Thursday, 19 February 2015
Dear Inner Circle,
You can spend your life’s energy ‘puffing’ or ‘building’. Puffing is what happens when you don’t think the world pays you the honour appropriate to your achievements and abilities. It’s a bit like animals who seek to attract a mate or warn off an enemy. Puffing is an activity designed to make you look bigger or prettier than you think you are. I’ve met so many people in my life who spend every waking moment puffing; telling me how impressive they are and how all those around don’t quite seem to get the value of their contribution to the world. The funny thing is that each of these people were truly impressive and had they not spent so much time telling me about it, I would be truly in awe.
Building on the other hand is an activity that shifts the focus to another. It is wanting another to be all they can be for the sake of the common good. When puffing, my centre is firmly located in me. When building, my centre is located somewhere just outside of me; between me, and the other. I’m never more alive than when I’m building. It proves the old saying that, “to lose your life is to save it” or “Knowledge puffs up but love builds up”.
All of us are puffers and all or most of us are builders. Life becomes ever richer and more beautiful as we learn to puff less and build more. I am guilty of sometimes puffing. This year I truly thought that the Prime Minister was going to make me a Knight. I like the ring of, “Sir Graham”. I even bought a white horse and a suit of armour! Have you got any idea how hard it is to get in and out of a little car with a suit of armour on? That this honour went to Prince Phillip was a total shock. Caught in the act of puffing! Alas the memory of past stuff-ups brings reality home. Underneath my puffing behaviour is a desire to cover up my failures. There is a serious leak in my bubble of self-propaganda and to the extent that I know the futility of puffing, it’s a blessing. It can be all kinds of failures that make you want to puff up to divert attention – failed marriages, failed businesses, failed ideas. But if you can get friendly with your failures and you can see the leaks in your bubble as a mercy, it can free you to spend your energy building and not waste it puffing. And then on your deathbed, you will be surrounded by the people whose lives you spent building and your funeral will be filled with people who testify that they are more whole because of you.
Literally in the gutter this morning, I sat with a bloke who looked like he’d picked up $50 but dropped $100. “What’s up?” I asked. He told me that it was the worst day of his life. Recently he’d borrowed a lot of money to help a close mate out of a scrape. Circumstances unfolded in such a way that his mate has gone and he is left without friendship and with a substantial debt. He’s sleeping rough with no hope or plan except to move to another capital city. His dignity is so assaulted that he cares nothing even for his own appearance. I sat with him for about 30 minutes and told him at one stage that all I had for him was love, which wasn’t going to get his debt paid. I offered to help with some food and clothing and gave him the tiny bit of money that I had. I will remember the man’s name for a long time because we really met. He gave me a hug and said, “I’ve had worse”. I got into the gutter with a stranger and got out of it with a brother.
Wayside is organising a team for this year’s SMH Half Marathon in May. We’ve partnered with our friends at Vision PT Darlinghurst to provide training sessions. If you’re looking to get fit, make some new friends and raise a bit of money for Wayside, we’d love for your to join our team. Find our more here.
This is a great day! David Hicks has been completely cleared of all charges by the USA. I admire David for hanging in all these years and count it an honour to have been one of his friends and supporters.
Carrying Andrew and Myuran in our hearts.
Thanks for being part of our inner circle,
Rev Graham Long
CEO & Pastor
The Wayside Chapel
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Previous Inner Circles
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