Love’s Voyage

Dear Inner Circle,

While we have a long way to go, it’s undeniable that we’ve made significant progress from a few decades ago. Many of us were raised in an era where the nicknames we received often arose not from our skills, but from our greatest flaws, our greatest source of difference or our greatest error. These nicknames were often intimately connected with our deepest insecurities; our greatest shame became our name. Most of the names I was called could not be uttered aloud in modern times, although I sometimes still run into people who nearly let them slip out. Some of the less savoury but repeatable ones include Darkie, Tracker (after I got 200 cadets lost in the bush when an overeager teacher entrusted me with the compass and map for a 3-hour hike), and, of course, Snowie, because, why not? Sadly, these names have a way of embedding themselves into our hearts and identities. As they say, “words create our worlds,” and indeed, they do. Some wear these names like badges of honour, while for others, they are scars. 

My wife Lisa and I recently received the most beautiful message from a young woman who has just given birth. She is besotted with her newborn and is sharing her joy with the world. She is working so hard to speak to her child with the words she never heard from her own mother – words like “love”, “precious” and “beautiful.” It breaks her heart that every time she utters these words, she bursts into tears, so she reached out to Lisa, who was her source of love and affection when she was herself a newborn, with Lisa often babysitting her. This determined new mum is speaking another world into existence, even though the words emerge through her own wounds.  

There’s a beautiful new world being born every day at Wayside; it flows like a river, from the old to the new. Sadly, the current of this river is often pain and suffering, but there is a vessel that can carry us across all that hate, and that vessel’s name is love. It is borne in the tenderness of making a cup of soup just the way someone likes it as the cold descends, in carrying towels across the road to the dry cleaner to ensure there’s always a warm, dry supply for our showers (we tend to overload the washing machine at this time of year), and in making the perfect cup of tea (which, on average, seems to contain 5 sugars), just the way someone likes it.

I can’t help sharing this joke: as I was offering a blessing in the chapel, I heard someone shout, “Hey Farva, did you hear what Jesus did at Easter? Well, he went up the cross, then he got hammered, and then he hung around!” It’s hard to keep a straight face around here, even in the most serious moments! 

Thanks for being part of our Inner Circle, 


Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel

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