Inner Circle


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Dear Inner Circle,

“I’m sick of being good enough to sleep with but not good enough to be with” said a young woman in my office yesterday. The words didn’t come from anger but from a profound brokenness. She told me that she’d been crying for three solid days and as soon as she stepped into my office, a new wave of grief hit so that every word was convulsed rather than said. A lover had just moved out and given a lecture about how he didn’t want to be, “in a relationship”. It became clear that the pain belonged not just to the events of this week but to the accumulated pain of ten years and at least five such unhappy endings. This young woman was perfectly groomed, in expensive looking clothes and had a pretty face. My son would have said she was, “hot” and not only so, her inner and outer beauty was stunning. Yet, she proclaimed herself to be the girl “that no one will love”.

Gosh the world has changed but I think it's a tougher world on women who long for stability and for children. When I was young, if you touched a girl’s bra strap, you were automatically engaged to be married. I was raised in a ridiculous, extreme culture but today I think we’re at another extreme and it’s a tough world. If I could coach young people today, I’d encourage them to say at the beginning of a relationship, “Slow up, this is not going to be easy! This is going to be expensive! This is going to cost time and energy and I expect you’ll gladly embrace the cost and want to tell the world of our love. You’re going to have to try hard to prove you’re a worthy mate.” When intimacy is easily won, it can be easily lost. A partner can opt out whenever it’s inconvenient and be confident that there will be another bus coming along in five minutes. Woo, I’m sounding like an old man. Speaking of old men, I noticed that ABC 702 were advertising the inner circle on their web page with the hashtag “#thedadyouneverhad”. Yet more proof these senior years can be the best.

Some of the boarding houses I’ve been to over the years are a better choice than the street, but only just. Tenants have a few more rights than they used to, but most are at the mercy of whoever it is that runs their boarding house. I’ve known of people who've been taken to hospital for a few days, only to return to find their belongings packed and on the footpath. One fellow who lives in a difficult boarding house approached me this week. He’s a good man who rarely whinges about his lot in life and often finds ways of encouraging those around him. He took me to one side to tell me that he wants to increase his regular donation to Wayside from $7 per month to $10 per month. He explained that it wasn’t much but it was the best he could do at this time. He melted me to the floor. I double checked that this was his will and told him that a 30% increase in donation makes him one of the most generous people I know. Before this conversation had finished, another man who lives in a different, equally difficult, boarding house approached the two of us and passed me $20. “I’d like to make this donation”. Standing within ear shot was a lovely fellow who lives in public housing who stepped up to our conversation and said, “Are we making donations? Here’s my $20.” If ever there were three men in the world who had a good excuse to look after themselves before they thought about looking after others, it was these three.

I walked around our building just now to get a bit of a feel for the day ahead. I found Guy, our Community Development Manager, showing six social workers from China around Wayside. Only one of the social workers could speak English and so this tour might win the prize for slowest tour of the year. I saw our Aboriginal Worker, Will, in a circle of aboriginal men on the footpath. I didn’t recognise any of the men but they were deep in conversation. I saw the morning rush for showers and undies was well under way and we had workers and volunteers getting this going, while other staff were strategically sitting among the morning crowd making sure that these were people to be met rather than problems to be solved. I saw the staff in our Day to Day Living program making arrangements for the days activities which include computers, sewing and gardening. The Youth team are busy doing breakfast for kids and there are a dozen or so people having coffee or breakfast in the Café. All this and the day is just beginning. I love this place and I love the people who give their lives here to serve others and make the world a better place; all of us working to create community with no ‘us and them’.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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