Reflection from our Director of Mission

For what am I grateful?Colin Keogh

Christmas is often a time for giving. I know too that I will be on the receiving end of a gift or two as well.  Will I be a grateful and gracious recipient?  I have to create a space and an intention to be that recipient.

So what am I grateful for?

My family and I recently turned to the task of decorating the Christmas tree. I remember as a small boy accompanying my older brother to the wilds of some abandoned scrub to cut down an innocent pine tree to drag home for a Christmas tree. But times were different in the 1950s and Perth was literally surrounded by pine plantations. We were naughty.

Recently, some of my children gathered on the weekend to decorate our Christmas tree. We had to locate the tree box and the other boxes of tinsel and baubles carefully packed away earlier this year. Soon the place was a mess as all the material lay on the furniture and the floors. It was a good mess and this was a happy day.

There was considerable story-telling and reminiscences about Christmases past. There was problem solving at the proper order of construction and how the best effects were to be achieved. There was lots of laughter about personal preferences and which nativity set to use and why we had several nativity sets in the first place!

I was grateful for the family coming together to share this task; for the memories and bond that exists within the family. These are the small customs that build traditions within families and they are the strands that join the members to each other.

I was grateful that in this country we are free to celebrate our family and religious traditions in peace without disturbing the sensibilities and prejudices of others.

Many families, including some of my family, will travel to other places for holidays, relaxation and adventure. I am grateful for the freedom of movement that makes it possible for all of us to travel as we please. How blessed we are that within Australia we can go anywhere without needing passports, permissions and checkpoints.

I am more than confident that despite the heat of summer, the electricity will work, the water supply is secure, and the public transport system will operate as expected. All without a fuss.

I am also confident that when I am asked to take a breath test by a young police constable, that the process will be respectful, and within standards expected of our police force.  I am grateful that our public systems are not corrupt and enjoy the support of the people they serve.

I am grateful that we have, in most cases, a civil, polite and service oriented public service.

At work, I am grateful for being in a place where my fellow caregivers are patient focussed, are friendly to one another and are dedicated and professional. I mostly notice how much they care.

I am grateful for the work of ministry and the chance to touch the lives of others.

I am grateful too, for the many personal blessings and kindnesses that have been directed toward me. There are the friendly smiles, the question in the corridor, the kind words spoken about caregivers. Then there is the deep concern for the welfare of caregivers shown by managers, especially when times turn rough.

I am grateful to work in a supportive culture, where the welfare of the least is of concern and where compassion, respect, justice, hospitality and excellence are daily evident.

I have much to be grateful for and I have barely started……

Colin Keogh

Director of Mission


  1. Sarah-Jayne Powell says:

    Thank you Colin for your heartfelt reflection. All of us need to take a moment every now and then to reflect on what we are thankful for. Merry christmas to you and your family.

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