Hankies, Anchors and Guiding Lights

Dear Inner Circle,  

Under the chair in my office is a small box, it arrived about a year ago. Inside is a supply of handmade handkerchiefs. Each one is lovingly ironed and placed into its own Ziplock bag. It came with a letter explaining how as each one was ironed and placed into the bag it was prayed over, that it would have the strength to hold the tears it would receive and the power to begin healing the hurts of the hands that hold it. It came signed, “From Somebody’s Nana.” I share this story with everyone who receives one. As they tear the bag open, the handkerchiefs always work their magic.  

This week, I have given out more than a few. One guy held his against his cheek, “My Grandma used to have a hankie just like this one. Oh Gran, I am so glad you can’t see me now!” He wept as he spoke, “I get it now, Jon, I really do. I always admired Wayside, even respected it, but now I really get it. My world is in freefall, and this place is an anchor. A beautiful anchor that people like me can cling to.” The moment we shared left us both speechless. All I could do was light a candle and then suggest that I think his Nana couldn’t be prouder of the man sitting there. The tears he wept were cleansing ones, and sometimes, albeit rarely, you just know when the tide is going to turn for someone.  

Not long after that, I had the honour of spending time with a woman who had bravely decided to live. There’s a line in the musical Hamilton: “dying is easy, living is harder”. How true that is! For many, life’s path seems the right and only way, but when that path closes or is stolen, it feels like there is nothing left. The choice to live is a courageous one. It often involves abandoning the identity of a victim, a choice that can never be forced upon someone, it is only theirs to jettison. This woman was crying because of the pain of letting that go and living into her new future. Loss always hurts. In both instances, I felt I was witnessing a kind of rebirth. I closed my eyes and thanked “Somebody’s Nana” for her gift of immeasurable worth.  

Over the last few weeks, a light of inspiration and solidarity has emerged as we come together for our Long Walk home this Saturday. Our amazing supporters are pouring out their hope and encouragement for our community. They’re also sharing raw and genuine words that echo the transformative power of love. Among the many beautiful messages, one hit especially close to home: “I never thought I’d find a way out of my darkest rock bottom. I felt sick, alone, and numb. I couldn’t see any other place for me to go except death. If I hadn’t found Wayside that is where I would have gone. Thank you for holding up a light.” 

Every handkerchief-dried tear, every step taken in the Long Walk Home, and every message of support reinforces the strength and resilience of our community. Together, we are more than just individuals; we’re a force of compassion, unity, and change. 

Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle, 


P.S You can keep lighting up the path for many more in need, by showing your support for our Long Walk Home participants who are walking a whopping 28km this Saturday from Parramatta to Kings Cross, or 28km over the next week, in the shoes of someone sleeping rough. Someone like Scott, whose life is being transformed by this community. Throw your love and luck behind Team Scott with a donation today.

Subscribe to Inner Circle, Wayside’s Weekly letter to our community, at the button below to have it delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday. 

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