Taking Time for Renewal

Dear Inner Circle,

Human existence is fundamentally interpersonal. Human beings are not isolated, free-floating objects but rather, subjects entangled in perpetual, multiple, shifting relationships — with others, with the world, and ultimately with what some may call the Universe or what others call God. Our lives unfold within the dynamism of these myriad interactions, shaped by the push and pull of intersubjectivity. It is through these connections that we discover our identity and purpose. As Viktor Frankl observed, “We detect, rather than invent, our mission in life.” Yet, to limit our possibilities and potentials is to risk losing sight of our most awesome mission: to create a community with no ‘us and them’. In the same breath though, I would suggest that life is a series of hits and misses. Sometimes, all it takes is a momentary lapse, a brief disconnect, to throw us off course. Yet often a simple moment of awareness is all that is required to realign us with our true path.

There was a lot of excitement and anticipation in the lead up to Wayside’s Got Talent last night. All week, as I wandered downstairs, people couldn’t wait to share their performance plans with me. I was accosted by someone who loudly informed me that, “I can’t wait for you to hear me; I am a fantastic sinner!” I am sure he meant to say ‘singer’, given he’s part of the choir that gave a rousing performance, but you can never be too certain. As for me, I have three harmoniously gifted sisters, meanwhile I’ve been told by an exasperated singing teacher, “I thought everyone could sing until I met you, Jon!” Despite this, I maintain I have perfect pitch (enough to belt out some Billy Joel at the talent show!).

The night itself was a showstopper. We were blown away as we saw creativity unleashed upon our world, with performances ranging from a certain Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers classic to freestyle rap, and dance that moved and electrified us. Sadly, our op shop manager left her kazoo at home, so was unable to dazzle us with that hidden talent. One particularly touching moment came from a Wayside regular who took the stage, trembling with nerves as he began an Ed Sheeran number. But as the cheers and encouragement flowed, you could see him transform.

Being part of an awesome mission is a beautiful reminder that it’s not all about me. With that in mind, I’ll be taking a few weeks of leave to unwind and spend some time being a dad and husband, pottering around at home and dusting off the guitar. It’s healthy to remember that we’re human beings, not human doings. Just like the bare tree in winter, it’s okay to simply be quiet and still, and get off the merry-go-round of modern life so we can rest. I will also begin to get fired up for the Long Walk Home in October (can’t say I’ve done much exercise since City2Surf!) and watch as spring rejuvenates the garden. I look forward to returning to you, ready for the life-affirming run to Christmas.

Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle,


Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel

P.S Long Walk Home is happening again this year on Saturday 7 October, where we walk 28km in the shoes of people experiencing homelessness. Looking forward to sharing this journey from Parramatta to Kings Cross with many of you. You can sign up here.

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