Dear Inner Circle,
Getting into my car on Sunday, a well dressed lady knocked on the window, "Are you the Wayside Chapel?" (So many funny responses were possible; I wanted to say, 'No, I'm Fred Nile and I'm just here to monitor iniquity.') O well, so much for a quick get a way! I got out of the car and the lady asked if we could walk and talk. Aristotle favoured the 'walk and talk' thing and although it was a bit odd, I thought the peripatetic thing might be ok. We paused on the corner of Hughes and Macleay and while I didn't think I was making much of Aristotle's method, I don't think the ancient master ever left his phone and wallet in an unlocked car. The conversation began with a trivial incident that had occurred with her neighbour. By the time we'd reached the corner, we were talking about a life long pattern of relationships that ended in self blame. Tears were streaming down the lady's face. I'd never seen this person before and expect that I never will again. I can't imagine what I might have said that was helpful but she gave me a big hug and walked down towards Woolies. This whole episode took place in only minutes and the phone and the wallet were still in the car upon my return.
A lovely friend took me gliding yesterday. We got towed up to 3,000 feet and then went looking for air that would uplift us further. The pilot said at one stage, "Your aircraft" and I had a sick feeling that he meant that I was in control. He then clapped his hands to prove that he wasn't touching the controls. I wanted to yell, "You fool!" but no noise was possible out of my mouth. The pilot soon had control and we silently flew around Camden on a bright, clear, beautiful day. What a fabulous gift my friend made to me. As we went to sleep I whispered to Robyn, "You reckon we could afford a glider?" She muttered, "I knew it!" "Just kidding" I said. She's been waiting for me to grow up for 40 years.
A young couple made an appointment to see me and it turned out that they wanted to both make certain confessions to one another. She was a dancer but her job required other duties. It was a moment of pain that had both young people trembling as they talked and listened. Once this truth was revealed the young man revealed his own secret that was just as tough to endure as her revelation. Both young people are quite damaged and both are quite ambitious and keen to make their way in life. They took a referral to a counsellor that I trust but as they left me, I was both inspired by their brave bringing of truth to one another and overwhelmed by all the issues that they face. These were both good looking kids who were well dressed and to look at them, you'd never guess the pain that they were carrying.
I'm writing this early in the morning and by the time you read this, I'll be on my way to Adelaide to visit my Mum. I have't seen Mum since she went into care some months ago. The family went through agony over this move for Mum but from the moment she arrived, she loved it. I'll be back to Wayside for Sunday.
For the past 12 months, a dear little old lady has given me $2 every week. Every week she's handed it to me and said, "This is brick money". Last week she made her way over to me out the front of our building and gave me $2 and her usual line about brick money. I told her that the new building was finished and that I didn't really need her to be giving me any more money for bricks. "You're not going to be able to run the building on fresh air darling" she said as she insisted that I took the money. What a lovely old thing!
thanks for being part of our inner circle,Graham
Rev Graham Long
The Wayside Chapel
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NB: from Geoff Thompson.I apologise for the cuts at the end of sentences. Not sure why this happens. All looks ok in edit mode. My guess is you can still make some sense of it anyway.