Thursday, 22 May 2014
Dear Inner Circle,
Late in the afternoon I walked into our cafe and sat next to a bloke with a lovely face. “You’re lucky you haven’t been around today,” he said. I innocently asked, “Why?”. His face filled with what could have been rage but I expect it was frustration, “We’re all lost don’t you know! Some of us don’t even know what we’re lost from, but we’re all lost.” I said, “Would it help if I had a coffee with you so that we could be lost together?” Thankfully he smiled and in the course of the next 20 minutes he unburdened many things that were weighing him down. I didn’t fix a thing and there was no magic in this meeting but I left the cafe knowing I’ve got a brother and I am sure he knew it too.
A homeless fellow was talking his way around the world this week and I confess I was barely listening until I saw what I thought was panic run over his face. “What’s up?” I asked. It was wild grief I saw on his face and he told me of how he’d lost his son, just a toddler. To find a bit of peace away from the mayhem of the cafe, we went into the chapel and sat in front of our altar. Our altar is made of rough wood and inside the altar is a wooden carving of a screaming Jesus. We sat for a bit and then I said, “I can’t get your little boy back but I can provide a home for your broken heart.” We talked about his little boy, using his name many times in our conversation. This man lives in a world where people are all busy trying to cope with their own dramas and there is no place for his broken heart to rest. For a time and in front of our screaming Jesus, our broken hearts could be and could find some peace. I didn’t fix anything but I walked out of the chapel and back into the world of tension and fighting over small things, knowing I’ve got another brother.
If people were problems for me to fix, I’d burn out in a day here. We’ve had a good day if people walk away having been met rather than worked on. Much of what we do could be summarised as, “Providing a home for your broken heart and a destiny for your feet”. We have no tricks and no special knowledge that gives people seven steps to success. Rather than manage broken hearts or fix them, we provide a home; a place where a broken heart can be and can make sense. Such a home permits no experts. We don’t encourage people to have a dream. Dreams are located in the self and are useless in that location. We encourage people to believe in a destiny. A destiny requires the feet to move. It requires people to go out with their whole self toward an unknown but wonderful destiny. It’s not the brain that overcomes addictions but the feet.
On the subject of “providing a home for broken hearts”, on Monday at 10.30am we are dedicating a new garden as a memorial garden at the front of our Op Shop. The garden will act as a place of remembrance for those who have lost their life by the wayside. People are invited to write the name of their loved one or, if more culturally sensitive, write a small phrase (such as ‘in my heart’ or ‘always remembered') and have it engraved on a pad lock that can be fixed to the fence of our front garden. We’ll have an engraver on site on Monday morning and you are most welcome to bring a lock and be part of this ceremony. There will be a small ceremony in our chapel at 10.30am and then we’ll head out to the new garden where we will lay some ashes to rest and fix some locks to the fence. Everyone if welcome to attend this event.
Every time a member of our fundraisng team tells me about an initiative we're organising that involves climbing a mountain or hill, I check whether there is an escalator available so that I might join. I found out today that there's no escalator up Heartbreak Hill in the City2Surf so I'll have to sit it out this year but I would love for you to join our team. We've partnered with our friends at Vision PT in Darlinghurst to form a City2Surf team. The trainers at Vision PT will provide a 9-week training program and organise a weekly group run on Wednesday evenings and in return we ask that you fundraise for Wayside. Training will start in the first week of June so if you're interested, please email Liz Osachuk to register or to find out more.
Last week my 7 year old granddaughter taught me to play, “yes, no, black, white”. It's a game where you have a conversation and try to trick the other person into saying one of those words. It was such fun to have this dear girl on my knee trying to trick me. I’d say, “OK are we ready to start the game?” to which she would reply, “Yes” and AHHHHHH I won. We played over and over and while she got better at the game I got to drink in this awesome little face and this wonderful person. Three days later, Robyn threatened to leave me if I didn’t stop playing the game.
Thanks for being part of our inner circle,
Rev. Graham Long
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel
Click here to listen to podcasts of past Inner Circle's, aired on ABC 702's 'Afternoons with James Valentine'
Be sure to follow Graham on Twitter if you have an account; @waysidepastor
Previous Inner Circles
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