Escape Rooms

Dear Inner Circle,

Often we simplify morality into concepts of doing ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – like the lolly we stole from a milk bar once and the guilt that haunts us to this day. Some philosophers have instead suggested that the first act of morality is attention – the genuine act of truly seeing someone. This can bring out of each of us the gifts we were all born into this world for. What we give our attention to, we tend to nurture, and growth occurs. This act occurs in pre-cognition, like when someone’s eyes light up at our presence. These micro-moments often elicit feelings where words fail. Words indeed create our worlds, but our attention can transform them.

The best part about Wayside is its essence – here, the only question anyone really cares about is, ‘Can you be yourself?’ We crave people who connect by looking into another’s eyes, learning their name and knowing that they take their coffee with a dash of milk and precisely 7 (not 6, not 8) sugars. This matters far more than any of the accomplishments or accolades achieved prior to that moment.

There is a new face in our community, someone who could really be doing anything or going anywhere with life after writing a series of wildly successful songs. Yet, he’s chosen to volunteer, taking breakfast orders at our community cafe. The other morning, I saw him deeply engaged in a conversation while attending to a cheese toastie order. Just at the point of service of the hot meal, one of his hits started playing on the radio, yet both were so locked into the conversation that they were oblivious to this. Being anywhere is being nowhere, and right there was an exchange of presence that filled the room with a fragrance of love. Often the magic that happens when love breaks through occurs when no one is watching. Bearing witness to it is a gift.As the days to Christmas shrink, for many of us our anxiety grows. For some, the thought of spending time with family ends up feeling more like being locked in an escape room and attempting to drink your way out of it. For many people in our community, it is the thought of not being factored into anyone’s plans at all that breaks their hearts. I often joke with others, don’t be miserable and alone on Christmas Day, come and be miserable with us!The magic of Wayside is in the everyday interactions, the shared moments, and the understanding that we’re all part of something bigger. Your generosity this Christmas helps us keep this magic alive


Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel

P.S Our shifts are full for vollies at our Christmas Day Street Party, but please still come down and celebrate with us, making your table the wildest and most filled with love.


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