Dear Inner Circle,
At the start of the pandemic we were all in thrall of living in a “contactless” world. Was there any limit to this contactless existence? Seemingly not at the time, as we marvelled at the clicking and sudden appearance of goods and services. Then when we could suddenly attend the funerals and weddings of distant relatives from the comfort of our lounge rooms, we quietly enjoyed not having to negotiate family politics. We lapped up this way of living until the day we woke up and realised that our lives were suddenly rendered contactless. The knots in our stomachs pointed to the loneliness in our hearts as our lounge rooms became our worlds and we missed the comfort of real-life connections and loved ones to embrace.
Thinking back to those times, perhaps our kids are a constant reminder of what is most important. I’m not sure what the collective noun for a group of pre-schoolers is, but I propose it be called “a gorgeous”. Anyway, a few weeks ago, “a gorgeous” had all asked their parents for blankets and beanies to give to Wayside for the cold nights. One of our team went to thank them and spend some time letting them know about us. She opened by asking them, “What do you love about being home?” Their answers were profound, “love is like sitting on mum’s lap and eating chocolate,” said one little boy. Another chimed in saying, “I love coming home and sitting on our couch.” To which a girl added, “what about opening the fridge door and seeing that there’s treats inside!”
For some of the people who visit Wayside, our Community Cafes are their living rooms, a place where they can lean back and breathe in safely, or re-connect with friends over a hot meal or even discuss their challenges with those they trust the most. We can’t provide anything remotely like a mum’s lap, but there tends to always be an abundance of chocolate. “This will always be my lounge room, mate….. it keeps me alive, every time during the last few years where we couldn’t sit inside was a struggle.” He only paused mid-sentence because he was handed some chocolate that he scoffed – given to him by our longest serving angel who much prefers to be called a fairy.
There is a sense of homeliness as people sit around tables catching up or just catching their breath. Conversations once again begin to flow freely through the building and there is a sense of expectation and excitement in the air. I even heard mention of the “C-Word” – Christmas. I know it’s a long way away, but if health is determined by how far out in front your future point is, this is a sign worth celebrating.
Society might be built on the message that success is more determined by your ability to accumulate wealth, reputation or power when really, the secret of it all, is to invest your life into good relationships with family where possible, and friends whenever you can.
Thanks for staying in contact, our Inner Circle,
Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor