Inner Circle


Thursday, 13 April 2017

Dear Inner Circle,

All my life, I’ve nursed a special fear of needles. Never for a minute did I entertain the idea that I might put a needle into someone that I loved. My son became a diabetic when only six years old and while he was adjusting to the idea that only needles would keep him alive, I was adjusting to the idea that I’d have to learn how to give him injections. The day came when he was about to be discharged from hospital and I had to demonstrate that I could draw up insulin and inject it. I sat my little boy on a bench and gave him a long lecture about how, if I could only make him live by injecting into myself instead, that I would surely do it. It was no metaphor. After my longish lecture, I pushed the needle into his leg. After pushing the plunger, I withdrew the needle and threw my arms around my dear boy, stabbing him in the back. I thought I was the worst father in history.

Years later my daughter was wheeled out of an operating theatre to a bed where I was waiting for her. Initially she looked ok, but in just minutes, her face turned a sickly yellow with stark blue lines across her face, almost like a road map. I panicked and called for help. A nurse fetched a doctor who looked at my girl and proclaimed her to be “fine,” without even hesitating on his walk past her bed. I was both relieved, wanting to think the best of his professional judgement, and also horrified that he didn’t seem to understand that this was the loveliest little girl in the world, who in my view, ought not look like a road map.

At my son’s deathbed, I stood motionless in a pain that cannot be named. How I longed to jump into his bed and take his place. The ache of beholding his daughters, who I knew well could do without their grandfather but not without their father. This was no time for feeling anything partial. Every feeling, every part of me, was wholly engaged. It was no time for reason. There is no reason why a better man than me should lose his life when I had lived a relatively long and satisfying life already. There was no higher cause at work here. I kissed his unresponsive face and promised him that I would love his girls. Love does what love does.

So, this is Easter, and for a religious person, I have no appetite for most of the talk that takes place in this season. Talk of God ‘turning his back on this innocent one’; talk of the innocent one being, ‘God forsaken’; talk of God doing some kind of deal here. It makes me want to banish theologians to Manus Island without hope of return to Australia. If there is room on the island, I’d also send everyone who uses a leaf blower.

Love does what love does. Where you see a suffering and dying son, you also see a parent in unspeakable pain. Easter wasn’t a deal, it was a reveal. When as a 12-year-old I was being sexually abused and physically abused, God was doing what love does. His tears ran down the window of my bedroom and sometimes the divine tears filled the gutters and flooded the streets. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now. When I longed to jump into my son’s deathbed, I learned what love does. I would never choose to be free of the pain of love. A life that was comfortable, smooth and less loving, would not be life.

I wish you all an Easter where you remember that love may be free, but it is not cheap. I wish you a weekend where there is some room for poking fun at the power of power, which oddly enough, is shallow compared to the power of love. If all this Easter stuff means nothing but a long weekend, then I wish you a happy, safe and refreshing long weekend.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


