Thursday, 27 February 2014
Dear Inner Circle,
Nothing gives me more joy than to have someone try to explain to me how grace works. A lovely man whose life’s journey has been as tough as any that I have known, sat with me yesterday to share something of his journey back to life. He was a street dweller but today he holds quite a senior job. He had no money, no credit and no recent work history and so the jump back into the workforce was quite a daunting leap. He sat in our cafe one day pondering all that was before him when one of our angels put something in his pocket. It turned out to be a gift voucher for $200 so that he could go and buy some business shirts. Those shirts became something of a symbol of the goodness of the giver and of his massive life turn around.
The year that passed soon saw him put on so much weight that the shirts he treasured, no longer fit, but he kept them and liked to look at them. Recently he decided that it was wrong for him to hang on to the shirts when their value was really just sentimental. He lamented there will be someone in the world who would need them and be able to use them. After pondering this for some time, this week he gave the shirts to someone he knew could use them. “As I’m talking to you Graham, look at my arms, I’ve got goose bumps”. Last Saturday while volunteering at Wayside, someone walked into our front door here carrying a suit bag and asked for this man by name. Inside was six new business shirts, in his size. “This is how it works Graham. The more you give away, the more of you there is!”
In a particularly busy moment yesterday my phone rang. I shouldn’t have answered because someone was sitting in front of me and someone else was waiting at my door for the current interview to end. I answered because I was expecting an important call so I excused my bad manners and took the call. “Guess who” said the voice on the other line. “I have no idea in the world”. “Guess then” he repeated. “I’m sorry but I’m so busy today that I don’t have any time for games. Please tell me your name and how I can help.” By now I’m getting annoyed and seriously thinking about hanging up. “I once came from behind you in the cafe and put my hands over your eyes and said, "Guess who”. I have not the slightest recall of what must have been an endearing moment. He quickly told me his name and a bit of his story. Suddenly I remembered to whom this annoying voice belonged. My heart sank because I remembered a man so disempowered that to even ring me would have been an act of some courage. I have to confess that for a little while I thought I was too important to deal with someone like this. I’d lost my way. I was a prime example of a big wheel with an empty centre. I’m thankful for his courage and I’m grateful that he melted me yesterday and saved me from a day of impressive, driven, time poor, non salvation.
You can help Wayside in a big way without spending a cent. Everyone from Claudia Karvan to my own sister have been submitting photographs of themselves holding a Dick Smith Foods product. Dick is giving $1 million to charity and will allocate the money based on how many people send him photos holding his products. We could be allocated up to $50,000 if enough of you send him such a photo. Send your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to nominate The Wayside Chapel in your email as your preferred charity. Click here for more information.
There is a good hearted but quite mad man who has lived on the streets around here for longer than anyone can remember. Wayside is important to him for everything from food to company. Everyone loves him even though he rarely makes any sense. This morning while walking down the street, he spotted me and was clearly happy to see me. He held his can of coke high in the air as if he was about to propose a toast. “Here’s looking up your chooks,” he said. That was one of the most bizarre toasts I’ve ever heard, but never the less one of the warmest and I was pleased to share the moment with such a lovely old sausage.
So, thank you for being part of this inner circle and “here’s looking up your chooks”,
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
19 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