Inner Circle


Thursday, 25 February 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

Heroin appears to be purer than it has been in recent times with the shocking consequence of overdose and death. A young bloke was with us yesterday, making real progress and expressing hope because he could begin to believe in a constructive path ahead. This morning he died. I sat with staff who openly wept. Apologies were offered to me for the tears, but in truth, if ever what was best about Wayside could be materialised and bottled, it would be those tears.

We take things personally here. If we were losing 'clients', perhaps we’d be less hurt by our losses but when we lose someone, we lose a ‘brother' or a ‘sister'. Another staff member was in my office just minutes ago, struggling to come to terms with this particular loss. He told me that the deceased man had last night asked him for a cigarette on his way home. The staff member roused him for putting him in a situation where he was asking him to break a Wayside rule, but he gave him a cigarette anyway. It was probably his last cigarette. Our staff member may have been off side with our rules but he was right in the centre of wisdom. It’s not often a staff member shares with me that he found comfort in breaking our policies.

A small group of us went to the beach on the weekend to scatter some ashes to honour the last wishes of two people who died in recent months. It sounds rather romantic to have your ashes scattered at a beach but there are some practical considerations that cause the reality to much less romantic than the idea. Large unpredictable waves and strong winds blowing in our faces plus slippery rocks all made this an interesting exercise. At least one of us went home, “dusty”. On our way back to Wayside, a fellow who had been in a foul mood on the way to the beach just poured out his heart. He told us that the task of scattering his friend’s ashes was a most difficult task that weighed heavily upon him. He wanted to honour the wishes of his friend but hated having to face the truth that his friend had gone. On the way home he expressed great relief that he’d completed the task. To my surprise, he said a couple of times that, “a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders”. I just thought he was a cranky pants and it wasn’t until we headed home that I realised that we’d done a very important thing. Thank goodness we formed a little circle on those slippery rocks while I said a prayer and we honoured the two folk that we’d recently lost.

I apologise for the heavy nature of the note this week. Sometimes the way is heavy. One of our volunteers lost her husband this week. He was a pedestrian, knocked over by a car. Our volunteer is a person who delivers grace just through her face. She never has to say anything or do much because grace fills the room and our hearts when she arrives. She volunteers as part of the bacon and egg team on Tuesdays and her husband used to jump in at times when we were short of a hand. Our bacon and egg team will carry this weight for some time. They served burgers again this week with all the usual care and they kept a brisk pace but a message too deep for words was also expressed. Watery eyes and hugs all expressed our willingness but also our great honour of bearing one another’s pain.

There is no fairy floss in our mission yet we still find joy. We do have balloon and streamers moments and we do laugh. A dear man told me that he’s been invited to a formal party and it was his plan to go dressed as a frog. I guess he will be a formal frog. I asked him a bit about his plan and he told me that there is bound to be woman at the party who might think that if she kissed him, he’d turn into a prince. I love this bloke. If you find yourself at a formal party soon and there is a shortish man unusually dressed, I urge any ladies in this inner circle to give him a kiss and see if any magic happens.

Thanks for being part of this inner circle,


PS. There is lots going on in Kings Cross this weekend. We'll be at the markets on Saturday doing the last photo shoot for the next Wayside book. Drop in from 9am to 2pm to have your photo taken. We'll also have a presence at the activities happening as part of the Kings Cross festival on Saturday night and Sunday. Find out more here.

Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Be sure to follow Graham on Twitter if you have an account; @waysidepastor

Previous Inner Circles


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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