This morning I had an early appointment in William St, so I walked from Wayside Chapel along Darlinghurst Road. I’m not sure that this is a trip that I’ll ever be able to make quickly. I spoke to a man who was leaning against a shop window. His feet looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in months. I told him that a shower, shoes, fresh undies and a good meal were just a block away from him if he cared to head down to Wayside. He was eating a small carton of licorice allsorts. I told him that if he was still here when I walked past in an hour or so, that I would gladly walk with him to Wayside and introduce him to some people who would welcome him. He wasn’t there when I returned, and I’ve worried about him all morning. I won’t forget the sight of his feet in a hurry.
A couple of the pubs in on the main road have windows where drinkers can look right onto the street. Even early in the morning, there are people observing the passing pedestrians while nursing a cold glass of beer. I didn’t know any of the faces at the first pub that I passed but at the second pub, I was surprised to recognise a face I hadn’t seen for quite some time. As our faces met, a warm smile came over his face and he greeted me like a long-lost friend. He was with another half-dozen drinkers. It seemed like a rather solemn gathering until my friend started introducing me around. We spent perhaps ten minutes catching up on news. In summary, my friend was not long out of prison and determined, he said, to make a better go of his life this time round. I felt cheeky enough to point out that drinking so early in the morning was an odd attempt at finding a better path to the future. “I had to come here to borrow some money from my friends.” In ten minutes, two or three new people approached us, having also recognised my friend and their meeting was not as warm as mine. They were each most keen for him to repay the money he’d borrowed from them in recent days. I wondered why he’d drink in such a prominent location when so many people were on the lookout for him to repay debts. We hugged and I reminded him that all the support and respect he might need was at Wayside where he was well known and well-loved. I’ve no doubt I’ll see him around here before long.
In the words of a famous Leonard Cohen song, “There’s a crack, there’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”
Thanks for being part of this Inner Circle,
Pastor & CEO