Mornings begin with a flurry of activity in our Community Service Centres in Bondi and Kings Cross. Opening time makes for a wonderful mix of sights, sounds and smells – showers, honey being spread on toast, sizzling bacon, freshly washed towels, the clinking of teaspoons against cups, all combining to signal a new day of possibility. It’s a bit like most homes at the start of a day. All these movements are choreographed by our amazing community of staff and volunteers, some of whom share a laugh with our visitors, while others provide a consoling embrace. It’s a family atmosphere and the “Good Morning” greetings flow freely.
This morning I jumped right through the middle of this ritual and basked for a moment in the sun. There was a lightness of spirit in the place. One young guy, full of hope, stood next to me with his arms stretched wide, his head raised and his eyes closed to absorb every available ray of warmth. “I cannot tell you how great I feel right now. Everything, for the first time in my life, is going well”. The ability to pause to find some calm and solace through the storms of life is sometimes all it takes for someone to see what is right in front of them. It’s a discipline well-worth adopting.
We never do anything in the expectation of thanks. “I don’t know if you will remember me, but I certainly remember you. I just wanted to thank you.” Not many conversations begin that way, but they are always a delight. A young bloke went on to tell me how from the moment he walked into Wayside he was met with nothing but love. He made it to us just in time, within a whisker of finding himself to be a street dweller. The number of nights we were able to find him emergency accommodation were the exact number before an offer of accommodation arrived. No sooner had he moved in when he received an offer of employment that our team helped him identify, prepare and apply for. Not always, not even frequently, but sometimes our timing is good, creating a sense of hope that cannot be given by platitudes.
On the way home after some particularly long meetings I was rounding the corner when someone yelled out and broke my train of thought. They had found a couch and had dragged it to their favourite side of the road “Come here Johnny, take a seat, welcome to my office, now take a load off and let’s have a yarn”. We shared some terribly corny jokes and talked about whatever came to mind. It was a moment shared of sheer connection from which we both left full of life. I am often involved in “meetings” in which no meeting takes place. Yet meetings of this kind, on the street, give me more life and energy than I thought possible.
Thanks for being part of our Inner Circle,
Pastor & CEO