Lend Your Voice

Dear Inner Circle,

In one of the less divine ironies of having three musically-talented siblings who can sing exotic, soul-stirring harmonies (replete with matching names that were a foretaste of their talent – Sharmila, Sharmona and Shobana), is my inability to hold a tune. In fact, from a very young age, I Jon (!?), displayed a stunning lack of rhythm and tone. Asian determination still meant this kid had to endure well over a decade of piano lessons, including some theory exams, the most memorable of which included the examiner laughing out loud at an answer.

To this day I am the only one of the four who must engage in weekly public singing at Wayside’s Sunday service, and it isn’t pretty. To comfort me is a well-loved man with a significant speech impediment due to a brain injury, who has a heart of gold which is as soft as a kitten. Due to his hearing loss, he speaks at a high volume in a harsh and nasal tone, yet every week we sing together with gusto. On Sunday we sang an old favourite, ‘What a Wonderful World’ and suddenly, my friend’s voice, usually so out of step, had found its song!

Every one of us has a voice that can sing, but most of us are yet to find our song. So many of us lead lives where we feel like a failure and often take it all too personally, blaming and shaming ourselves, when perhaps the truth is, we have yet to lend our voice to the right song.

A few years ago, someone else we love was living in and out of hospital, and on couches in other peoples’ homes. The labels being placed on her were “homeless” and “mentally ill”. Now, through love, encouragement, and plenty of support from our team at Wayside, she has a place of her very own. She has always had a passion for art and has now completed a fine arts degree and will soon have her work in an exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW. She has found her songline. She recently told us that she has found “freedom” in stability and rises everyday “blessing the ground I wake up on”. The truth is, we are blessed to be in her presence.

I am so glad you all sing along with us.

Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel

PS. We’re getting ready for Christmas at Wayside and would love your help to bring a sense of family and connection to our community. Please consider a kind gift this season.

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