Thursday, 20 November 2014
Dear Inner Circle,
With a bit of luck, I thought my birthday might pass unnoticed this year. An astonishing outpouring of love lasted all day. Early in the morning on the phone I said to my granddaughter, (9 years old) “If I’m counting correctly, I think I’m turning 37 today”. She said, “Papa, if you count correctly you’ll find you’re turning 63 today”. “Gosh Georgie” I said, “You’ve become so smart I can’t trick you about anything anymore”. “Now you’ve said something right” she said.
At my age it is hard not to acknowledge the end is coming. This is so counter cultural that it’s difficult to discuss. I had people telling me all day how young I was and how a long life laid yet before me. People want duration, dependability and predictability. Our blindness on this matter does us no good. Life has a rhythm to it and we do better to go with the flow than fight it. I have never loved life more than I do today and yet the thought of the end comforts me and fills me with anticipation. I know its a bit primitive and naive to believe in heaven but when facing the end and with so little information, I’m happy with the primitive and the naive. I nurse a deep longing to throw my arms around my son again and this hope has loosened my grip on the many things we are inclined to hang on to, too tightly. I’ll love every minute between here and then but what a day that will be. I’m hoping there will be dancing at my funeral.
Under our magnolia tree out the front, people are able to sit in the shade and wait for a shower to become free, or buy a coffee for 50 cents or read the paper or just relax knowing the police will not ask them to move along because they look a bit shabby. Yesterday I sat with the crowd for a bit. The older lady next to me told me she was terminal. The lady beside her lifted her shirt and insisted that I see that under each arm she had a cluster of boils. She must have been in agony. The bloke next to her told me that his affairs are handled by the Protective Commissioner and so decisions that most people would make in 2 minutes, for him could take a week and multiple phone calls every day. There were some younger people waiting for showers. One young woman was trying to teach a puppy how to sit on command. There were probably a dozen of us sitting together when a man yelled, “Oh no”. He turned to show me that a pigeon had just left evidence of his diarrhoea on his arm. “That’s funny” I said. “I just heard two pigeons talking and one had said, ‘Did you see Rob sitting over there?’ and the other pigeon replied, ‘Yes, I just spotted him.’” It was a lame Dad joke I know, but it turned the whole mood of the crowd around. What had been a fairly serious and heavily burdened moment, broke into childish hilarity. While Rob went to clean his arm, about six people decided it was the moment to tell me their favourite joke. Most of the jokes were quite “blue” and eventually I stood up and said, “This party is getting rough and I better go before you lot corrupt me”. There were some high fives because the crowd thought of my corruption as an achievement and a funny moment in itself. It was a moment of grace.
I’m pleased to tell you that we’ve added Kylie Kwong to our distinguished collection of Ambassadors. Kylie is opening a new restaurant in Potts Point in mid December and if you visit and order anything that has honey as an ingredient, you will be tasting the produce from our own rooftop. She will be on our rooftop and even in the kitchen sometimes working towards our mission of creating a community of no 'us and them'.
How fast has this year gone? Every year at this time I think someone has pressed the fast forward button. It’s been a fabulous year but it is my duty to remind you that Christmas is just around the corner. The best Street Party in the country will happen again this year in front of our building on Christmas Day. We’re offering the voluntary roles for that day to our own volunteers first and then throwing registrations open to the general public at 9am on Monday, December 1 here . I have to warn you that we filled all positions in under a minute last year! Again we’re providing you with the opportunity to ‘Donate a Plate’ to ensure people who have done it tough this year can enjoy a proper Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. Donate a plate here. We’ve also got Wayside Christmas cards available this year - a special thanks to Reg Mombassa for providing the artwork. All proceeds from these cards go back into Wayside to support our people and programs. You can buy a bundle of 10 here.
What a cracka of a year we’ve had at Wayside. As I come to terms with the speed at which life passes, I’m filled with gratitude for all that 2014 has brought us.
It wouldn’t have been such a year without you, our inner circle. Thank you!
CEO & Pastor
The Wayside Chapel
Want to receive the Inner Circle directly into your inbox every Thursday? Sign up here.
Be sure to follow Graham on Twitter if you have an account; @waysidepastor
Previous Inner Circles
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