Dear Inner Circle,

We do well to remember that making a judgment of a person’s life, is a bit like taking a single frame and calling it the whole movie. I suspect that if we could see the whole movie of anyone’s life, we wouldn’t judge them, or we wouldn’t judge them as harshly. So many of our relationships lack life and possibility because we relate only to what we can see. Imagine approaching each person with a sense of wonder! How did this person get to this spot? Who inflicted what upon this person, and how has that played a part in forming their present moment? Where is this person going? What are some of the possibilities for the ending of this movie? Relating only to what we see, not only makes a wrong judgement, but it narrows our own outlook on life. The wiser we become, the lonelier we get. Real wisdom resides in the wonder of every meeting.

Yesterday a young man invited me over to sit with him on the footpath. He is a sensitive, gentle but tortured soul who battles the bottle every day. We talked about the awesome burden and joy of being parents and others nearby soon joined the conversation. From the outside of our circle we must have made for quite a sight on the famous Kings Cross strip, somewhat huddled together, but still at safe distance, looking like we were carefully negotiating a street deal. However, the only thing being exchanged between us was hope and worry. We each became equally vulnerable to each other. The joy and gift of a conversation free of experts is a rare thing. There is a comforting phrase I use sometimes when conducting a service, “Where two or three gathered in My Name there I am in the midst”. The “name” is Love, and it is born where vulnerability finds a safe harbour. Such moments cannot be manufactured and each of us walked away with nothing fixed, even though somehow the world had changed. It’s presence that is life-changing, yet it can never be measured. I couldn’t think of a better place to mark my 2nd anniversary in this role than in that gutter with those friends.

*Content Warning* Lately we have seen an increase in the number of young people who are working in the sex trade. COVID-19 restrictions have not been good for this particular trade, but Wayside is a good place to come for breakfast after a long night’s work. The “earthy” conversations that take place at our breakfast can be rough, but roughly engaging and sometimes hilarious. This morning we were serving piping hot, just out of the oven, banana bread which delighted one of the girls, “Oh I love bananas!” she exclaimed, so all could hear. Quickly and crudely a young man nearby yelled, “Well love, I have a banana too”. Like a shot and with a stare that could stop traffic she replied, “Well darling, that’s something we both have in common.” You’ve gotta stay on your toes around here.

Thanks for being part of our Inner Circle,

Jon

PS. Last week I mentioned that we had three Community Service Announcements currently airing on SBS Television that feature the unique voices and beauty of our visitors. Here’s the second one featuring Lani, who has been visiting Wayside for over 40 years.

Jon Owen
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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