Dear Inner Circle,

Being swarmed by people eager to get a minute of my time is now one of the highlights of my day. During the height of lockdown I sat in the empty café space and resolved to never let the assault of information ever be taken for granted. Well, I can report that the noise is back and it is beautiful. The one-liners are flying around thick and fast and the lack of social skills are proudly on display. Our facilities team haven’t gotten around to installing a deli counter ticket machine to my ear quite just yet, but I’m thinking it could be a good idea! On Sunday I was receiving an outpouring of guilt and shame from one of our visitors, it was a display of deep remorse and insight that I have rarely witnessed. Simultaneously, another person was protesting to me about their highly unlikely innocence with the most terrifying statement and plea disguised as a question “Jon, I mean does that even sound like me!?” I often prefer not to answer.

We recently moved house and resolved to actually unpack the boxes. I found University lecture notes from 1995 on computer programming in “Cobalt” and “Fortran”. The last box contained all of my diaries and journals from my teenage years – my kids had a good laugh as they thumbed through them. As I read through them there were no musings of a tormented genius, rather I met a gentle but miserable boy desperately trying to do everything right and please his mum. There isn’t a lot of joy in trying to colour in the lines of existence. How lucky I have been to meet others who have found life and purpose through doing it all wrong.

As if to reinforce this point I was whisked away to an appointment with someone I barely knew, no sooner had we sat down he began to weep. He was full of resentment. He had lived the life expected of him and yet, while externally appearing successful, his heart was full of anger, and sadness that life hadn’t rewarded his obedience. I couldn’t help but contrast him with the man who had confessed his guilt and shame to me earlier in the day, and how through his errors had found a higher path.

It seems it is better to live and fail, than to play it safe and spend your life in resentment. I just remain present to the moments that arrive as gifts that can guide us on to the path of life.

Thanks for sharing life with us, our precious Inner Circle.



Jon Owen

Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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