Dear Inner Circle,
There are a lot of late nights at this time of year, when the burdens of my predecessors weigh upon me a little heavier as we head into the final week of our winter appeal. Often, I sneak downstairs to a private nook where I can take in all the breathtaking acts of kindness and care that swirl around our community centres in Kings Cross and Bondi.
One night I saw something that caught my eye, something which at first glance seemed a bit odd. A team member looked to be waiting furtively, before quickly ushering a man into a private room from which they soon emerged. When I asked the staff member what they were doing, he blushed, and quietly let me know that when he gets a moment alone, he carefully and patiently undresses, cleans and then redresses the wounds that refuse to heal on this man’s decaying feet. “I do it as a way to show him love,” he told me. That was not the answer I was expecting, and I was completely taken aback by this sheer act of unfathomable grace. They never teach you about peripheral neuropathy in theological college but this “washing of the feet” seems to me a divine act of the highest order.
That’s the kind of golden moment that infuses my heart with the courage to tread the boardrooms and present at forums, to ensure the love continues to radiate from this place. Behind it is a deep faith that believes that love never dies, and that no act of love is ever wasted, in fact, these acts have a ripple effect that flow beyond our walls and out into the streets and then some.
As I was leaving the building through the side gate someone chased after me. I should be more worried when I am chased down darkened alleys, shouldn’t I? When she caught up to me, she wanted to say something, but it took her a good few minutes to catch her breath, “I wanna give you a hug, and tell you just how wonderful you all are.” I confessed to having never met this woman before so was happy to absorb her every word so I could share it with others the next day who deserved the credit. “You housed me, then I lost it, and then you housed me again and I lost it again, and now, I think I am ready, and you’ve housed me. This time it is going to work.” Her smile betrayed the heartache behind her eyes, “When you stuff up so many times everyone gives up and then I gave up on myself, but Wayside never gave up, and now I believe in myself again, not a heap, but just enough.”
Just enough hope. That’ll do me any night of the week and must be just about the best thing that’s ever happened in a dark alleyway in Kings Cross!
Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle,
Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
P.S. Beyond the practical support we provide people, like help with securing housing, there’s something extra special we offer – love and connection. You can give your heart to people most in need by making a kind donation to our winter appeal. Donate now.
Listen to the audio recording here: