With Broken Hearts

Dear Inner Circle,

Love that comes with an orchestra playing sweetly in the background isn’t the only kind. It would be false to state that love has nothing to do with feelings; that would be ridiculous, but I insist that love is not constituted by them. Feelings change constantly; some are helpful, many are uncomfortable; some bring ecstasy; and none constitute love. At most they provide a musical score; they add colour. Love is something into which we step. It requires a movement of the feet. It is a place to stand and see another for who they are and not for the purpose they might serve. I wish for you the kind of courage and strength to stand where you can see another. Where you can be fully you, by not being the centre of the universe but rather to discover that your centre is not within. The joy of finding your centre between you and others – that’s how love works.

I see love come to life in a thousand different ways. Love is everywhere and is always in need of us. If we allow it to flow, it can release us from our need to prove anything. I have seen it in parents who give up every life plan to care for a child with a disability, somebody who tenderly supports their partner through mental illness, a friend who gives up their only meal for someone hungrier than them, or a neighbour who takes time out of their hectic life to drop a care package to the person next door.

Rather than a pursuit of a feeling, love is about devoting a life to courageous acts of service that usher more kindness into our world, especially in the darkest of circumstances. I saw it today in the eyes of our staff when they found out that one of our dearly loved visitors had tragically died overnight in heart-breaking circumstances. Just a few short weeks ago we were celebrating Christmas Lunch with her, and we listened as she spoke of the hopes and struggles she was experiencing while trying to find a way to leave an abusive partner. As the news broke over the team there was shock and sadness. If they turned up to Wayside to feel good then surely none of them would come back. And yet they do, day after day with broken hearts ready to pour out love again. Love is a risk. Is it an irony to suggest that the more broken a heart is, the more love is able to flow out of it? I see it all the time.

Small acts of love often mean the world. Cups of tea handed out in love, fresh towels after a night in the pouring rain, or a set of clean clothes and undies when someone walks in drenched to the bone. I have a volunteer who often boasts to me that since starting at Wayside he is an expert at folding towels and picking underwear sizes. Another regular volunteer, whose face would be more easily recognised on the red carpet of a film premiere than our front desk, brings her own zip lock bags to her shift so that she can lovingly sort each pair of undies and bras into their individual sizes to make it easier for visitors to choose. She shares this love, because she knows how much the dignity of choice can bring.

Think about what love means to you. This Valentine’s Day, perhaps you can forgo the flowers and chocolates, in favour of an act of love that will truly make a difference to someone’s life. If you can, please make a donation to our “Nothing Says I Love you Like a Clean Pair of Undies” appeal. I know I ask a lot from you, and I am nervous to ask more, but your generosity goes straight to the hearts of those who need it the most. So on their behalf I ask so our visitors have access to life’s basic necessities and a whole lot of love. Donate Now.

Thanks for sharing the love, our precious Inner Circle,


Jon Owen
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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