Wounded Healer

Dear Inner Circle,

So many people come to Wayside Chapel feeling like a failure, having suffered from systems that have attempted to fix their problems and only ended up reinforcing a message of self-defeat. Many institutions place an over-reliance on rules, that may very well insure against disaster, but often end up ensuring that humanity loses out. Only a love that truly sees someone can heal and hold the space for them to dream an alternative future into reality.

As I walked in this morning a warm smile greeted me. Her green eyes still blurry from the night before, she thrust a beautiful bunch of flowers in my hands, “They are gift for you.” In that moment of meeting there was a power that transcends words. Years of moving between housed and homeless have not dimmed the sparkle in her eyes, nor the hope in her heart, and after years of us not giving up on her, she now won’t give up on herself. I have placed her priceless gift in my office, and it’s a reminder that I would take a heart that yearns expectantly for this dear woman to move towards better days, over a set of rules and regulations that would have dismissed her as a “hopeless case”.

There is a way of doing your job, and then there is a way of doing what really is your job, which can never be found on a “to-do” list, but rather exists above any role and resides in the “to-be” part of our character. It requires wisdom and discernment to know when to make the odd exception to the rules. All day at Wayside we run around solving problems in order to meet people, never the other way around. A person is never a means to an end, but the way to a new beginning. If you ever have a moment, come and grab a cuppa from the Community Cafe and quietly observe the magic happen.

As circumstances change, we can easily judge ourselves as failures, or perhaps others can judge us that way. My mum’s pride shifted last year when a new, and younger Indian man became the PM in Britain. Suddenly nearly a billion of us were judged by an unattainable standard! Stories can change overnight. I shared a cup of tea with a man who quietly moves around the building caring for others with a tenderness that belies his many years lost in addiction, following years of abuse. His story is a changed one, where the past is losing its ability to drag him back and is now his resource for his never-failing love for others. He is a wounded healer, and it is sight to behold him at work quietly behind the scenes.

Our vision of creating a world where love wins over hate is alive in him, as he learns to navigate the narrow ledge between self-hate and hubris, and we’re all the more human because of him.

Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle,


Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel

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