Dear Inner Circle,

Through some mighty act of nature, perhaps a massive wave, millions of fish were left on a beach. Stranded fish make for a distressing sight. Movements natural in the context of water, look pointless, desperate and wasteful on dry land.

One lone fool jumped onto the beach and threw as many as he could back into the ocean. Those who could see the whole beach, criticised the lone fool. “What impact do you think you can have against the size of this problem?” they said. The fool replied, “I’m making a big impact on this one,” as he threw one more into the water and watched it come to life and swim off to its fishy destiny.

Many had only judgement for the stranded fish. It seemed clear that they must have been swimming too close to the edge where they made themselves vulnerable to the volatile moods of the ocean.

The Minister for Fishy Affairs made an appearance at the beach. He made a stirring speech about the need for the fish to feel empowered. He suggested the fish be referred to as ‘customers’. The Opposition spokesperson for Fishy Affairs suggested that a ‘tranche’ be constructed. There seemed no benefit in such an action but clearly it gave some satisfaction use the word ‘tranche’ and others suggested that at least such thing could be measured and its social impact estimated.

There was a religious group that thought that so many fish stranded like this must be in the will of God. There was another group that thought that if God sent a wave to bring such suffering, he could send another wave to end it. The groups set up an interfaith dialogue and held their meetings well away from the fishy smell.

Some rather lovely people from the helping professions jumped in among the fish, identifying with their situation. They could feel the utter dislocation of being a fish out of water and understood the frustration and anger of the fish. Great insights were formed and profound reflections were pondered. Further meetings were organised.

The smarter breeds of fish began to believe that there was no ocean. They supposed the idea of ocean was a construction of fish, whose infantile longing was something of an embarrassment to the more intelligent breeds.

That lone fool was me, and the staff, volunteers and supporters of Wayside…and you, our priceless inner circle. We know that all our strength looks feeble against the giant cultural forces that render people lonely. We make no great claims except to say that we’ve made a massive impact on some and we’ve watched them head off to their destiny.

This is my last note after fourteen years of writing every week. I’m more grateful than I could tell you for your support in our foolish enterprise and I’m comforted and satisfied that we made a massive impact on some. I’m not leaving – just changing chairs. My voice may well appear at times next year. Love Jon, my successor. He’s the closest thing Australia has to Mother Theresa. His voice is a little different to mine but his heart is the same. I’ll be cheering for him and supporting him along with you in the days ahead.

Thank you all for everything, especially for being part of this inner circle,

Graham

PS On Sunday, 26 August at 2pm we will celebrate these last 14 years and anticipate the next 14 years with a fine party. You’ll hear more about this free event shortly but if you want to get in early and RSVP, you can do so here. I’d love to see you there.

PPS There are just two days left for us to reach the goal for our Winter Appeal and start the new financial year with confidence. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. Please give here

Rev Graham Long
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

revgrahamlong.com

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