Inner Circle


Thursday, 17 March 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

The hard and hilarious belong together. Humour is born from suffering which is why comics are often genuinely funny and sad at the same time. When my son was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I stayed by his side for nine days and nights in hospital. It’s a tough thing for a little kid to figure out that the rest of his life will be a constant round of injections. It’s a tough thing for a parent. If I could have injected myself to make him live, I’d have done so with joy. I kept putting off facing the day when it would be me giving the injections. One day after witnessing a nurse with little sensitivity and in a hurry, inject my boy, I thought to myself, “I could hardly do a worse job than this nurse”. The day came. Poor James had to endure a speech from his heartbroken Dad about how he’d inject himself if it would give life back to my darling six-year-old boy. Finally, I pinched the skin on his leg and pushed the needle into his leg. I pushed the plunger all the way in. Finally, I withdrew the needle and threw my arms around my boy – stabbing him in the back! I was trying to be the best father that I could be and I just mucked it all up. James just knew and in due course when there were no needles in sight, we sat together for a long time with our arms around each other. We were together.

In a funeral for one of our dear visitors this week, a declaration was made that is not often heard in a church. We were told that our dear visitor would proudly say, “I’m a whore! Hallelujah!” This story was received without judgement. We didn’t have to debate the good or evil of sex work. What we knew is that we loved this person no matter what. We heard how a precious woman had nothing but was grateful to call one part of the footpath in Woolloomooloo her bedroom, and another near area, her lounge room. We saw in front of our faces that those who have nothing are the most generous people of all. We heard constant expressions of gratitude for sex work that provided enough for food, clothing and enough drugs to make life bearable. If it was our mission to “fix”, this funeral would have caused no end of heartache and no doubt lead to some finger waving and moralising. Instead, a crowd of about 90 of us sat, together. We were able to see the beautiful and be thankful for a woman who showed us all how to live a life of grace. I’ll endure the moral dilemmas any day for the privilege of loving some who are generally pushed aside and rarely the object of love and admiration.

Earlier this week a man made an appointment for coffee and nominated a café that was an inconveniently long walk from Wayside. I know the man to be intelligent and interesting even though there is a dreadful struggle with mental illness. Sitting in the café for about five minutes, I was beginning to wonder if I was in the right place. Then my man arrived on a push bike. I didn’t know he rode a push bike. On his head, my man was wearing a saucepan. It was a rather large saucepan. I guess it’s hard to get a saucepan in your size. We sat at a table on the footpath and the head attire was not removed. Once I got over being more noticed by the passing crowds than is usual, we had a sophisticated discussion that covered many things. My friend is very well read and he follows current affairs and retains more detail than I would ever manage. His deepest concern on this visit was American politics. He asked, “What will we do if America elects a McPresident?” Thankfully the handle of the saucepan seemed to be annoying and it was removed to the footpath. I learned a lot this week about how American politics works. I also learned that I have a brother whose choice of head gear can be a little eccentric but, I have an intelligent, thoughtful, caring brother.

And I have an inner circle made up of many thousands of decent, caring human beings. My deepest thanks.


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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