Dear Inner Circle,
There really is never a dull moment around here, and it is a sight to behold what love looks like in action. Today, we were right amongst the chaos – and let me tell you, it was sheer! Someone who looked like he was having a heart attack was being successfully resuscitated on the deck, and while our team cleared the way for the paramedics, there were friends weeping, and a coffee being spilt. Someone else who had lost a bag, and who was insisting, very loudly, that the missing item was in fact the most urgent priority of the moment, was also being lovingly attended to by our frontline workers. Love is soft at the edges but hard at the core, which means it is open and caring, but it also knows where it takes a stand. Our team balanced this tension for as long as they could to keep our friend alive, while the ambulance arrived and ushered him to safety. While all this was happening, someone sitting with me nearby asked the philosophical question “What is love, Jon?” I paused to give the question the depth of response it richly deserved; however, the silence was broken by an eager answer, “It’s rooting!” That just about sums up all you need to know.
There are indeed many kinds of love on offer in the world. Recently we heard of a love that protected and held on as long as it could, with both people passing away within a few weeks of each other after a lifetime of loving each other to pieces. Each hanging on, waiting for the other to go first. Their story speaks of a love that knows the costs and pays the price, never holding that against the other. It is a beautiful tale, one that was an honour to hear and now share with you.
The most beautiful expressions of love also come in small moments. Someone, for the first time in their life, went from housed to homeless almost overnight in her late 60s. The last six months in and out of refuges and temporary accommodation means she knows firsthand the insecurity of these arrangements. In what was nothing short of a miracle, she found secure housing this week, and we hugged and celebrated this moment. Yet what we often think of as the end of the story, is only really another beginning. She was filled with nerves as the day approached, so I had a word with a member of our beautiful team, who also once lived on the streets. He reassured me, “It’s only a 25-minute drive, but really it is the end of an exhausting six-month journey, one that I know well. I’ve got it from here”. There was so much love in that sentence, the kind that knows the pain of the path and yet still chooses to walk it with others. We all grow in the presence of such heroes.
The love that goes the distance is on display here every day – as it has been for nearly 60 years now. It’s a legacy that is honoured and celebrated in gentle acts of loving kindness. Just yesterday at Bondi Beach a young and frightened woman was carefully and lovingly taken to our new GP clinic in Kings Cross, where she wasn’t met with a clip board, but rather the most wonderful, welcoming smile from our Doc. You really should pop in to see Dr Lilon’s grin, it has secret healing properties I reckon. Just like the candles on the chocolate cake that was cut up and shared in the community cafe for a visitor’s 68th and yet first ever birthday party. His smile and the cake were the cherry on top of another love filled week by the Wayside.
Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle,
Rev. Jon Owen
CEO and Pastor