The Weight of a Soul

Dear Inner Circle,

Life often swings between the profane and the profound, presenting us with moments of levity amidst the gravest of times. I recall a Sunday chapel service from my childhood where the gravity of the moment was upended by a minister’s slip of the tongue. Clearly rattled, he stammered that one of the leaders in the church had overnight “suffered a hatal fart attack”. I couldn’t contain my laughter, which only got worse, when later during his sermon, he tried to deepen our understanding of our spiritual nature with the proclamation: “We do not have souls, you are-souls!” (Say that out loud).  

There’s no job description that could adequately capture my role and nor should there be. One of the most sacred and precious parts of my job is when I am invited to sit with someone in the last moments of their life. It is a privilege to be with families and to share this time together. I have even had the honour of holding hands with people as they have taken their last breath. I was once called into a room by an anxious daughter who thought her father’s final hour had come. I hurried down, and as I entered the room was greeted by my friend who was quick to inform me, “F&*k off, it’s not my time yet.” As I sat with him to talk, his daughter whispered nervously, “Please don’t start while I’m in the room! I don’t want to be here when it happens!” It was unclear whether she feared my chat would bore him to death, but rest assured, he was right; it wasn’t his time quite yet.

Each time someone has taken their last breath, there is a beautiful moment when something happens, you can sense it, and even feel it. It is a light release from the body, a palpable sense of peace signalling an onward journey. I’ve sat at the bedsides of all kinds of people, and while there is a temptation in our society to label some ‘good’ or ‘bad’, each farewell carries the same weight and the same liberation. From this it seems to me that we are all fundamentally equal, all imbued with the same divine breath, all deserving of love, and all having a truth to reveal about the nature of what on earth it means to be human.

Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle, 


Rev. Jon OwenCEO & PastorWayside Chapel  P.S Remember to catch the latest episode of our podcast, Stories from the Wayside, where we dive into the chaos and beauty of life. It’s honest, it’s raw, and it’s waiting for you. Join us.


Listen to the Inner Circle on YouTube

Subscribe to Inner Circle, Wayside’s Weekly letter to our community, at the button below to have it delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday. 

Thank you for your reading. Join the conversation by posting a comment.

One Response

  1. Dear Jon (Please pass this message to Jon Owen)
    Geez I have missed your weekly letters Jon, like the one above. How can reading about death be so real and funny at the same time? You have a way with words and that in itself should make the inner circle compelling reading. As a community we do not talk about death enough and a book of words on the subject (your words) would be a best seller so there is a thought for you to ‘pen’ an outline of your future book release.
    For some reason my email address has been dropped off your subscription list twice. I have added this again, including Robin’s so hope it works. How does an email address drop off the subscription list if not initiated by the subscriber? How many others are there that have dropped off? The inner circle is the regular contact many have with Wayside, especially those that do not visit, in person, regularly.
    Hope you are well and we are looking forward to seeing you on Christmas Day, having missed last year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *