Inner Circle


Thursday, 5 May 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

Some faces have a way of reaching right into your heart. This morning such a face made time stand still. In an instant, I saw the whole world in the light of the face of an Aboriginal man. He carried the history and pride of his people, present in his face. A gentle and softly spoken man who is normally slow to make eye contact, this morning he walked right up to me with his hand out. “Welcome back,” he said. “I made you this bookmark.” He handed me a knitted woollen thread, made in Aboriginal colours. I’ve been away for a month and I couldn’t hope for a better homecoming than this.

At the front door this morning a young fellow stood, looking a bit lost. He was doing his best to look as tough as possible. His head was shaved leaving a strip down the middle, mohawk style. His body was moving as if he was trying to avoid punches while his head remained steady. He was smoking heavily so that his head remained in a permanent cloud and through the haze his eyes managed to appear both penetrating or perhaps threatening, yet at the same time rather vague. I shook his hand but I wanted to put my arms around him. “I haven’t seen you for at least a year,” I said. “I’ve been in gaol,” he replied. “Wow”, I said, “Are you keen now to make a new path?” “If the cops leave me alone,” he told me. “I came close to punching a cop this morning”. It’s impossible to unpack years of suffering in just a few minutes. I told him that no one wanted to attack him here at Wayside and so he didn’t need to be a tough guy here. I told him that I’d been away for a month and spoke about some of the places I’d been visiting. He grunted like he was bored with our conversation but showed mild interest when I told him that I’d been to Auschwitz. I asked if he’d like to see some of the photos on my phone and he actually said yes. That’s my breakthrough for the morning. It’s not exactly life changing but it was a softening in a hurting young man and it was real. I’ll go down as soon as I’ve written this and show him some photos.

Also at the front this morning was a group of four men and one woman who were glad to see me back at Wayside. I knew two of the men but the other three were strangers to me. They explained that they were all sleeping rough but that they’d formed a supportive bond and each was looking out for the others. It looked like they were genuinely protecting the woman in a way that kept her from the many dangers that exist for a woman sleeping rough. They were all white except for one Aboriginal man. He was a quiet man and he looked a little worse for wear. He had a long beard and a face that carried some injuries and yet he exuded a gentle and kind nature. The other four clearly loved this fellow and they all addressed him with deep respect as, “Uncle”. In a moment that didn’t seem to make much sense in the context of our discussion, the Aboriginal man broke into a chorus of, “I like to move it, move it.” Everyone burst into laughter and all four affirmed how much they loved their companion.

So, I’m back. I’ve been to France, Belgium, Poland, Italy and Switzerland in the past month. The last two inner circles were written from Europe and sent out from Wayside. It was such an unexpected honour to see so much of the world and it’s wonderful beyond my capacity to express, to have a place and a community to whom I belong and with whom I’m keen to share life. My precious daughter, my precious granddaughters, my beautiful woollen bookmark; precious in the world is Wayside and the team of people who make it what it is; these are the things I value above all else and it’s good to be home.

And, precious indeed is this inner circle, thank you.


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


28 April: Lest we forget

21 April: I've seen into the abyss

14 April: Colourful language

7 April: Poetic licence

31 March: Happy in the Cross

24 March: Easter

17 March: A party mix

10 March: The intimacy of everything

3 March: An unusual look

25 February: He ain't heavy

18 February: Tears of laughter and sadness

11 February: Wisdom is a tricky business

4 February: A wave from The Wayside Chapel

28 January: Some long distance loving

21 January: No time for judgement


17 December: Last note for 2015

10 December: Sanity Clause if coming to town

3 December: It's all about the presence

26 November: The joy of not knowing

19 November: The curse of perfectionism

12 November: To speak is to act

5 November: My cup runneth over

29 October: Prophet and loss

22 October: Finding yourself in a magical team

15 October: A silly question

8 October: Surprised by the joy

1 October: Being dead right

24 September: A day by the Wayside

17 September: It's a gold rush

10 September: The psychology of onions

3 September: Life comes from without

27 August: Surprised by the beautiful

20 August: Light shining through the cracks

13 August: A matter of balance

6 August: Recognising a gift

30 July: Your weakly note

23 July: 'A thing' from the Wayside

16 July: The future is calling

9 July: In love with some Dame

2 July: Better days ahead

25 June: Something funny, something beautiful

18 June: Seeing what's there

11 June: Amazing mates

4 June: There's a time and a place

28 May: The weight and the joy of being a neighbour

21 May: You're invited

14 May: Laughing, lying and loving

7 May: The awesome in the ordinary

30 April: Wayside light

23 April: Priceless gifts, freely given

16 April: Good news from the Wayside is great news

9 April: Awesome

2 April: Easter by the Wayside

26 March: Thankful for little things

19 March: A few minutes in the cross

12 March: Seeing what isn't there

5 March : A tour like no other

26 February: Tough love

19 February: Puffing or building

12 February: The two shall become two

5 February: Chest pains

29 January: Shear joy

22 January 2015: Fully alive

15 January 2015: Blessed interruptions

8 January 2015: A glimpse of glory


18 December 2014: Christmas hat in hand

11 December 2014: A little season of goodwill

4 December 2014: There was nothing silent about that night

27 November 2014: It's not about feeling better

20 November 2014: Gathering Moss

13 November 2014: Love the land, love the people

6 November 2014: The power of presence

30 October 2014: Paralysed by presence

23 October 2014: The joy of sight

16 October 2014: The best medicine

9 October 2014: Who would have guessed?

2 October 2014: There's no such thing as a terrorist

21 August: Saving souls

14 August: Squeaking out

7 August: A time for turning

31 July: You're okay

24 July: Happy tears

17 July: Let's aim higher

10 July: Gristle and good

3 July: The joy of not knowing

26 June: If not now, when? If not me, who?

12 June: Longing for riches

5 June: When you least expect it

22 May: Finding home

15 May: Flying

8 May: Tests, triumps and tissues

1 May: Skuse the French

24 April: Lifting the curtain

17 April: Collective love

10 April: Cardiac arrest

3 April: Awe struck

27 March: You're invited to something special

20 March: Rather a prohet than a loss

13 March: It's all happening at the wayside

6 March: Love makes all the difference

27 February: What goes around

20 February: The joy of being empty handed

13 February: Loving the growth spurts

6 February: Mighty glad to be back by the wayside

23 January: Some criminals have class

16 January: Wonderful surprises

9 January: Ready, set


19 December: Thanks for an awesome year

12 December: Mission and wishin'

5 December: The ups and downs and all is well

28 November: Kissed by the community

21 November: Our cup runneth over

14 November: A revelation from wayside

7 November: When excrement happens

31 October: I am therefore I think

24 October: We are surrounded by heroes

17 October: When you least suspect

26 September: A wayside wobbly

19 September: Knowing a gift

12 September: Advancing at the retreat

5 September: A little dose of good

29 August: Fighting with a feather

22 August: The boom is just beginning

15 August: True riches

8 August: Small is beautiful

1 August: Sensitive people miss all the best views

25 July: A whole lot going on at wayside

18 July: Kings Cross a place of courage

27 June: Holy ground

20 June: You cannot take what can only be given



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