Dear Inner Circle,
It's unusual for a young person to make an appointment to see me but a cute
little sausage made an appointment this week. It was a joy to clap eyes on such
a beautiful creature and to know that she'd thought enough to make an appointment
and to keep it. I was expecting this little girl to pour her heart out but she'd
taken ice and was in a confused state. I thought that there was no chance
of a sensible conversation and then she put both her hands out for me to hold
and she asked me to pray. This was a most unusual act for a girl who's spent half
her life in s*x work. We held hands in a most gentle way and yet she'd reached
deep into my chest and pulled my heart onto our joined hands. I was captured
by her breathtaking beauty and my heart broke for a little girl who was entering
a psychosis from which she may never return. We were in a public place and
while the moment passed quickly, I've not quite been the same since.
It was one of those moments when I felt like I was a father, unable to make
any contribution to the moment except to see and know that something
very precious was in danger of being lost.
I guess this dear girl seeks to dull her pain through her use of drugs. I've had
many people, especially alcoholics, tell me that it is oblivion that they seek.
I kind of get it. There is an oblivion that doesn't destroy the self. There is an oblivion
that is right and holy. It is the act of knowing that my essence is not located in me,
but located between me and you. I reckon Buddhists know this truth and I'm sure
it is what Jesus meant when he said, "Who saves his life will lose it and who loses
his life will save it". Oooops, we're on holy ground; it must be close to Easter.
Yesterday, I spoke at an event called the Battle of the Big Thinking.
I sat on stage next to Rev Tim Costello (CEO of World Vision) and just
before we spoke, he leaned across and said, "How did we think this might
have been a good idea?" He took the words right out of my mouth.
Neither he nor I related to the context of "competition". My anxiety was
all about keeping to the strict time. To my surprise I won the community
section of the day and then to my great fright, I won the whole day!
What made the day was that in the crowd was a group from UrsaClemenger,
the advertising agency that looks after us, who came to support me
(at $800 a ticket, there were no Wayside people there). It made my day
to know that some of the beautiful team were at Wayside following
progress on Twitter and dancing around the table for joy as the wins
were announced. It made my day to see my daughter sending messages
to Facebook and Twitter because she was proud of her old father -
who may not be funny but did at least pull this off yesterday.
My big idea was that there is no single person; that humans are hard wired
as relational beings; that to reduce humanity to "one" is to violate the
very essence of what it means to be human. The minimum number in the
basic human unit is at least two. So the word "I" could only ever refer
to half of something. We in the west love the idea of the "power of one"
but it is a total illusion. So, there is no such thing as success except shared
success and there is no such thing as failure except shared failure. The joy
of yesterday was that it was shared by the Wayside team, by our friends
at UrsaClemenger, by my daughter and my best friend and wife, Robyn.
These people have stood with me in times of failure and to see them rejoice
in a success fills me with joy.
We have a brief church service on Good Friday at 10am and on Sunday
as usual at 10am. Remember, we're not much like a church which might
suit you if you're not much like a christian.
Thanks for taking the time to read this note and for being part
of our inner circle,
Rev Graham Long
The Wayside Chapel