The Flow

Dear Inner Circle,

As we share life on this planet, the patterns of our lives mirror those found in the natural world. Bidden or unbidden, the heights and the depths of our shared existence weave their way through us. A healthy culture encourages the flow, urging us to listen to her whispers and pointing us towards purpose. An unhealthy culture seeks to block the flow through a variety of synthetic solutions in order to keep us on task.

This week, we are sharing in the joy of our centres being fully open again after a period of scaled back services during the Omicron peak. The timing is perfect. Every morning we open the doors and people pour in, soaked to the bone. Right now, there is a tangible synchronicity between deep need and caring response. People who enter shivering and shaking are met lovingly and then carefully presented with warm fluffy towels, dry changes of fresh clothes and luxury travel soaps, that many of you have sent in. I tried to sit down to say hello to someone in our cafe who was nursing a hot cup of tea after a warm shower but she waved me off, “I’m not ready for you yet!” She had a date with that cup, and no one was going to interrupt it.

For the past few months, we have used every bit of available space downstairs to operate. Every square inch has been analysed and deputised as “functional” space for socially-distanced meetings and appointments. Now, as we stretch back out over the building, even though space is still at a premium, we welcome people back with the carving out of some “dysfunctional” space. It has been vital over the past few months for us to be able to focus on doing all we can to help where we can. Now, it is vitally important that we once again provide a safe space for people to fall apart. I later found my tea-cup friend weeping in the chapel, no words were exchanged, but the power of presence was.

The best gifts of wisdom often come poorly wrapped. As the drums of war beat, and elsewhere flood waters rise, it is easy to despair, so I lit a candle in the chapel, and held my head in my hands. Soon I sensed someone next to me, “Sometimes it feels like too much, doesn’t it? Should we be doing more?” I blurted out. After a few seconds, the not so gentle response came from a deep beauty and wisdom that one learns from the school of hard knocks. My back was gently slapped and my instruction was given: “Shut up! Stop being an idiot! Never “should” all over yourself, just do what you bloody well can and leave the rest.” This is a message that I think we all need to hear for times such as these.

Thanks for being a part of our precious Inner Circle,


Rev. Jon Owen
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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