Daring Kindness

Dear Inner Circle,

We are only beginning now to reap what we have sowed as a society over many decades. It has happened slowly and so subtly that we barely even noticed. It happened when we removed our older generation from everyday family life, when we allowed unfiltered images to flood into the hearts of our youth, making them deeply uncomfortable with the bodies they inhabit, while we wasted precious time worrying about keeping up with the Joneses. Is it any wonder that the bitter fruits of loneliness have sprouted everywhere? There are moments in the midst of it all when it’s tempting to ask the question “What else did we expect?”

The good news is that while loneliness is now endemic, there is an antidote readily available when we choose to open the door to love and connection. The even better news is that we hold a radical power within us which we can all access to reclaim our existence. The word radical didn’t always mean ‘extreme’. In fact, quite the opposite. It’s original meaning is about getting back to ‘the root’ and reclaiming what is vital to life (and also, rejecting the rubbish).

Beyond the warmth and nourishing food that we provide at Wayside Chapel, our community is woven back together by the conversations, free from judgment (and sometimes free from logic), that flow around the cafe tables, and outside on the deck. This week people from all over Sydney, both the housed and the yet to be housed, joined together in unison as the Wayside Choir struck its first notes. From our little chapel, love emanated and spread into the hearts of all present. Over 50 people, either eating their first hot meal in days, or emerging from a regenerating shower into the community cafe, began to sway their heads in tune to what is truly the Wayside anthem, Lean On Me. I encourage you to experience the joy and pleasure of joining your voice with our community. Under the charismatic direction of our conductor, we meet every second Monday from 4-5.30pm, alternating between Kings Cross and Bondi. More singers are welcome with open arms.

There is a beautiful religious phrase that goes something like this, For those who have eyes to see, see, for those who ears to hear, listen. Never intended to be an ableist statement, it invites us to recognise the moment we are in, and not the one we wanted, for there is beauty and joy present within it. Small acts of daring kindness bring us into the moment, away from the horrors and fantasies ever present on our phones and encourage us to look up, towards the life that swirls around us. Radical acts present themselves when eye contact is shared, when a smile is offered, when an introduction is made. They all point to a love that moves us together towards a life without loneliness.

Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle,


Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel

P.S. As winter approaches, many people who have fallen by the Wayside are facing cold dark nights on the outside, looking in. You can help create a warm, open community where everyone belongs, by making a kind donation today. Donate here.

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