Angels with Muddy Feet

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Dear Inner Circle,

My nieces whom I deeply adore and desperately ache to hold again once the borders re-open are growing up way too quickly. When visiting I always stuff my pockets full of treats so when we arrive they often jump into my arms. Two of them have developed a delightful scam whereby one wraps her arms around my neck while the other one goes to work with her little hands grasping at my jacket pockets for their “present”. For them, this is the ultimate gift of love that nothing can beat. However, there are other gifts that have been born through this time for all of us. Bearing pain can be a truly redemptive act. It leads to wisdom, which ushers us into a new appreciation of time, not just a chronological procession, but as moments potentially suffused with life.

One such moment presented itself this week. A number that my phone didn’t recognise flashed across my screen and on the other end was a voice full of care and concern. She wanted me to hasten to the bedside of a man she had befriended years ago while doing her shopping, who was now in his final days of life. I was moved by her care and concern for him, and the lengths she was going to for him. She felt the need to start her sentences with “I’m no angel…” I had to interrupt and object as most angels I know possess no wings, but have hearts of gold and muddy feet from walking with others, just like her.

She met me by his bedside, where she had obviously been for some days. Her care, love and gentleness with him was breathtaking. He wanted to share his life story before he died even though he could barely speak. His body was wracked, contorted with pain and riddled with cancer, and he could only speak intermittently. His body was weaker than his keen mind and his carefully chosen words were heavy with meaning as he told a story of a full life now at its end. Eventually, he was exhausted from the effort, and put his hands together, beckoning me to pray. Together we placed our hands on his head and held each of his hands and I said a prayer over his deformed body. It was a precious moment. He collapsed into sleep, and as we left the room we both left different to when we entered, more full of life, having received a gift, which perhaps is best described as “presence” – which is just about as beautiful as it gets I reckon.

Thanks for being a part of our Inner Circle,


PS. Tune in tonight at 7pm to Voices from the Community Facebook Live Session as I lead a discussion on the importance of our young people becoming more connected to community. You’ll hear insights from Director of Wellbeing at St Catherine’s, Daisy Turnbull, Year 12 Student, Charlotte Nelson, and Wayside’s Community Educator, Amanda Perkins. If you are a parent, this is not one to miss! Sign up to our Facebook Event or simply visit our Facebook page tonight to watch.

Jon Owen

Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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