Learning Grace

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Dear Inner Circle,

Surprisingly, a middle-aged, successful man sat with me this week, confessing his stupidity. He is not a stupid man but like an astronaut who from a rocket looked back at the earth for the first time, he looked at his life with some degree of astonishment and wonder. He told me that all his life, the more he met others, the more he became bound up in himself. Every meeting was an event that happened inside him. This is a tall, good-looking, successful, rather lonely man. A while ago he was giving a lecture to one of his kids, trying to make a point about how heavy his responsibilities were and how much he’d sacrificed for his children. His daughter rather innocently asked, “Is this the path you really want, Dad?” The question tore the heavens open, not because he suddenly needed to think about alternate paths but because his daughter rose up from being a kid, to a real, living person, joining her Dad in proximity and speech. It was like he’d never met her until this moment. A member of our inner circle for a long time, the man sought me out to have a couple of discussions. Slowly he’s beginning to know that his, “I” is not located “in” him but between him whoever he meets – ‘meets’, rather than ‘manages’. This man is respected in his profession but he’s not so much at home. There may be a difficult road ahead and some bad habits to be confronted. Maybe, perhaps, possibly, new life is on the way.

Only four times a year, the Wayside staff meet as one group. Last week in our staff forum we recognised that since the State Government asked us to extend our hours to 10:30pm each night (and fund the cost of this change) we have been surprised by the number of people who are newly homeless, presenting in the later hours. We know that the earlier we can walk alongside the newly homeless to provide support, the faster good decisions can be made and the trap of habitual homelessness will not harden. Thank you to Minister Pru Goward and your Department for inviting us to extend into the hours where need is most desperate. We also celebrated gaining full accreditation from Australian Services Excellence Standards. We received the highest score possible which gave us some comfort after the mountain of work it took to ensure our governance, policy and procedures were right. We celebrated the beginning of a pilot of extending our Aboriginal Program to six days per week. This initiative will be funded by private donors. Thank you special supporters.[vc_row columns_on_tablet=”keep” padding_top=”0″ padding_bottom=”0″][vc_column h_text_align=”left” h_text_align_mobile=”left” v_align=”v-align-middle” use_background=”” width=”1/1″][tm_image image_id=”1035″ link_image=”none” textarea_html_bkg_color=”#ffffff” caption_type=””][/tm_image][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row columns_on_tablet=”keep” padding_top=”50″ padding_bottom=”50″][vc_column h_text_align=”left” h_text_align_mobile=”left” v_align=”v-align-middle” use_background=”” width=”1/1″][tm_textblock textarea_html_bkg_color=”#ffffff”]Our pastors at Bondi and Kings Cross have unusual jobs. They can find themselves doing amazing things with little or no notice. One of them was in my room yesterday. In the first month of this year he had nine funerals to conduct. He takes everything in his stride. His day yesterday would have made anyone’s head spin. He fitted six or seven events into his day, any one of which would have overwhelmed most. One of these events included being with a family as their loved one’s life support was switched off. I expressed my concern for him and asked how he was coping. “It’s just the storm before the calm”, he said.

At the funeral for Sir Nicholas Shehadie yesterday, I encountered my first State funeral. The church was packed and there were hundreds of people seated outside. What a life well lived! What a great Australian! As Dame Marie walked in and then out of the church, the slightly-built lady embodied strength and frailty in one. If there was a way of measuring love in the air, it would have been off the scale for Sir Nicholas and equally for his beloved wife.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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