Thursday, October 25, 2012
From the Wayside Chapel by Graham Long
Dear Inner Circle,
Sitting in the warming morning sun on Sunday out the front of our building, two young women walked past. Both looked like they'd just had a busy night and had not yet slept. Both women would have been in their late teens or early twenties. Both were very pretty. One had pale skin with a short skirt that revealed lovely legs. She wore a long blond wig. Although her face was pretty, there was something quite sad about it. The other young woman was also pretty but she looked like she'd been spray painted. I'm sure she looked glamorous in the context for which she had herself spray painted but in the bright light of Sunday morning, she looked a bit like a person with cancer in the liver, just before they die. Her very pretty face was heavily made up and on her eyelids were stuck little plastic shiny things that my grandchildren would call, "treasure". They walked right past me and then spray paint girl stopped, came back and sat beside me. "I reckon you could pray for me," she said. "Are you feeling a bit burdened?" I asked. "What would I be burdened about?" she said with an annoyed tone. I said, "Well, to be young and pretty can be a burden". Her mood changed and she poured her heart out right there on our front bench. She finished by saying, "I wish I was old and fat and ugly and then no-one would hit on me ever again." I held her bright orange hand and prayed, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" and said the blessing of Aaron and when I finished she said, "That was really cool" and she joined her friend who was waiting about ten feet away and they walked toward the main drag of Kings Cross.
Yesterday, OPSM sent a team of about 11 or 12 people who set up in our community hall and tested people's eye sight all day. I discovered that the man who initiated this incredible gift is a member of this inner circle. One of the technicians told me that about 80% of the people they tested needed help. One of the people they treated more or less lives in an old car and they told me that he was as blind as a bat and no one could believe that he was driving on our roads. When I popped into the hall I was very moved to see people whose stories I know, actually acting to improve their life and health in this way. Thank you, OPSM.
Claudia Karvan told me that she's working along side David Wenham. I forget what the project is but I'm a bit happy to think that two of this country's finest actors, both Wayside ambassadors, will be working together. You would think that one of them would find an opportunity for an unscripted sneeze where instead of saying, "Achoo" they said, "Wayside"! OK, not all my ideas are practical.
There is a darling lady whom I call, Saint Interuptus who for years has attended our little church service on Sundays. She constantly interjects in the service but with good humour and sometimes with great insight. She's become too frail to even walk from my car door to the front door of Wayside and so we've missed her in recent months. Just to keep us humble though, the Almighty has brought us another lovely woman who constantly interjects, not with the same humour as Saint Interuptus but with about 10 times the volume. I call her, Our Lady of Loud. When we pray the Our Father, she particularly objects to the phrase, "Lead us not into temptation" and we get a loud interjection on that every week. This week, I told her to listen more carefully and she'll hear that we are praying, "Lead us not to Tempe Station." It's a prayer about not catching the wrong train. Our Lady of Loud is a sweet lady. She's alive and she's here and she wants everyone to know and without a doubt she is making our lives richer. She has a beautiful heart and literally weeps for people who suffer around the world.
Four or five years ago I was part of some dreaming that said that one day we'd build a building where the community would want to come and be involved with Wayside. We were serious about our dreaming although it did feel a little like a "one day I'll own a Ferrari" type vision. Last Sunday, 35 members of the community spent a good while in our rooftop garden as part of an urban food safari hosted by Wayside ambassador Indira Naidoo and Tim Peterson from Cafe Dov. So many people thanked Wayside for being a part of their community and something of which they are proud. I don't think there are many times in life when you can have a dream and live long enough to see it embodied before your eyes but Sunday was such a day. A big thanks to Indira and Tim for organising the event and raising over $2500 for Wayside. You can see photos from the day here.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, we have an information night tonight at 6pm. You'll hear an overview of what we do and the roles available for volunteers. You can register to attend by filling out this online form. The people on the front desk will direct you to the fourth floor and you'll be on your way in 90 minutes maximum.
Another busy week and another opportunity to thank you for taking time to read about our work. Thanks for being part of this inner circle,
Rev Graham Long
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel
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