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Eyes Wide Open

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Dear Inner Circle,

There’s a bit of a trend that has emerged in reality shows that masquerade as “Love Shows” – where impossibly attractive people “looking for love” are randomly paired up and seemingly find “love” immediately. Then the drama unfolds, when they really “get to know” the other person and the spark fades. Could anything be further from real love? In a culture that boldly proclaims that “Love is Blind” I call BS. The contestants are sleepwalking in some fantasy land and I fear we are allowing this to seep into our hearts a little too uncritically. There is nothing more clear-sighted than love. It is wide awake and sees beyond the illusion and outward appearances, and with all of its blemishes, goes straight to the heart.​

The call to love is a call to wake up. It is much easier to be asleep, and in illusion, but it ultimately brings untold pain and suffering. Now imagine a show that could demonstrate the heartache, the grief, and the tears, embraced for the sake of love. Now that would be true reality TV. Far from dreaming, a parent who is learning to love their actual child as they are, rather than the parent’s idea of the ideal child, is living in the opposite of a dream. That child is calling the parent to life at its inconvenient best. A partner rebukes another because they see the one they love, lulled to sleep by a busy career. It’s tough, it’s disillusioning, but it’s real love.

The gift of sight can also begin in the acknowledgement of one’s blindness. A few weeks back I wrote about being present with someone in their final moments. This week I was invited once more to hallowed ground. The knowledge that life is nearly over often squeezes away all the pretence and leaves distilled wisdom of the highest quality. But for a few hours a dying man regaled me with the most far-fetched tales I’ve ever heard. What a moment to try and spin a story. I was initially disappointed. I was expecting the poignancy of the parting moment. It was hard to accept that someone would want to spend their last moments spinning a yarn. Suddenly it dawned on me that it was not my role to bring any expectations to this situation. Here I was in the presence of one of our countries great storytellers, and I was having the honour of being his final audience member. Once the scales fell from my eyes, we shared final moments full of raucous laughter. If I closed my eyes we weren’t holed up in a mouldy council flat, but his stories were worthy of being told in the front bar of any pub in the land, replete with the story of him fighting off a shark and crocodile at the same time that cost him a finger….that by a medical mystery managed to grow back. I realised that’s a legacy worth preserving even in the most serious of times.

Thanks for being part of our Inner Circle,

Jon

PS. Join us tonight at 7pm for a fun and philosophical Facebook Live session of Voices from the Heart, as I chat with ‘Grandpa’ Graham Long on how to ‘find’ yourself in 2021. Register at our Facebook event for a reminder here.

PPS. We have just launched our Annual Report for our last financial reporting period of July 2020 – March 2021. Read about the impact that you helped us achieve at waysidechapel.org.au/annual-report

Jon Owen

Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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