Inner Circle


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Dear Inner Circle,

The Governor of NSW, General David Hurley, put a medal on my chest last Friday afternoon and proclaimed it official – I have Amazing Mates. I requested that I be allowed 15,000 guests at the ceremony but was strictly limited to three. Having Robyn, my daughter, Mandy, and my eldest granddaughter, Paityn at my side meant the world to me. I made one mistake on the day. I told my daughter to book us into the kind of restaurant I would normally avoid so that for this one occasion, we wouldn’t worry about the cost. My daughter took us to a place that was not only a cultural shock, but I may need counselling for some months yet. The menu on one side had a lot of choices, none of which I understood. The other side of the menu was called “Devastation” or something similar. It’s the only time I’ve seen a menu that anticipates the moment when you get the bill. With this choice, you are served everything on the page. A couple of times I was served a large plate with what looked like a small pile of bird seed with a few squirts of something that didn’t look like food. I asked our waiter what it was that was on my plate but he answered me in French. I don’t speak French but I’m pretty sure he told me that my plate had been put into a bird cage for an hour and then the contents were arranged by their star chef. He then said, “Bon Appetite” which being translated from French means, “Our bird wasn’t very well today”.

In the morning on the same day I went to the intensive care unit at Prince of Wales Hospital where one of our dearest Aboriginal friends was dying. Our Senior Aboriginal Worker, Mon, was already at his bedside. Mon’s tenderness with our brother stopped me in my tracks. I’d already had a busy day with quite a big day ahead but I stopped, captured by the awesome sight of love. Our dear brother was a dark-skinned, handsome-faced man who somehow carried thousands of years of pride, hurt and wisdom in his face. He was weak and near his end. His eyes still connected even though he had trouble holding up his head. He gestured for me to come close and I put my ear right up to his mouth. “Pray for me,” he said. I cupped his beautiful face into my hands and said, “Unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and present you faultless, before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy…” It was a precious moment. By now Mon’s tears were flowing; beautiful, precious tears that proved that we didn’t “deliver services to a client” but rather we “loved a dear brother”. For a moment there was no time. The dream time, and heaven to come, all converged into this present moment. In due course Mon and I left the man in the care of his mother and we returned to Wayside. I reckon we returned to Wayside different in some way. Neither of us could say what it was that we had received but both of us had gained something that we hitherto did not have. The only word I can think of is “presence”.

Do you think I was more honoured on Friday morning or Friday afternoon?

A friend of mine landed a pretty good job this week. While I’m happy for Malcolm, the last job I’d ever want is the one that everyone in the country believes they could do better if they had a chance. I never encourage people to vote in any particular direction. I know Tania Plibersek to be an inspiring and capable leader and I’m not shy to say so in company. I know Anthony Albanese to be a thoroughly good man and I’m happy to attest to it. I know Malcolm in a different light than most. I know him to work harder than most would think possible. I know his love for Lucy is an inspiring story in itself. I know they are generous by any definition and no matter what their personal wealth might be. I know Malcolm and Lucy have been to Wayside often without cameras or anything to gain except to make a gift to this community. People have been ringing me with instructions to pass on to Malcolm. I promise that he never has and never will consult me to find out how to run the country and for that, Australia can be truly thankful.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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