Inner Circle


Thursday, 24 September 2015

Dear Inner Circle,


Standing on the footpath and talking to some of our visitors, a well-dressed man walked up with a warm smile and said, “Do you remember me?” I replied, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you before in my life.” He gave me a friendly punch on my upper arm and said, “You’re a character!” Apparently I’m a character, with dementia.

It was dark when I left last night and there were a lot of people around. Our Twilight Team had their hands full. It took me a while, as it always does, to be out of the front door and walking up the road. A young, fit looking man who has been around Wayside for a couple of months came up to me. He’s a friendly, likeable bloke, and although we have greeted each other several times, I know nothing of his back story. In passing I said, “Are you sleeping rough tonight?” “Yeah,” he said and a wave of despair came over him. He put his arms around me. In my arms his voice broke and he said so that only I could hear, “I’m so sick of waking up.”

First thing this morning a delightful Aboriginal woman greeted me by saying, “Good morning Mr Celebrity”. I hadn’t seen this woman for some months but she’s someone you only need to meet once to be deeply met and changed. I remember our first encounter when I was immediately arrested by her beauty and presence. The lady was keen to show me her new phone. Eventually I interrupted to say, “If I’m the celebrity, how come my phone isn’t as good as your phone?” She laughed, kissed me on the cheek and said, “You just need to be patient Darling”.

The best sense of humour in Australia resides in our first people. Magda Szubanski has just written a book that claims that humour is born from suffering. She speaks of humour as being “the lotus flower that grows out of mud”. It seems that we are yet too close to our frontier history to acknowledge its existence. We can’t see the mud and so we miss the lotus flower. I’ve been in a group of Aboriginal people who’ve fallen into helpless laughter over a simple physical mannerism. I drove a group of six Aboriginal people once from Wayside to Wellington. We were stopped twice by police on that trip who checked my licence and the roadworthiness of our Wayside vehicle. Early in the trip, one of the people told us that they were tired because they’d been up reading the night before until 3am. The next question was, “Did you have the light on?” That led the van into an uninterrupted stream of belly laughter that lasted for the best part of three hours and was not interrupted at all by the police who observed us, doing their best to be alert but not alarmed.

Today we say farewell to a giant. A man who suffered mightily but who embodied a wisdom that won the respect of everyone. He never once judged others or projected his hurt on anyone. He lived with a poor body that bravely carried him until last week when he died at 43 years of age. It’s a tough day for us but we’ll mourn, speak, pay tribute, honour and thank God that we ever had such a treasure.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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