Dear Inner Circle,
Last weekend I was lucky enough to dash down to Melbourne to attend the wedding of a wonderful young couple. One sign of ageing well is that when you realise you first met the groom when he was six, you choose not to say so to his son who is now that very age, as well as refraining from commenting on how tall they are now.
As the groom waited nervously; I confess to shedding more than just a silent tear. One of the first memories I have of him is the fear in his eyes whenever he saw his mum bearing the brunt of his father’s anger. Lisa and I lived next door to his family when he was little, and we could hear everything from behind the paper-thin walls. One day when it was particularly bad and it spilled outside into the courtyard of our flats, even though she was 8-months pregnant, Lisa ran right into the fight, placed her hands up, and begged his father, “please stop!”. He was 6 foot 4 and 150kg, yet Lisa stood up to him, looked him in the eyes, and what she said next I will never forget, “Please stop this. I love your wife so much, and your kids, and I love you, so please stop.” There she stood, with her bulging belly, taking the risk of her life, all for love.
What people mean when they speak of “miracles” rarely happen, as they mean something magical that occurs instantaneously. Yet what happened here was a real miracle, one that continues to this day. After that moment in the courtyard, a few months passed before the groom’s mum summoned the courage to ask her husband to leave, which he did. Our little families began to share life together in a deeper way, and we cared for those kids like they were our own, and they cared for us like we were theirs. Their dad never ever raised a hand against any of them ever again, and, in a surprising twist, the parents reconciled, and lived together again for a whole year before cancer took him.
All these memories flooded back as I watched this young man gently hold his son as he pledged his life to his new wife, neither of whom have ever seen him raise his voice, let alone lay a hand against them. Miracles do happen, they take courage and a lot of sweat if you want to see them come to life. At Wayside we see miracles happen because we are committed to making them happen. When people begin to move towards life and health on their own, which often happens when they feel “met” rather than “worked on”, they realise something powerful, that there’s people who are here with them and for them, who will walk with them no matter what. I got a phone call from a mate who is facing the battle of his life over the next few months, and his request was that I call him every week with the worst jokes I can think of, because whenever he is tempted to think things couldn’t get any worse, he will remember my humour always will be. Which reminds me, “What do you do if you’re in Kings Cross or Bondi and you see a spaceman?”
Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle,
Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
P.S I have some run-derful news Inner Circle – I’m running City2Surf this August as part of Team Wayside, and you can join me. Promise I’ll share all my bad jokes. Early bird regos are now open. Are you ready to run for love?