13 April: Easter

6 April: Captured By A Face

30 March: I'm On Ice

23 March: Another Day At The Office

16 March: A Good Start To The Day

9 March: Permission To Be Human

2 March: Every Life Celebrated

23 February: Surprised By Joy

16 February: Wayside Isn't A Place, It's An Activity

9 February: Heavy With Meaning

2 February: The Danger of Stability

26 January: Australia Day

19 January: Wow

13 January: The Joy of Being Useless


22 December: Miracles in the Messy

15 December: A Season for Demons

8 December: Soul Restorer

1 December: Holy Ground

24 November: Opening Presence for Christmas

17 November: On Our Best Behaviour For a Day

10 November: A Seismic Shift

3 November: Outcomes by Accident

27 October: Wow! Look How Far You've Come

20 October: Moving Toward Our Destiny

13 October: A Tribute

06 October: Risk and Sacrifice

29 September: Wisdom in Unconventional Places

22 September: It's What We Do at Wayside

15 September: The Joy of Being Wrong

8 September: Turning Toward Love

1 September: The Power of Weakness

25 August: Words as weapons

18 August: Wattle become of us

11 August: Precious and fragile

4 August: A wave from Wayside

28 July: Understanding bedlam

21 July: Time for some straight talking

14 July: Holy ground

7 July: Sowing in tears, reaping with shouts of joy

30 June: A bit of banter about Bondi

23 June: My cup runneth over

16 June: Injecting some joy

9 June: At the end of the line

2 June: Lots of perspiration and a touch of inspiration

26 May: Swimming against the tide

19 May: Every 7 days but not weakly

12 May: I once was blind

5 May: A place to belong

28 April: Lest we forget

21 April: I've seen into the abyss

14 April: Colourful language

7 April: Poetic licence

31 March: Happy in the Cross

24 March: Easter

17 March: A party mix

10 March: The intimacy of everything

3 March: An unusual look

25 February: He ain't heavy

18 February: Tears of laughter and sadness

11 February: Wisdom is a tricky business

4 February: A wave from The Wayside Chapel

28 January: Some long distance loving

21 January: No time for judgement


17 December: Last note for 2015

10 December: Sanity Clause if coming to town

3 December: It's all about the presence

26 November: The joy of not knowing

19 November: The curse of perfectionism

12 November: To speak is to act

5 November: My cup runneth over

29 October: Prophet and loss

22 October: Finding yourself in a magical team

15 October: A silly question

8 October: Surprised by the joy

1 October: Being dead right

24 September: A day by the Wayside

17 September: It's a gold rush

10 September: The psychology of onions

3 September: Life comes from without

27 August: Surprised by the beautiful

20 August: Light shining through the cracks

13 August: A matter of balance

6 August: Recognising a gift

30 July: Your weakly note

23 July: 'A thing' from the Wayside

16 July: The future is calling

9 July: In love with some Dame

2 July: Better days ahead

25 June: Something funny, something beautiful

18 June: Seeing what's there

11 June: Amazing mates

4 June: There's a time and a place

28 May: The weight and the joy of being a neighbour

21 May: You're invited

14 May: Laughing, lying and loving

7 May: The awesome in the ordinary

30 April: Wayside light

23 April: Priceless gifts, freely given

16 April: Good news from the Wayside is great news

9 April: Awesome

2 April: Easter by the Wayside

26 March: Thankful for little things

19 March: A few minutes in the cross

12 March: Seeing what isn't there

5 March : A tour like no other

26 February: Tough love

19 February: Puffing or building

12 February: The two shall become two

5 February: Chest pains

29 January: Shear joy

22 January 2015: Fully alive

15 January 2015: Blessed interruptions

8 January 2015: A glimpse of glory


18 December 2014: Christmas hat in hand

11 December 2014: A little season of goodwill

4 December 2014: There was nothing silent about that night

27 November 2014: It's not about feeling better

20 November 2014: Gathering Moss

13 November 2014: Love the land, love the people

6 November 2014: The power of presence

30 October 2014: Paralysed by presence

23 October 2014: The joy of sight

16 October 2014: The best medicine

9 October 2014: Who would have guessed?

2 October 2014: There's no such thing as a terrorist

21 August: Saving souls

14 August: Squeaking out

7 August: A time for turning

31 July: You're okay

24 July: Happy tears

17 July: Let's aim higher

10 July: Gristle and good

3 July: The joy of not knowing

26 June: If not now, when? If not me, who?

12 June: Longing for riches

5 June: When you least expect it

22 May: Finding home

15 May: Flying

8 May: Tests, triumps and tissues

1 May: Skuse the French

24 April: Lifting the curtain

17 April: Collective love

10 April: Cardiac arrest

3 April: Awe struck

27 March: You're invited to something special

20 March: Rather a prohet than a loss

13 March: It's all happening at the wayside

6 March: Love makes all the difference

27 February: What goes around

20 February: The joy of being empty handed

13 February: Loving the growth spurts

6 February: Mighty glad to be back by the wayside

23 January: Some criminals have class

16 January: Wonderful surprises

9 January: Ready, set


19 December: Thanks for an awesome year

12 December: Mission and wishin'

5 December: The ups and downs and all is well

28 November: Kissed by the community

21 November: Our cup runneth over

14 November: A revelation from wayside

7 November: When excrement happens

31 October: I am therefore I think

24 October: We are surrounded by heroes

17 October: When you least suspect

26 September: A wayside wobbly

19 September: Knowing a gift

12 September: Advancing at the retreat

5 September: A little dose of good

29 August: Fighting with a feather

22 August: The boom is just beginning

15 August: True riches

8 August: Small is beautiful

1 August: Sensitive people miss all the best views

25 July: A whole lot going on at wayside

18 July: Kings Cross a place of courage

27 June: Holy ground

20 June: You cannot take what can only be given



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