Thursday, 27 November 2014
Dear Inner Circle,
One of the most patient people I’ve ever met has a habit of telling me everything they would say to all kinds of people if they had the courage. It’s a bit hilarious because there is little risk that she’ll actually dump on anyone because she is pathetically kind. Even so she always seems to live with the fear that her mouth will run out of control. This week she told me of someone who is habitually cranky even though they have wealth that is well out of the reach of most. She gave me a big dose of, “What she would have said”. I asked her, “How come you can say all of this stuff to me?” She replied, “You are like the inside of my car”. Her car is nothing flash but I trust that it’s a comfortable, safe place and so I expect I was given a compliment: I hope.
My daughter has become an official volunteer at Wayside. She stepped outside of her comfort zone and joined our Twilight Team this week. She spent her time manicuring nails. Most of her night was spent with a group of 14 year old girls. I’m so proud of our Twilight Team and I’m so proud of my daughter. We created this team only this year because we recognised that a whole new skill set and special level of patience was required at the end of the day, between 5pm and 8pm. At Twilight, those who’ve not found a bed for the night, aren’t going to find one. At Twilight, those who’ve spent the day fighting the medical system or bureaucracy in government and non government agencies, face the worst time of day. Social workers have gone home; agencies have closed and the world feels cold and empty. In this context we do some of our best work. Our people get along side. They encourage people to connect with one another. Activities such as music, painting, bingo, garden games, hand massages, make up sessions and the like become ways of bringing comfort and making connection. Maybe this doesn’t sound impressive but for me I could not be more awestruck if I was poised looking at the Grand Canyon. This is love and kindness dished in generous portions. And actually if you want to be part of this team, we have just advertised for a Vocational Activities Worker here and also a position with our Community Services team here.
I’d like to offer you an opportunity that cannot be offered anywhere else. A giant of a man, a man whose life has moved from street dweller to be an important part of this community as well as an important contributor to our entire society, is offering to take people on a tour of Sydney streets. This is a tour like no other and if you take it, you’ll never see our streets in the same way again. Rob Holt is taking people around the various spots where homeless people live and talking about his own journey of life on the streets. It’s a rare opportunity but for a time, Rob and one of our staff members are offering to guide small groups around to encounter that which is mostly hidden. You can find out more and book a place on a walk here.
Also in the category of “wow” or “bizarre but wow” or “only at Wayside” - yesterday about 30 young students from SCEGGS arrived in a bus and made their way to our Chapel. They were the school band and they gave a concert to all those visiting Wayside. Some people were so “wowed” that I reckon they held back a bit in case someone was going to charge for the pleasure. Others were not in the least bit shy. I couldn’t help but look into these beautiful faces and be blown away by the talent and beauty of this gift, given without reservation. Every one of these girls should have had a grandparent present to behold the AWEsome act that unfolded before us. Every beautiful face was the embodiment of a promise. Some girls were a little nervous, some were giving their music 100% of their attention and a few of them were just having a ball. I had the honour of being the grandparent to all of them for this occasion. I must be the luckiest man who ever lived.
A man perhaps in his twenties asked if he could speak with me. He said that he needed the support of someone who could understand how devastated he was to discover that while he did a brief stint in prison, his girlfriend was unfaithful to him. I said to him, “Mate, we met about a year ago and at the time you were showing off about how many women you had and how many of them were all having your babies at the same time!” He said, “Are you saying I should take a bit of my own medicine?” I said, “Savour the moment my friend. The hurt you are feeling is a small portion of what you have dished out to others without any thought for how they feel about it. If you can sit with this pain, you might recognise what has been in your face for a long time. Instead of comfort, you really need this pain and I hope it makes a better man of you.” Our mission is not about making people feel better; its about making them better people.
Thanks for being part of our inner circle,
CEO & Pastor
The Wayside Chapel
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Previous Inner Circles
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