Dear Inner Circle,

Love isn’t just a verbal utterance, it’s a verb, an action that springs to life between people and it’s much easier to spot in some places than others. Around here it looks a lot like when one of our workers tells me how at this time of year he lets people stay in the shower a little longer than usual. Not only so the warm water can restore someone after a night out in the cold and wet streets, but also because it is usually the only time of their entire day where they are able to enjoy a moments’ solace and respite. There’s a lot of love contained in those extra few minutes, and drops of warm water. One of our volunteers told me that her definition of love is making sure that the tea and toasted cheese sandwiches she prepares in the mornings for our visitors are extra hot, extra milky and extra sweet. It’s these small gestures that make us feel more alive, and love that is served is felt equally on both sides. All day as you walk through our buildings you will see expressions of love, each tailored, precious and unique, creating shared moments of connection between people. Each contains the possibility of something new being born, something like hope, that can create an impact much bigger than anything we can measure.

Rumours spread like wildfire and last week some shocking news arrived. It was announced that a member of our community had died overnight. Pretty soon tales of confirmation began trickling in, even before anyone knew exactly who they were talking about. If it wasn’t such tragic news, it would have been comical, as each person shared their own version of what they thought they knew. Two days later, a young man walked in through the door and was suddenly mobbed by hugs and sighs of relief. As it turns out, rumours of his death had been greatly exaggerated and he was alive and well. Later as we talked, he recollected a part of his story of a love tragically cut short and the pain he now carries as a constant companion. “I gotta tell you though, I’ve never felt more loved than when everyone thought I was a dead man, but now I’ve been given a second chance that I never knew I had.” We believe in resurrections around here, but they usually take longer than three days.

This week we held our 6th Annual Slam Poetry Night. The winner was so taken by another contestant’s performance that she gave her prize to them. The room was full of encouragement as some people performed for their very first time, realising hidden talents that they never knew they possessed and every single act was met with wild whistles and applause. We saw some people who were most unwell and burdened by crippling loads, rise to the occasion to stand in front of a crowd and boldly perform. The courage displayed was truly awesome and the response from the crowd after each act brought tears to the eyes of many in the room.

As I finish this note as someone is playing “over the rainbow” on a ukulele outside my window. For once, all the conversations have ceased and everybody is singing the tune together in unison that is hauntingly beautiful – where trouble melts like lemon drops. Again, I feel gratitude to all of you who have given so generously to our Winter Appeal so far. You help us bring some light to the lives of people who turn to us for help, but we still have a way to go. We are just $180,000 short of reaching our goal by 30 June, and this will enable us to continue to provide our love and support to thousands of people that walk through our doors this year. It is your commitment to our community that enables us to continue the work that we are so proud of, so if you haven’t given yet, I ask that you please send us your support by Sunday.

Thank you for being part of our most gracious Inner Circle,

Jon

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