Dear Inner Circle,
For those of us old enough to remember, the postal service was a precious mode of communication. Receiving an aerogram was met with a level of excitement for our family when phone calls were rare and cost the earth. Letters from the family overseas were precious, the handwriting was tiny and crept up over all the margins, and the messages would be shared, analysed and interpreted by all.
This mode of communication isn’t extinct. This is the time of year when I become “A Man of Letters”, most mornings my desk greets me with a pile of them. Some are from prisons, others from rehabs, many are from people who are isolated from family. But each of them are equally precious and yearning for connection. There is beauty in a handwritten note, where words are poured over and emotion is deeply invested into them. The letters all reveal an undercurrent of pain as life’s losses come sharply into focus in the run to Christmas. Those words match the expressions of the faces who turn to us in distress during this festive season. I have yet to meet someone for whom the loss of possessions comes anywhere close to the ache and grief of the loss of people from their lives. For them, Wayside Chapel is the only place where their frailty can be nestled within a loving community.
In the five years I have been here, there is one mother who writes every year with the same opening line, “How’s my son?” Her broken heart pours onto the page and breaks mine. Her son first arrived at Wayside not long after he ran away from home and ended up with a heavy addiction. My desk has no letter from her this year and I am not expecting one. Her “baby boy” is back thanks to the efforts of our workers who have loved her son in his darkest moments. He recently turned his life around and chose a path that has led him back home. We have so many stories of broken lives that can only be mended through love, and this is that time where our workers double down their efforts to support hearts that are breaking. We can do this only because of your support. It is this time of year, one of the loneliest and most difficult times for our community, where I ask you to meet our commitment for our visitors by donating to our Christmas Appeal. I ask this with trepidation, but also know that your generosity is essential to ensure we can be there for all people who have nowhere else to turn.
I’m reminded that everyone who walks through our doors is someone’s daughter or son. Let us share in the joy of that mother and please accept my thanks for the role you have played in helping people turn back towards life. Stories like these give us strength to keep on caring for the many who we will meet over this entire Christmas season and the new year ahead.
Thanks for being a recipient of this letter, our precious Inner Circle,
Pastor & CEO