Dear Inner Circle,
Over the years, I’ve worked in many different communities, and I’ve never met anyone who can predict how life will play out for people. It’s how I’ve learned never to write anyone off. Life is always on offer and surprises abound. It’s a mystery that keeps us humble. Last week we were powerfully addressed by someone whose life is now moving in a direction that is a million miles from where it was once headed. “I was in Kings Cross for nearly 10 years, doing whatever it took to survive. No child ever grows up thinking that they want to live on the street, sticking needles in their arms, but that is what I ended up doing. I carried a weight of guilt and shame wherever I went…everywhere except Wayside Chapel. The section of the Cross from Orwell Lane through to Hughes Street was my safe place. I never felt shamed or judged between those streets.” Wow! We should put that up as a poster above our doors. This young woman is now drug-free, runs her own business and is a powerful voice in the fight for better access to treatment options for drug users.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned about love came from the least likely of places. Lisa and I went on our honeymoon in Calcutta. It’s not your average honeymoon but ours happened at the Home for the Dying and Destitute with Mother Theresa. We had decided to start our life as a married couple in the same way we wanted to continue it. Every day people near death are left at the home’s doors. We placed them on stretchers and attended to their needs in their last moments of life. It meant doing anything from feeding them, giving sponge baths, gentle massages or even singing songs. One day a nun could see I was struggling being with people in the last moment of their lives. She looked into my eyes and recognised my sense of hopelessness. “Listen!” She gazed at me with a smile but also a gently authority. “You don’t speak Bengali. They don’t speak English. So, make sure every single thing you do communicates love.” That’s wisdom I return to regularly whenever words begin to fail.
Thanks for being part of our inner circle,
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel P.S. Last Monday was the first edition of The Long View with Graham Long and James Valentine. It’s on again this Monday 18 March with the amazing Rachael Kohn, recently retired from presenting The Spirit of Things on ABC Radio National. The night will be exploring the topic of ‘character’. We hope you can join us, tickets are available here.