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Dear Inner Circle,
How does someone embrace life when a ghost lurks within, pointing out the history of failure and disappointments. How does someone who gets a glimpse of life’s potential overcome an active inner monster, trampling over the ruins of broken relationships? A man who has lived on the street for years has recently been housed and we had a conversation this morning. Although he was pleased to be housed and recognised what a significant step he’d taken, he told me that his anxiety was off the scale. It took a while for me to understand what caused the anxiety in what should have been a happy step forward. Slowly it became obvious that the addition of a roof over his head meant the loss of his community. This change seemed to occur just the right time when he’s had some success of not using drugs. He found himself longing for the community of the street, while at the same time dreading the community that normalises drug use. His need for companionship and social support seemed to invite the circumstances where he would lapse again into drug use. “Your greatest weapon” I told him, “is to call things by their real name. Anyone who is willing to see your life collapse on a fast track towards your death, is not a “friend”. We talked for a while about what a friend is and is not. He expressed gratitude for all the support he’d found at Wayside and I was comforted to know he has people here who care for him.
Staff and volunteers often tell me of encounters with people that make our spirits soar. One story this week was of a man who had only just nursed his wife to her death. She was a Wayside supporter and on her deathbed, she told her husband that she wanted him to buy some blankets so that the winter would be a bit easier for the people we support. The dear man duly presented himself to our front desk this week, blankets in his arms and tears in his eyes.[vc_row columns_on_tablet=”keep” padding_top=”0″ padding_bottom=”0″][vc_column h_text_align=”left” h_text_align_mobile=”left” v_align=”v-align-middle” use_background=”” width=”1/1″][tm_image image_id=”1108″ link_image=”none” textarea_html_bkg_color=”#ffffff” caption_type=””][/tm_image][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row columns_on_tablet=”keep” padding_top=”50″ padding_bottom=”50″][vc_column h_text_align=”left” h_text_align_mobile=”left” v_align=”v-align-middle” use_background=”” width=”1/1″][tm_textblock textarea_html_bkg_color=”#ffffff”]One of our most committed donors recently offered me an unlimited number of tickets to the Martin Seligman seminar that was held this week at Darling Harbour. I’d be comfortable in saying that not a single person at Wayside could have afforded such a training opportunity. I sent word around and in no time had 25 members of staff who were keen to attend. The donor then said to me that he wanted me to take the whole group to dinner following the seminar. Wow! As I thanked our donor, he simply said that he loved Wayside and saw this as a way of investing into our health and vitality. Did I say, WOW already?
Mid phone call this week an argument broke out at the front of our building. The volume increased to the point where I thought I heard fists connecting with heads. Still on the phone, I walked to the window to see John and Josh from our Community Services Centre standing between two young men who were yelling at the human maximum. It seems neither one’s parents were married and each addressed the other by the names of a variety of human body parts. The slapping sound I heard came from one man without a shirt, slapping his chest to give emphasis to the rudest words he knew. I don’t know how many times I have seen John and Josh calmly standing in the middle of a storm, telling the waves to settle down! The twist to this awesome event was that before my eyes, one fellow suddenly offered to shake hands with the other. Within 30 seconds, both men embraced each other and headed into the café. John and Josh looked like nothing remarkable had just happened. I guess to quell such storms, happens every day of their lives.
As my Dad used to say, “You wouldn’t be dead for quids.”
Thanks for being part of our inner circle,
Rev Graham Long
Pastor & CEO