Inner Circle


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Dear Inner Circle,

Some of our poorest thinking comes from a confusion of language. It’s an error to make a noun from a word that should only be rightly used as a verb. “Marriage”, “love” and the like are words that when used as nouns, deny the reality they are meant to name. Marriage is a “doing” word. You can’t “have” a marriage, you can only “make” a marriage. “Marriage” or “faith” or “love” are activities in which we participate and they are never things that we can have or possess. Any attempt to “possess” only causes the reality that the word seeks to name, to evaporate like smoke. These words all name an activity that exists only when the feet are moving on a path, usually to a destiny unknown but certain. A marriage is said to exist when two people move toward a destiny together. They don’t have to know what the destiny is but they must believe it is there and bank their lives on it.

I went through a stage of wondering why anyone would ever get married. These days I rejoice when I see people who are willing to bank everything on a future with someone else, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer. A cultural fog has descended upon us because we’re inclined to feel our way to truth or because we think that love is entirely possessed in the present moment. Love is rarely stronger than when a newborn meets its parents for the first time. The child has no track record and little experience. The child is mostly potential, mostly promise and oh how love transforms and flourishes as new parents become protectors and defenders of this little promise. For the elderly there is still a need for a path forward and for this reason being part of a community is essential for life and for a good death. For those who live alone, it's so important to become part of a community that is on a path to somewhere. Love is a communal activity. It’s an activity that is loaded with learning and stretching, and heartache, tears and laughter.

A fellow whizzed passed me in the street just now. He put his hand out to shake mine on the way past. “Are you ok?” I asked. “Yeah, I’m in a hurry to find my sister,” he said. “Has she gone missing?” “Well no, but I haven’t seen her in many years.” In just a second or two this fellow expressed a longing for family that he’d buried for some time and that had now bubbled to the top and become an urgent matter. I know this bloke and have shared in some of the deep anguish and so tears were not far away as I recognised a significant move toward health today.

I fell in love yesterday. A young mum came to visit one of our staff members and she had with her, Joseph. Joseph was only a few months old with the biggest mop of brown hair I’ve seen on a baby. We had a conversation without words. It wasn’t easy to begin because his dad has no hair and no beard, like I do, but we got talking and soon he recognised me as a vaguely loving creature and I recognised him as a unique gift to the world. Joseph and I gazed at each other. He saw people going in and out of our Op Shop and he thought it was pretty funny. I got the joke and we laughed together. Like all sacred moments this ended by urgent practical needs. As I put him back in his pram and he expressed his disgust, we were still together. His adorable mum was hungry and needed to spend time with her friend but Joseph and I were not amused. I may never see Joseph again but I’m a different man for having met him. I saw not only a baby but something of the man he will become. I shared something of what his father and grandfather must see when they look at him. I have something that I didn’t have before I met Joseph. I can’t name it but it’s with me today and it wasn’t with me before I met him. The power of presence.

A few years ago, Rob was a drunk and a street dweller. Over the years we’ve witnessed a transformation in Rob that is nothing short of astounding. The drinking stopped and eventually Rob found a good job and set himself up in a comfortable flat. There has been much water under the bridge since this turn around. There have been many trials and much heartache along the way but none of these things has brought Rob down. He has continued to be a man on a journey to life and he’s used all of his spare time to volunteer at Wayside and help others along the way. I’m proud to announce that Rob is now on staff here at Wayside. He’s our Community Educator and speaks to corporate groups and schools to raise awareness about Wayside and the issues facing people in our community. Rob’s also doing something we’re calling “Rob’s Tours”. Rob is leading small groups around the nooks and crannies of Kings Cross in the evenings, sharing his own experiences of homelessness and addiction to provide people with a rare insight into life on the streets. If you take a tour with Rob, you’ll see a side of Sydney that you’ll never see any other way and you’ll hear stories that couldn’t be made up. Go on a tour and get this most unique opportunity to hear and see the streets of Sydney with a man who knows them intimately. You can book your place in a tour here.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,

Rev Graham Long

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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