Just like life, death is an ever-present possibility. This week we received news that three of our regulars have died. One was a larger-than-life cowboy from Scotland (let that sink in for a moment) who was a gentle giant; he always offered a kind word and was quick to share a laugh out loud. He stoically battled cancer for years but never complained once. This week our chapel was lit up with yellow tulips as we honoured his life and legacy.
There is nothing quite so heartbreaking as sitting with a family deep in their grief at the loss of a loved one. Seeing the depths of despair that many are plunged into when the financial implications of the funeral costs become apparent makes the blood boil. There are some wonderful funeral operators out there but sadly they are the minority and many fleece people who are in an extremely vulnerable state. As I watched the honour and dignity of a royal funeral, it was hard not to contrast the extravagance of it with the way we have to sometimes hold pauper’s funerals for people who, whilst the world didn’t recognise it, were angels in disguise.
A few years back a local social worker with a heart of gold used to let a bunch of us at Wayside know when a body was in the morgue and no family had come forward for them. Quickly a van full of people from Wayside would be dispatched and snuck into the morgue where they would surround the body and give them the dignity of a farewell. This group would gather to claim them in death as they claimed them in life, as one of us who was known and well-loved. The group once farewelled a man who would regularly share the shirt off his back, in ways that weren’t a metaphor, as it was all that he had left to give. To have really known him was to be in the presence of true royalty.
Thanks for embracing life by the Wayside our precious Inner Circle,
PS. If you are interested in challenging your pre-conceptions about life, there are still a few tickets left for our ‘Gutter Philosophy’ session next Wednesday 28 April at Wayside Chapel Bondi where our much-loved Pastor Emeritus (aka Grandfather), Rev Graham Long, will be leading an intimate discussion about the teachings of Aristotle. Buy your tickets here.
Pastor & CEO