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Thursday, November 29, 2012

From the Wayside Chapel by Graham Long

Dear Inner Circle,

Two little girls sitting in the back seat of my car were in discussion about what the rudest word in the world might be. Eventually they decided that the word was "cr*p". They agreed that the word was so rude that only a parent could say it and then only if they dropped their phone. The five year old said, "Wow, so if you're a kid and you drop your phone, all you can say is, 'Oh, I dropped the phone.'" I happen to know that the girls' mummy dropped her phone about a week ago and I've got a fair idea of what she said at the time.

Yesterday, I had an appointment waiting for me at a local cafe and I needed to get out of the building without being caught at the front. I decided to exit via the Op Shop then into the back alley and then out through a back gate. As I stepped through the gate and out into the lane way, a woman was waiting for me with a pen and paper in her hand. "Farva," she said, "You know that prayer that Jesus said every day to make things go better for him, could you write that down on this piece of paper?" She turned around and I wrote the Our Father by leaning on her back. She turned around and said indignantly, "Not that one, everyone knows that one". I thought she might have Catholic background and so she turned around again and I wrote the Hail Mary. "That's not it," she insisted. She turned around again and I thought I'd cover a wider base and I wrote the Shema. "That's not it either," she said. We discussed options because there wasn't much room on the paper by now. "Is it 'Make me a channel of your peace?'" I asked. "That's probably it," she said. I didn't explain that St Augustine lived a long time after Jesus but I just wrote the prayer. When that was done the lady embraced me and gave me a kiss on the cheek. The act had a distinct flavour of a consolation prize as I was so stupid that I didn't really know what she was talking about and yet I tried. I guess there is no such thing as a quick getaway from Wayside.

They've been so many ambulances here this week. It's probably fair to say that maybe 3 or 4 or more life and death situations have happened every day here. Everything from a picture perfect young person self harming to an assortment of people who were living the worst day of their lives and who decided that this might as well be their last day. The staff in in our Community Service Centre are well trained and it would be hard to imagine a better and safer pair of hands than they each give. If it was my own son or my own daughter, I'd be mightily comforted if my child were to walk into Wayside on the worst day of their life.

At this time of year Wayside is in a more privileged position than most because we get to see a tremendous outpouring of goodwill from people wanting to help us. Our neighbours in the Horizon building gathered together last Friday night to raise around $50,000 for Wayside at a wonderful event that was a true demonstration of love. Our deepest thanks to everyone who helped organise the evening and to everyone who attended.

A few weeks ago I told you of a woman who recently found out that she was five months pregnant to her partner who died three months ago. She is so sad and weeks ago she told me that she would be giving the baby for adoption. Today she's softened a little because she told me, "One day at a time. I'll see how I feel at the time. Probably DoCS would take it off me anyway". If I could tell you the horrendous history of this woman, you'd understand her sense of fatalism. She had her first child at just 13 years of age and the father of that child was her own father. All I could say today was, "Well, if you want to fight to raise this child, we'll fight with you and if you can't do that, we'll love you anyway."

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


PS. Registrations for volunteer shifts at our Christmas Day Street Party open on Monday, 3 December at 9am. If you'd like to register for a shift, go to at 9am on Monday and fill out the online form.

Rev Graham Long
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel
Kings Cross

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