Inner Circle


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Dear Inner Circle,


A 13-year-old boy came to Wayside with his Mum yesterday. He had just completed his Bar Mitzvah and had chosen to give the money raised on the occasion to Wayside. Not only so but he had managed to get a lot of toiletries and other things that we love here and I had the honour of meeting him and accepting this gift. I really enjoyed sharing something of how important a Bar Mitzvah is to a Jewish family and I was keen to hear all that was required of him for the event and what it meant to him. Religious or not, you have to admit that the Jewish people know how to do this rite of passage placing both a burden and a large parcel of dignity onto young, developing shoulders. Thank you Benjamin, “Son of my right hand”. If you keep your faith married to your sense of compassion for humanity, you will indeed be a blessing to your religious community and to Australia.

A rare breed of man sat in my office this morning. I have his permission to tell this story. This is a man with a superior intellect who has made much wealth because of his ability to analyse a situation and then act according to reason. Rare indeed. Most of us use our intellect to rationalise what we have already done. So this fellow has a younger brother who married a woman who is by any measure, narcissistic. He has watched his brother collapse from being a fun-loving fellow to a hollowed-out shell as he attempts to meet the impossible demands of his wife. The brother has gone without many things while the wife has a shoe collection that requires its own room. The bottom line is that my friend, after careful analysis, had decided that his brother should leave his wife. He expressed his view to his brother, and as a result the relationship with the brother is close to collapse. The older brother cannot understand why his younger brother wouldn’t be responsive to the application of his considerable intellect. Once the analysis is made, what possible cause could there be not to act? The older brother was frustrated and cranky that his intellect could not prevail over this situation.

Never come to me if you want counselling. I told the older man that his analysis and his feelings had no relevance to this situation. If his brother loved his wife, the discussion was over. Now the older man was motivated by love for his brother and it hurt him to see the life drain away from his brother. The older brother had to see that his choice was to cut his brother off if he could not bear the pain, or to bear the pain and to keep the door open for the day that his brother might need his support. We’ve forgotten in our day how redemptive is the act of bearing pain. Wounds become wisdom and wisdom in the end, wins. Many times at Wayside, I look into a face and see amazing beauty that is completely unrecognised by the owner of the face. Many times I see someone lose all their teeth in just six months, totally changing the look of their face. Many times I see someone go mad under the influence of some substance. Many times I see someone on a mission to destroy their life and while they are busy throwing it away, there isn’t a thing I can do about it but bear the pain. I often look into faces that think all their problems would be solved if I could only give them $20. There isn’t much more painful than only having love to offer, when only magic is wanted. The danger of working at Wayside is that we might one day cease to feel the pain. The danger is that people would only become problems to be solved, instead of being people to be met. The older brother today may well shut the door on his brother because he cannot bear the pain but he would be wiser to keep the door open and look with love and agony into his brother’s face. One day, maybe, love will trump whatever nasty game is being played. One day, someone will want to live more than they want to hang on to hurt. The “one day” comes. It happens here regularly.

“It’s funny how most conversations around here finish with, ‘anyway’” said a lovely bloke just a few minutes ago. I guess what he meant was, “It’s funny how few people listen to me around here”. We went to the chapel to get away from the competing voices and he told me of serious, even perhaps terminal, medical problems. The problems are so complicated and so serious, that I can see why around here many conversations might finish with, “anyway” as people wouldn’t know how to acknowledge the depth of fear and despair in the man’s voice. On my exit back to my office a skinny little girl threw her arms around me and said, “I love you so much Graham, you’re the best”. “You’re only human,” I said. My mate from the chapel burst into laughter in a way that lifted him and me. So looking over my shoulder to him, I said, “Anyway, I have to get to my office and do some work.”

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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