovered something more. For this I thank our ministry team for showing me the way.

A reflection on mothering from someone in our community

The homeless man and a mother’s heart

There’s a homeless man sitting in the park a few metres from me. Under the shelter, asleep in his fold-out camp chair. All his earthly belongings neatly piled into a shopping trolley beside him, covered by a tarp, ready for when he will be inevitably moved on by council officers, police or a family wanting to use the BBQ. He will no doubt be gone by the weekend.

It’s Thursday today. It has been raining. A lot. But he seems to own a Drizabone, incongruous with his social or financial status, perhaps a donation, perhaps a lucky find at an opshop. It is hanging up behind him, drying out. Just like the man.

I am here because I am waiting for my sixteen-year-old daughter to finish her therapy session. I like to sit here in this park by the Broadwater, looking at the boats, the houseboats, the high-rise buildings to my right not so much. The still grey-blue water calms me, the seagulls soaring into a murky grey-blue sky a suggestion of how far we can reach if we only try.

I hope her session is going well, that the counsellor is helping her deal with the ever-present anxiety that too often threatens to break as strong and as beautiful girl as God has ever put on this earth. I admit to a mother’s bias, but it is also true that she regularly has this impact on people, from their first encounter, and she does not even know it. I hope that she will one day believe it herself. I can’t convince her of it myself. Yet. My parental bias being too great.

For now, this is all I can do… take her to her session, pick her up, patiently wait while her emotions settle (stirred as they are by talking) and feed her lunch afterwards.
Because when I tell her about the homeless man, the one I could not help because I had not a dollar in cash on me and I did not wish to disturb him anyway, she will rage about the injustice and inequality and unfairness of the world. She will want to come back here and bring him some food or have a chat. If not today, then one day. But I already know, he will not be here next time.

When she crumbles, it is like watching one of those high-rise buildings implode. Beautiful glass and strong steel collapsing on itself. Usually without warning. I wish I could reach inside her and pluck out the shards of glass that cut her from the inside and stick them into me instead.

Or fold her up and put her back inside my body to keep her safe. Just like every mum when their child is hurting. Just like every parent I pray that she will feel better soon. God does not transfer her pain to me, although I feel it in deep inside my bones.

So, I ask God to make me stronger, better, so I can understand, so I know the right thing to say or do. And I try not to focus on what could happen if I fail. If we all fail. And I shudder to rid myself of the tears that spring to my eyes because I remember…. And I want to tell my friend that she did not fail when her beautiful boy just could not do it anymore, when his exhausted heart and mind gave in to the demons he could not shake off. He was fifteen.

I stand and shake my body out and bend and stretch because I have to go now, and I have to pull myself together and I don’t want to tell her what I have been thinking… it will make her sad.

The homeless man stirs. Possibly disturbed by the sound of my sobbing. Or maybe the sound of a seagull shrieking its goodbye as it soars into an impossibly bright blue tomorrow.