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Thin Places

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Dear Inner Circle,

Most living is “thick”, where we stumble from place to place, meeting to meeting with the assurance that very little real “meeting” is going on. Time moves in a chronological order, in a methodical way, and sometimes the days end can’t come soon enough. Celtic mystics spoke of alternative realities, they called them “thin places.” These are the spaces and times where the veil between our world and the eternal is particularly thin. Time slows down and all present find themselves sharing what can only be described as “sacred ground”, and bear witness to something almost “other-worldly” and magical. Most of us have only been lucky enough to have experienced this a few times in our life.

One such moment happened last night. It was “Grandpa” Graham Long’s 70th birthday and a small number gathered in the backyard of a beautiful family who have recently suffered unspeakable loss of their daughter, for which Graham had conducted a funeral. As a gesture of thanks the family had reciprocated by inviting us to share a low key meal in honour of Graham. Surrounded by fairy lights and under the wide open sky, each of us around the circle shared about the impact that Graham has had in our lives, which at times went beyond language. Amidst the words were laughs and emotions that rose from the depths as Graham spoke of his own life and about the son he had lost just as suddenly, the daughter he adores and his wife who has stood by his side for it all since they first met at the age of nine. All who were present ate, laughed and drank in a circle of love that was flowing in all directions under the beautiful sunset that soon revealed stars and a full moon. Great suffering brings great wisdom, and the silent unspoken bond between parents who have holes in their hearts that will never close over was evident. As time stood still, hands were held without words. My 17-year old daughter who was eager to bring some lightness to the moment, then brought us back to earth with a sudden quip, “Every time I drive on a gravel driveway, I think of your laugh Uncle Graham!” As we all erupted in laughter, guitars appeared and we sang into the evening, and for a brief moment self-consciousness evaporated and we were one.

It has been a difficult few weeks at Kings Cross, with many of our people experiencing in big ways the same “reverse anxiety” that some of us are feeling as we re-emerge from the latest lockdown. As I snuck in early one morning I found someone in a state of such confusion that she was naked out the front of our chapel. Her physical state, I suspect, mirrored her internal one. As any parent or carer knows, children tend to act out where they feel safest, which is usually their home. This is cold comfort during a tantrum after being reassured of a child’s angelic behaviour at school, but should be. For many of our people, Wayside is the safest place in their world and hence is the place where they know that they can fall apart and still be held in love. We quickly sorted out some emergency clothing for her, and our team were on hand to offer support and provide a vessel to hold together the contents of a fractured life. On a good day, sometimes these lives are woven back together in beautiful ways.

Thanks for being a part of our Inner Circle,

Jon

Tonight I invite you to join us for Voices from the Street to hear from two of our visitors as they shared their own lived experience on their path to healing and the life lessons they learned along the way. Register for the Facebook Event here or tune into our Facebook page from 7pm tonight!

Jon Owen

Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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