Dear Inner Circle,
Nice is an inadequate word to describe the ability to throw the lights back on inside parts of our buildings that have remained dormant for months! For the longest time we have been out meeting people where they are, on and around the streets, and now to be able to invite those who we love “back to our place” takes what we do to a new level. Chatting over the fence has been great, but for all who come to Wayside there is nothing like catching up with mates over a meal and not feeling like at any moment “move on” orders will be issued. You can slowly see the tight ball of anxiety that has been in many chests beginning to loosen its grip, and ever so slowly, a steadier breath and rhythm returning.
At the same time the action is getting frenetic, which is simply stating that a wonderfully familiar feeling is back. Amidst the joyous bustle, I was grabbed on the shoulder while ducking through at least half a dozen conversations. Before me was a man who the first time we met, was so nervous to speak with me he had felt the need to get intoxicated first, but was now standing proudly, looking deeply at me with crystal clear eyes. After minimal small talk he lowered his voice to a whisper, “Thank you,” he choked up a little, “being in a place where people believe in me and love me, well that makes a difference.” Wayside offers a gift, we believe in others more than they believe in themselves. We accept others more than they can accept themselves in the hope that the gift will be recognised. There is an unarticulated deep yearning and contradiction of the heart, that the very thing that is ached for is that which is greatly feared. When the fear evaporates long enough, then precious moments occur. They can never be manufactured, they can happen in an instant, yet are usually the result of years of painstaking love in the making. Being awake to them is a task, and also a joy.
More mischief is back too. You all probably know, or have heard of our Chantal, a staff member and former volunteer who has been with us for close to 40 years! She always carries around a can opener as many of our visitors ask her to open things. She is always flat out and the world’s biggest extrovert, and on this particular day she was conducting three simultaneous lectures when someone asked for the can opener. Automatically she opened the container without looking, until she felt its weight and realised as she was about to hand it back, that it was full of coins and cash! Luckily she was quick enough to realise and establish that it was a donation tin that had been taken from a nearby shop and aid in its return. As she added another lecture to her repertoire for the day, a cheeky grin came across the guilty party’s face, as he uttered “It was worth the try, I knew I should have bought my own can opener!” Never a dull moment…
Thanks for being part of our Inner Circle,