Inner Circle


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

None of us ever, “arrive”. Life is fluid and we either grow or diminish. Our lives are either opening up or closing down. At Wayside, we recognise a life closing down when the driving question is, “What can you give me?” There is a closely related question, “How much can I get for the least?” and you don’t have to be homeless to be driven by that question. At times for all of us, life is closing down, small things seem to loom large while important issues become invisible. At times, hopefully for all of us, our lives open up. It’s always a surprise and eventually a delight. At Wayside, we can’t make anyone suddenly want to live. The best we can do is to be awake so that we see what we’ve been looking at all day. We have no secret and we are suspicious of all who claim simple answers or any kind of magic. We know however that when a life begins to open up, the driving question shifts to become, “How can I help?” One of the special honours about working at Wayside is the number of people we meet, some rough sleepers, some volunteers, some staff, some donors, who all come to us asking the question, “How can I help?”

One of our staff members told me how he’d been through a chapter of his life where small things were beginning to dominate his thinking and life. I first met this bloke as a rough sleeper. He’s a big bloke and when he was in the grip of alcohol, he was one of our more dangerous visitors. We’ve travelled together for a few years now and we’ve witnessed both amazing growth and, from time to time, a relapse into old habits. He’s doing so well; he’s doing a fantastic job and living in his precious little unit near Wayside. Recently he told me of growing tension with a neighbour. His neighbour objected to his use of his small BBQ on his balcony. Tension has been building and complaints have been made. Recently, every time he cooks, his neighbour has been taking photos and videos as evidence of the annoying smoke that is generated. “I’m within my rights”, “This is my balcony”, “Outdoor cooking is my culture” and similar 'me', 'my' statements bore witness to life ebbing away for this bloke and no doubt for his neighbour. Things escalated to the point last weekend where our man felt desperate and looked to make contact with me or his counsellor yet both of us were out of town and he didn’t want to interrupt. He knew he had to do something and he said that he just tried to imagine that he was talking with me. Finally, he knocked on his neighbour’s door and said, “I want to be a good neighbour and if that means I never cook outside, well, so be it.” His neighbour burst into tears. She feared for her safety and didn’t expect a vulnerable man, standing in her doorway, looking to heal the hurt. I said to my brother, “Mate, you gave ground!” “And there is more of me now,” he said. “What’s going on for you?” I asked. “I’m growing up” he said.

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia, came to Wayside last week to launch our book. My grandchildren took a day off school to attend the event and I might have promised that the PM would take a selfie with them. After he officially launched the book and before his minders whisked him away, I said, “If you took a ‘selfie’ with my granddaughters, you’d make News Time at Vardy’s Road Public School”. The PM said, “What could be more important?” He got on one knee and took a photo with my precious girls. I’m pleased to tell you that the book is a hit with lots of people buying multiple copies to give as presents. We are quite proud of this project. It’s a book that argues for nothing. It’s a book that has no interest in your belief system. It is a book that knows that love cannot be reduced to a set of cognitive propositions. Rather we know that love can only be, “done”. The book shows kindness, “done”. I think if you ponder it slowly enough, there is a good chance that the kindness and love to which our book bears witness, can be caught. You can get your own copy here.

Can you believe it’s almost December 2016? Before my Mum died, my sister tried to tell her how old she was. “Mum,” she said, “You know you’re 91 years old?’ “Oooo” Mum said, “How did that happen?” It’s not a silly question is it.

Thanks for being part of this inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


17 November: On Our Best Behaviour For a Day

10 November: A Seismic Shift

3 November: Outcomes by Accident

27 October: Wow! Look How Far You've Come

20 October: Moving Toward Our Destiny

13 October: A Tribute

06 October: Risk and Sacrifice

29 September: Wisdom in Unconventional Places

22 September: It's What We Do at Wayside

15 September: The Joy of Being Wrong

8 September: Turning Toward Love

1 September: The Power of Weakness

25 August: Words as weapons

18 August: Wattle become of us

11 August: Precious and fragile

4 August: A wave from Wayside

28 July: Understanding bedlam

21 July: Time for some straight talking

14 July: Holy ground

7 July: Sowing in tears, reaping with shouts of joy

30 June: A bit of banter about Bondi

23 June: My cup runneth over

16 June: Injecting some joy

9 June: At the end of the line

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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