Thursday, 28 November 2013
Dear Inner Circle,
Some notes really pack a punch. On Facebook last week, a man who was homeless and used to be a regular feature at Wayside, wrote to tell me about how his loves his wife and about his full time job and how he’s developed a hobby that gives him life. His note finished by saying, “Thanks, Longy, I’m really alive now.” He couldn’t know how those words lifted me.
A while ago a woman who has lived through some dreadful times started to tell me how men were the cause of all that’s wrong in the world. “Everything that comes from their mouth is a lie, they are only interested in booze and bed. The world would be a lot better without any of them”. “Hang on a minute,” I said. “I’m a man”. She roused me. “You’re not a proper man, Graham.”
Last week the residents of the Horizon building in Darlinghurst threw a fundraiser for Wayside. As I walked into the Great Hall at SCEGGS, I was moved to tears to see the care that had been taken to set this place beautifully. If they had raised no money, it would have still been an inspiring act of community making. As it is, they made in the neighbourhood of $60,000 for Wayside on the night. That’s a good neighbourhood! That’s good neighbours! When I returned to Wayside the next day I found the group who look after our garden and our bees. You should have seen their faces when I told them that someone paid $4,000 for a jar of Wayside honey in an auction at the event. I saw recognition on their lovely faces that it was not about the honey and it was not about the money but rather it was an astonishing act of love and vote of confidence in what we do and in particular the way our people with long term mental health issues work in our garden and with our bees. Thanks to our neighbours at the Horizon building, particularly Di and her team. Thanks to Claudia Karvan and James Valentine and the small army of people who worked to make that night such a success.
Many appointments appear in my office as a surprise to me. People make appointments but I’m hopeless with names and even faces take me a while. A man sat in front of me and it took me a while to remember that I’d buried his father this year. He brought with him an employee and started by saying, “This is the best worker a boss ever had but he’s got a problem and he thinks he’ll be judged. I’ve come here because I promised him that I knew a place where he wouldn’t be judged.” I was glad of the confidence but a bit sorry that they’d had to drive for hours to my office when there are plenty of people around who could have helped. The younger man had an addiction and he was doing his best to fight it. This fairly tough bloke was in tears almost immediately as I asked him none of the questions he expected. He had no hobbies, no family, no community, no friends and nothing to look forward to. He thought I was going to talk to him about the need for discipline but I told him he was fighting to eliminate something instead of adding something. This brave and fine young man agreed to see a counsellor out where he lives and I hope to hear that he’s not only talking but acting to add some of the many things he needs to add to his life. This story reminds me to remind you all that people don’t need dreams. They need a destiny. A dream is located in the self. A destiny is located outside of the self and it requires the self to be moved in order for the destiny to be met. Destinies are only met when feet move. It doesn’t matter how this young fellow feels about being alienated from his family or how he feels about not learning anything or how he feels about having no friends. What matters is that he moves his feet to where he needs to be.
Thanks for being part of our Inner Circle,
PS. We're hosting a public tour of The Wayside Chapel next week and we'd love you to come. The tour is on Wednesday, 4 December from 5.30pm to 6.30pm. If you have an interest in Wayside, come along to learn about our history, see our new building and find out about the unique approach we take to support all members of the community. Email Guy Cooper to book a spot.
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
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