Dear Inner Circle,

There is no break for those who are living with the daily grind of poverty, neither is there a public holiday from a life trapped in the pain and loneliness of homelessness or addiction. I am so proud and grateful for all of our community who showed up on Monday to open our doors. Most of us use public holidays as a chance to connect with friends and family. For many of our visitors on days of celebration like Monday, the loneliness felt can be more acute than usual, a painful reminder of people they have lost, where they are no longer welcome, and sadly, that they have nowhere else to go. Many stumble through our doors suffering new lows and in greater numbers as many other places of help are closed for the day. Our courageous staff also have to bring a double portion of love in their hearts, and they do. I am amazed at the way they do not let the busy-ness or the chaos of the day take them away from greeting everyone who walks through our doors, with all the love they can muster, to make them feel welcome. 

Near Kings Cross Station I found a young disheveled looking man I didn’t recognise, who was struggling to remain upright. He was, ‘on the nod’ which indicated to me that a substance was robbing him of the ability to stay awake. Beside this man sat an alert, well-groomed, healthy-looking dog. Such a contrast to see a human in such poor shape next to a dog that was so well looked after. The dog was clearly trying to look after and attend to the young fellow. The dog constantly looked around and regularly checked back on the young fellow anxiously. I couldn’t get any conversation from the man, and by the time I walked past the same spot a little later, he had moved on. How I wished that I’d had the chance to speak with him, and ask him to come down to Wayside Chapel with his dog where he could get a good feed and some company if needed it. Still, I am grateful he had such a loving and loyal companion and hope to see him again. 

Recently I was urgently called to a hospital bedside. “Farva, come right now, it’s time. You have to come and deliver him his last rites, but when you do, make sure I’m not in the bl*$3y room”.  I’m not sure what power or abilities this person thought had – or maybe just how boring they assumed my prayers would be to witness! I can assure you, no matter how much a family decides it’s time to “let go” when they see a loved one in pain, if it isn’t their time, then no amount of praying is going to change that. I have found that, tragedies aside, when someone knows it is their time, then they will let go soon enough. “Is it your time?” I whispered when we were left alone, “No chance” he winked. We chatted politics and football for a few minutes instead, and as I got up to leave he grabbed my hand, “Thank you brother.” Our eyes locked and time drifted away. We live in times where we have replaced importance with urgency, so the urgency of imminent death can take precedence over the importance of just being beside someone at such a significant time. I admire this family member, who had asked me to come out of a place of deep love. Even when words may fail, it is their faithful presence at this man’s bedside that endures and is what really matters in the end. 

Thanks for being a part of this Inner Circle,

Jon

Jon Owen
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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