Dear Inner Circle,
Last weekend I was able to spend two glorious but all too brief days celebrating Diwali with family in Melbourne. There was amazing food, gaudy saris, and the joy of reunion. We lit sparklers and laughed and delighted over all the stories of milestones missed with growing nieces. Did you know my parents are blessed with 10 granddaughters with not a boy in sight? My heart beamed with pride when Miss 5 asked me to pull her finger! I couldn’t help but be captured by her mum, my baby sister, the shy, timid, seemingly frail one, who, through a marriage breakdown that I feared would break her, has instead seen her reborn as a fierce single mama bear with an inner strength and a newfound compassion and love for her community.
Diwali is a festival that celebrates the victory of light over darkness, which rallies the power of love over hate. I reckon that makes Wayside Chapel a place of daily Diwali. All it takes is a little faith. Firstly, that there is never no hope, as love can reach into the deepest darkness. Secondly, to not fear death, as new life is always born from it. Seeds have to die so that the process of germination can begin, which allows new life to emerge. The death of a relationship can be the beginning of a new life and my sister is living proof.
The other day I got an excited call from a young man who we only knew for a brief time. His life had fallen apart and the love he received at Wayside when he was at his worst, was all the reminder he needed and a turnaround began. We can never make that moment happen, as that would be a manipulation and would go against our deepest conviction to love regardless of outcome. This often leads to heartbreak but can also lead to lives full of goodness and joy. To this day he can’t pin the moment down when life turned around for him, and I think that’s the point. After twenty years of witnessing this, I can safely say that no amount of self-consciousness has ever led to a transformation. That only happens when someone finds that they belong with others. So while this young man can’t remember that exact time, what he can remember is sitting around a meal table with me and having a good belly laugh over something insignificant but very funny. I’m glad we laughed over nothing of importance that day, and in the middle of it all, new life was born and no one even noticed.
Thanks for being part of our Inner Circle,
PS. It’s just over six weeks until Christmas and we need your help. Donate a Plate to keep our kitchens cooking over the entire holiday season and feed someone experiencing homelessness and isolation. Your gift will show people that they are loved and not forgotten. Donate here.