Inner Circle

 

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Dear Inner Circle,


David Wenham called in the other day. What an honour to have such a friend. David has been an ambassador for Wayside for a long time. Watching this humble man has taught me that the life of a “star” is 99% hard work. Actors practice their craft to the best of their ability but are always at the mercy of so many other professionals as well as the whim of public taste. There are few who can pay the price and even fewer who succeed. David’s success is a testament to a good man with a giant work ethic and to an extraordinary wife and family. If you’re interested, look up his episode of “Who Do You Think You Are” and you will see that David’s goodness was seeded and nurtured from the deep pool of virtue that was his father. On the very same day I had an email exchange with Claudia Karvan, another humble, grounded human being and another Wayside ambassador. How blessed are we? To top off an extraordinary day, I had a visit from Toni Lamond. Golly gosh, if you don’t know who Toni is, you should google her. Toni was on TV most nights when I was in school. She is Australian entertainment royalty. Toni was born into the world of entertainment and her whole life she’s walked an interesting and often difficult path, always making sure that someone’s show went on, no matter the cost to her personally. Talking with Toni for just minutes is a rare honour. In her late age and with plenty of health issues, she’s still working!


On Monday, we bade farewell to one of our all-time characters. Our dear friend had been a feature of Kings Cross for longer than anyone could remember. It seems he’s been around here since the 1960s. We know he had a mother from a few obscure stories but in all these years he’s been a ‘loner’. Wayside has been his family. The dear man through all these years preferred to live on the streets. He had certain routines that made him predictable, although none of his routines involved showering. We tried for years to get him into a shower and often times, we deliberately burned toast to overcome the odour that our dear friend brought with him into the café. He never had any identification and he had no ability or desire to negotiate the modern world. The staff at the Commonwealth Bank at Potts Point exercised extraordinary kindness over many years. He appeared every morning at 9:30am at the bank and the staff there issued him with $20. It was all the money he needed to live adequately. His food as well as his family came from Wayside. A generous soul, always shared what he had with others. He loved our volunteers but had a preference for women with red hair. He offered fashion advice from time to time. He died with $50,000 in the bank and I’m so grateful that other street dwellers only ever thought his net worth was $20. When I first met this fellow, he asked, “Should I call you ‘Minister’ or ‘Reverend’ or ‘Father’ or ‘Pastor’?” I said, “Why don’t you call me, Graham?” He seemed relieved and said, “OK, thanks Father!” On his death bed, he stipulated that we were ‘not to make a fuss’ so we ran a “No Fuss Farewell”. We just gathered and told stories of fun and suffering and love and we realised that we were all better off because this dear man had been part of our lives.


Three funerals this week! Yesterday we conducted the funeral of another long-time Kings Cross character. His Mum told us how as a little boy, he dedicated his life to doing everything he was told not to do. From the start, he was going to live life his own way. He said to his Mum once, “I hope to never have a straight day in my life”. His dear Mum said, “To his credit and to his family’s heartache, he kept his word.” It was an extraordinary tribute from a mother’s heart whose love for her boy never wavered. The man had a son who stood with one hand on his father’s coffin and made a tribute that oozed with love and pain. He’d mostly not known his father but in recent years they had found each other and become great friends. One by one, our community stood to their feet and told of how they loved our friend. Eventually his older sister stood and said, “I had prepared a lot to say but I can’t say it. I worried for a long time that my brother was alone and miserable and I can see today that he loved and was loved and I want to thank all you people for being his family at times when it was too hard for us.”


Every day this week when I’ve gone to the café, I’ve found I don’t know a single face. There is such an influx of people at this time that our staff and volunteers are on their toes at “day one” with about 50 people at once. Some people seem to recognise me, too shy to say “Hi” while so many whose faces I’ve never seen, step forward with their hands out and a “Good morning Father.” So many stories, so much pain, so much hope, so much beauty. We are so lucky to walk this path.


Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Graham


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

www.revgrahamlong.com

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Previous Inner Circles

2017

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

2016

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

2015

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

2014

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

2013

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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