A Table Somewhere

Dear Inner Circle,

As soon as November 1st rolls around, I’m asked the same question, in a thousand different ways – “Will the Christmas Day Street Party be on this year?” In moments of rush, it is tempting to give a terse answer, pointing out that it has been on every year for decades and we won’t stop now. Being asked the question five times in a row the other morning in the cafe was almost enough to break me. My body language must have betrayed me because I was silently summoned to sit down by a visitor. She invited me with her eyes, which after years on and off the streets, are the only part of her that hint that her very wise soul is still so very young. She is a master at reading body language, and how to pick the subtle signs that things may be about to change. “Sit down please, you idiot!” she laughed. “You know, they’re not asking you if it’s on, they know that. What they’re really asking is, will there be somewhere for me this Christmas? Will someone be happy to see me? Will there be somewhere I can laugh and cry and dance like an idiot if I need to? That’s what they’re asking”.

Could there be anything more important than knowing that there is a table prepared and ready in your honour? If you would also like to join us at Kings Cross on Christmas Day, you are most welcome. There will be a place for you.

Another conversation outside on our decking had us in stitches, and the question was asked “If you could choose any superpower, what would you choose?” The answers came thick and fast, flying was a popular choice. Someone wanted invisibility and there was a moment’s hesitation that was broken with, “So, you’re either a creep or a thief then!” After the laughter died down the response silenced us again, “No, that’s not it at all, I want it for shame, and I wish I could just disappear.” Never seen a table of men fall so silent, so quickly, which I reckon must be some sort of angel’s way of pressing meaning into a moment, because no sooner do these opportunities occur as precious and fragile confessions, like the sun revealing some dust, they are all too quickly gone. The sublime is always hidden amidst the ridiculous by the Wayside.

As the doors opened for community lunch the group dispersed, and I was left at the table with a young man who had stayed behind, “Do you know what superpower I would want? The ability to heal because it’s heart breaking how many broken people there are and if we could heal each other it would make the world better.” He grasped my hand to reinforce the point, and we locked eyes and shared a smile. We don’t need to wish for that. Community possesses the power to heal, just knowing you’re loved, having a place you’re welcome and having a part to play heals broken hearts, no superpower required.

Thank you for being part of our precious Inner Circle.

Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel

P.S Nothing stands in the way of our Christmas Day Street Party, but we can always use more help. Please consider donating a plate for $27, so that no one goes hungry or is alone this Christmas.

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