Inner Circle


Thursday, 28 January 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

In an unusual week, I’m writing this note from Adelaide. The next few days we’ll spend catching up with my dear old Mum. Visiting a dementia ward is a difficult exercise. I can’t help but think that modern science is making us all live too long. In Mum’s ward, few people want to be there. Most want to live in a life now long gone and only dimly remembered. One dear old lady who is 105 in Mum’s place said to me once, “Growing old is not for wimps”. Another lovely old lady in her nineties is a bit inclined to find male visitors attractive and she will confidentially tell them, “I’m going to have your baby.” Although Mum doesn’t remember who I am, if you put her in front of a piano, she can play beautifully and sing all the words to the songs she loved years ago. It will be sad when that skill is lost too. The little frail frame is still my Mum. She’s still gentle and kind. She still has a tone of voice that belonged to my Mum. She still looks around her and finds plenty to love even if it all feels unfamiliar to her. I will treasure our time this week even though it will reaffirm my sense that there are much worse things in life than death. There is a time to go and when Mum’s time comes, I’ll celebrate an awesome life and celebrate a long-awaited release.

After conducting a wedding on Monday, I jumped onto a plane to Melbourne and from there drove to the Murray Shire just over the river from Echuca. For some years now I’ve been an Australia Day ambassador which means I travel to a rural community and share in their celebrations for Australia Day. It’s an honour and a joy to enter into the life of a place that is so different from Kings Cross and The Wayside Chapel. A few hundred people gathered in a beautiful park in the land of the Yorta Yorta people. As I was speaking a massive truck drove past and a pig on board made such a loud squeal that it shocked me for a moment. Someone yelled out, “I bet you don’t get squealing pigs in trucks in Kings Cross.” It got a good laugh. Actually we had quite a few laughs as we celebrated a “warts and all” Australia but affirmed with each other that the best citizen is one who constantly ponders, “How can I help?”

Congratulations to our one and only Chantal who received an OAM on Australia Day for volunteering with us for over 30 years. To be awarded an honour in the Order of Australia is the highest honour our country can bestow on a citizen and how fitting and lovely is it that such faithful service be recognised in this way.

I’ll be back on Saturday evening ready for my Wayside Sunday. The text for our 11am church service at Kings Cross is, “If I speak in tongues of men and angels but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” It is the favourite text of our beloved Saint Interruptus, so I’m expecting a lot of fun. Come and join us. We’re not much like a church and it might work for you if you’re not much like a Christian.

Last week I decided to postpone a difficult task and instead sit in our café for 30 minutes. I joined a table of three men and we chatted our way around the world and cracked a few jokes. We just enjoyed 30 minutes together. I knew that all three men had very serious issues with which they were doing battle but this moment was just fun. I’ve had two emails and one phone call from the men since, just to thank me for the time we spent. Wow, it’s easy to forget just how simple it is to make someone’s day.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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