Grounded in Love and Time

Dear Inner Circle,

In a world captivated by time-lapse photography, social media feeds and Hollywood movie endings, it’s easy to fall for the lie that the process of change can happen overnight. Yet, in real life, such instances are rare. We grow in the company of others who teach us that life is an ever-evolving, organic process, marked by seasons of growth and pruning, life, and death. The process of change is deeply relational, prompting us to consider, “Who is with me?” and “To what shall I change?” Our transformation unfolds in the presence of those who, through their lives and love, show us that another way is possible. This process takes love and time, where character matters far more than technical skill. Who we are is so much more important than what we can do. This is why we never try and fix anyone at Wayside Chapel. You are not our problem to solve but a friend we have yet to meet.

The first time you meet someone who becomes a lifelong mate usually doesn’t involve holding their head up to prevent them from choking on their own vomit. Yet, there isn’t anything usual about anyone’s time by the Wayside. This guy now has a 10-year plan in place, where once he could only cope by focusing on getting his next hit. A good sign of health is the scope of one’s future vision. When life is falling apart, it’s measured by the next score, scam or business deal. When it is healthy, the future stretches far ahead. His future now has a plan, with hope. A deposit on a block of land and a home to build are within his sight.

Taking a picture of him that day out in the gutter and calling it the whole movie would have been a grave mistake. When I asked him what made the difference, he took a long time to answer, “All I can think of is love and time, brother. That’s all any of us ever needs.” This year our doors will have been open for 60 years, and I am so humbled to be part of Sydney’s legacy of lavishing love and time. It’s not just about the quality of connection but its longevity.

Recently, one of our team was at the checkout of a big chain store unloading his usual trolley filled with socks and underwear. As the queue built up behind him, he could hear the familiar sighing and impatient refrains of, “Why is there only one staff member working?” The cashier, apologetically looking up, explained, “He’s doing it for a charity.” The previously frustrated customer inquired further, and upon learning it was for Wayside a smile broke out across his face, “Bloody good on ya, mate,” he said, before generously donating $50 towards the undies.

Thank you, Inner Circle, for being part of this journey of change, grounded in love and time.


Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel


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