Inner Circle


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Dear Inner Circle,

The more we become masters of experience, the less is our power to enter into relation. We live in an age that has turned our spirit into a means of enjoyment for the self. That which ought to be supple and flexible, to make connections with others, has hardened and divided the world into the realm of feelings and the realm of all other things. Our ingrown spirits, like ingrown toenails, keep us focused upon that which, if we were well, would be of no consequence. With our heads up our bums, constantly analysing how we feel about matters past, we become easy as sheep to manage and we’re inclined to buy anything or sign up for anything when someone proclaims, “I’m excited”.

There is nothing much more human than a conversation. Believe it or not, I think they are a rare thing. There is a lot of “syllable exchange” – you give me 20 syllables and I’ll give you 20 syllables and we’ll be satisfied while the count is even. There is no lack of talking, selling, sharing of how we feel, telling off and unloading, but not a lot of conversation. I’ve become quite used to sitting in a group where people are facing one another and conducting three of four unrelated chats. What a miracle when among all the talk, a conversation takes place. I had a conversation with a young man yesterday who walked into my office and said, “I’ve lost my ‘mojo’”. We began with the familiar theme of, “If I don’t feel good, something must be dreadfully wrong”. As he extracted his focus from his inner life and we looked around, it became clear that an important relationship was rocky and needed some investigation and repair. I believe this young man couldn’t diagnose his troubled relationship because he couldn’t entertain the idea that it might end, yet he was almost already blaming himself for the failure that was yet to occur, or which might never occur.

I had a conversation with a miracle man today. Born into alcoholism, this man never knew a life except on the streets. He was born on a park bench and hung around Kings Cross as a little kid. Some of the famous criminals of yesteryear took this little kid under their wing and showed him the only care he’d ever known. Today he’s a reformed alcoholic and living a wonderfully full life. He’s doing so well that he’s able to talk to me about the life that he’s left behind. With a background that is totally bleak, he has a lively sense that he is only understood by where he’s going rather than where he’s been. He’s secure enough to tell me that he used to go through bins and empty cans of beer into other cans until he had enough to swallow. He even told me how sometimes people put their cigarette butts into their used cans and he was so desperate that he drank it anyway. What a story of recovery we have witnessed! At Wayside this year we’re supporting Bill Crew’s Recovery Walk. We’ll screen an amazing film at Wayside on Wednesday 9 September at 6:30pm called, "The Anonymous People”. I haven’t seen the film yet but Bill tells me that it is one of the most moving things he’s ever seen. Then on Sunday 16 September, there is a walk organised by Bill from Customs House at Circular Quay, stopping at Parliament House for speeches and then finishing in the Domain where Exodus will provide lunch for all the walkers. I will be on a plane to Magnetic Island to do a wedding but this walk is very much in my heart and I highly recommend you join in if you can. Wayside will support Bill this year, and in the coming years, in the hope that we can saturate this city with the message that life doesn’t have to end in addiction. There is much that can be done and miracles are all around us.

Showing someone around Wayside yesterday, we came across some people working in the garden on our roof. What a wonderful environment has been created up on our roof. We got chatting to some folks, one of whom was keen to tell me a joke. It’s dangerous to tell me a joke. I never memorise jokes but if you tell me one, it seems to spark off a category of similar jokes. So we shared a couple of jokes that were not dreadful but still not the kind you’d tell in the company of my mother. My visitor said to the person gardening, “It’s kind of hard to believe that this is your ‘Reverend’”. As he was laughing, the man replied, “Well, we all think that if God accepts him, we’ve got half a chance too.”

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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