Thursday, 27 June 2013
Dear Inner Circle,
Allow me to provide a distraction to the musical chairs they're playing in Canberra.
There aren't words to convey what it takes to stand with a mum and dad who bury their adored son. It is to be in agony like no other and at the same moment it's a high honour to be trusted to guide a family through such a time. This was a good looking man who should have been in the prime of his life. He had battled the black dog and addiction for many years and the battle was lost just days ago. It's not a story of deprivation or damage inflicted by others but one of loving parents and sisters and especially aunties who loved until past the point that most could endure and then they loved some more. Part of the agony for me is knowing that each of these dear people will worry for a long time about whether their love was enough. But the depth of their love was evidenced in their dignified presence in the face of such loss. I would run as fast as I could to avoid a day like yesterday and yet I count it an honour higher than all others to stand with people at such a time and I will treasure the memory of this shared pain.
Walking away from Wayside in the dark the other night, I got as far as Macleay St when one of our regular visitors waved from the other side of the road. It looked a bit like the wave was urgent and I know this dear old sausage to be quite unwell. The traffic was quite mad but I got half way across the road and stood with cars passing both sides of me and at that point I began to hear his voice above the traffic yelling, "Reverend!" I finally made it through the traffic and looked intently into his face, wondering if he was in pain. "Reverend" he said, "good night". That was it! It really is liberating and fulfilling to know that saying "good night" was such an important event for this lovely old bloke.
Last night I spent some time with a young woman who has struggled with many things. She gave birth to a gorgeous girl two weeks ago and she is a good mum. The entrance of this girl into the world is a transformative event for the mother and her sisters and her father, with whom she is living. Wayside is standing with this family in any way that we can because it would be easy for the authorities to remove this child from its young mother but we're betting on the authenticity of the miracle that is happening before our eyes.
It's the last week of the financial year and the most important week for every charity in this country. This is the week to take stock of your life situation and see if there is room to share something with others who need a hand. Robyn and I have just doubled our personal support to Wayside (our preferred charity - no surprise). Please, this week more than any other, add to your life by subtracting from your bank balance. Wayside's income is 80% from non-government sources so we fail or flourish depending on the generosity of people this week. You can donate here. No more mention of money until Christmas.
Thank you so much for taking time to hear of the work of Wayside and for being part of our inner circle,
Rev. Graham Long
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel
Click here to listen to podcasts of past Inner Circle's, aired on ABC 702's 'Afternoons with James Valentine'
Be sure to follow Graham on Twitter if you have an account; @waysidepastor
Previous Inner Circles
Thursday, 20 June: You cannot take what can only be given