Inner Circle


Thursday, 9 June 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

The most adorable three-year-old in the world was playing with my phone yesterday. She asked if I could find some pictures of Grandma. I started flicking through the photos on my phone and we came across one where I was wearing my alb and stole at a wedding. This dear little girl had never seen me dressed this way and it startled her a bit. “Ooh! Are you Captain Feathersword?” she asked.

It’s not hard to resent the phone at times and yet it often ushers me into the most important moments. A man called me this morning from his hospital bed. “This is it Graham, I’ve had enough”. He spends three days of every week undergoing dialysis. While his life is absorbed with this never ending exercise to stay alive, his wife has left him, and his children have been removed from his care. He told me that he can’t fight all of these battles and be chained to a dialysis machine for half of his life. “How long will you live if you stop this treatment?” I asked. I could hear that he must be in the presence of some medical people and they prompted him to give the answer, “days”. I so get it. I don’t judge this bloke. I’m not sure what I’d do in his situation and I offer no judgement. If he goes, I’ll be at his bedside as he passes. I think he’s had enough and I respect his choice.

Here is a cracker of a story about my first phone call today. Some of you knew “Gazza” either in person or through some of the stories I’ve told over the years. I first met Gazza when he stopped me in the doorway soon after my son died and gave me a kiss on the cheek and whispered in my ear, “That was from your son”. Gazza often talked to me of his own daughter whom he had not seen since she was a little girl. He loved her deeply but so hated the idea of conflict that he thought it better for her that he stay away until she was old enough to meet him without family complications. He decided to write a book to his little girl. With the help of some beautiful Wayside volunteers, he wrote about how much he loved her and wrote many stories of the precious times they’d shared together. Gazza died suddenly, and in spite of our best efforts, we couldn’t find his daughter. She called me today. She had just found out about the death of her father and was desperate to find someone with connection to her Dad. I told her about the many conversations her Dad and I had shared about her. I told her that he had written her a book and that I had plenty of photos to share with her too. As it happens, her mother had also died and this connection meant the world to her. The phone call finished with sobs of sadness and joy all mixed together. Thank God she tracked me down and that our wonderful staff kept those precious documents.

I’m just off the phone again now from another difficult call. A woman whom I don’t know called to say that her brother’s daughter had just completed suicide and she wanted me to call her brother. I don’t know the woman and I certainly don’t know her brother. I worry that sometimes people think I’ve got some magic that I just don’t have. If I was with the man, mere presence might help, but what could a phone call do? I called anyway. I had a conversation with a beautiful man breaking his heart. Like all parents, he was haunted because he thought there must have been something he could have done to prevent this day. He was sad and powerless. Luckily I get sad and powerless too. He had no expectation of any magic words. I couldn’t “do” anything for this bloke but we were two fathers together for a little while just now.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Donate to Wayside's Winter Appeal here.

Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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