Inner Circle


Thursday, 24 August 2017


Dear Inner Circle,

A gorgeous Aboriginal lady stopped me in the street this morning. “You know I’m a spiritual woman, don’t you?” “Yes. I know it and I love it,” I replied. “Well,” she said, “Lately I’ve been dreaming about you. I saw some long grass and you were laying down in it. As I was looking at you, you turned into a butterfly, a white butterfly, and then you flew off into a rainbow”. After a bit of a pause she said, “I don’t think you’re going to be with us for long”. We both paused for a bit while her kindly eyes penetrated deeply into my soul. “That day will be a bit like falling in love,” I said. “How do you mean?” “Well, when you fall in love, you never really know what you’re getting into but you know every cell of your being is being called and you just trust that it is being called to something good”. She started to smile. “I don’t know if I’ve got a long time or a short time but I think the day I fly off into a rainbow will be a good day”. Her face broke into the broadest smile and she said, “For me too”.

After the lovely moment shared with this Aboriginal woman, I turned to walk on to Wayside, and she called out, “Can you help me?” She rarely misses an opportunity to ask me for money. I opened my wallet, quite confident that it was empty and was shocked to find I had ten dollars. “Ten dollars would be good,” she said. “Gosh,” I said, “How much might this have cost me if you had good news?”

With many tears and the kind of sobbing that comes from the boots, a young woman told me how her boyfriend had forced her to be intimate with two of his friends. Notwithstanding many indicators that this is an abusive relationship, the woman loves the man and wants to please him. She has been pushed beyond her own boundaries on many occasions but this recent event has paralysed her. She said that she felt numb but her words indicated that she felt violated and ashamed to have given into the demands. All three men pestered her until she accommodated them. She certainly didn’t feel loved. She felt used. Her sense of self-dread was so profound that she used the phrase, “I guess they got what they deserved,” at least three times. It broke my heart because this is not a stupid woman. This is an intelligent, attractive woman who has been so abused in her life that she thinks any intimacy she might give, is an act of judgement against another person. As it happens, I know the boyfriend and saw him up near the main drag of Kings Cross. I walked over to him even though he was with some mates and asked if he could make a time to come and talk with me about his girlfriend. His countenance became serious and he acted as if he would be pleased to talk in my office later. “Poor Suzie,” he said, “I’m doing all I can to help her”. Suzie was in my office again today. I’m helping her move interstate and referring her to some good support.

We’re in a season where people are dying again in big numbers. I’m so grateful for my sidekick in Kings Cross, Pastor Jon, who is currently trying to squash four ceremonies into this already busy week. Most ministers would feel quite stretched to do even a couple of funerals in a week, but Jon will take all of this in his stride and everyone will know that his heart is big enough to stand with people in their grief. He’s another tower of weakness.

As always, there is plenty of good news to balance the bad at Wayside. A tall fellow threw his arms around me on my way in the door. The court yesterday dealt with his matter. The result was much better than anyone expected and he gave the credit to me for my letter of support. I don’t recall writing the letter but I was pleased to share this happy moment. Another lady yesterday approached me with tears streaming down her face. She clearly knew who I was but no bells were ringing in my head. She simply hugged me and said, “The world is a better place even when I say your name”. She didn’t want to talk further. After a long embrace, she walked away quickly. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have no idea who this was but count myself a lucky man to have played an important part in a life.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM
CEO & Pastor
The Wayside Chapel

Want to receive the Inner Circle directly into your inbox every Thursday? Sign up here.


Be sure to follow Graham on Twitter if you have an account; @waysidepastor

Previous Inner Circles


24 Aug: Just Another Week at Wayside

17 Aug: Time to Look After One Another

10 Aug: The Price of Love is Sorrow

3 Aug: Jumping To Confusions

27 July: Gardening Australia

20 July: Contemplation Of The Awesome

13 July: A Season For Gratitude

6 July: Awestruck

29 June: Back In The Saddle

22 June: Between Longing And Love

15 June: When Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

8 June: Reduced to "Wow"

1 June: Time For A Long Look

25 May: For Those With Ears To Hear

18 May: Covering Some Ground

11 May: Costly Kindness

4 May: Blown Away By Beauty

27 April: Better A Troubling Prophet Than A Dead Loss

20 April: ANZAC Day

13 April: Easter

6 April: Captured By A Face

30 March: I'm On Ice

23 March: Another Day At The Office

16 March: A Good Start To The Day

9 March: Permission To Be Human

2 March: Every Life Celebrated

23 February: Surprised By Joy

16 February: Wayside Isn't A Place, It's An Activity

9 February: Heavy With Meaning

2 February: The Danger of Stability

26 January: Australia Day

19 January: Wow

13 January: The Joy of Being Useless


22 December: Miracles in the Messy

15 December: A Season for Demons

8 December: Soul Restorer

1 December: Holy Ground

24 November: Opening Presence for Christmas

17 November: On Our Best Behaviour For a Day

10 November: A Seismic Shift

3 November: Outcomes by Accident

27 October: Wow! Look How Far You've Come

20 October: Moving Toward Our Destiny

13 October: A Tribute

06 October: Risk and Sacrifice

29 September: Wisdom in Unconventional Places

22 September: It's What We Do at Wayside

15 September: The Joy of Being Wrong

8 September: Turning Toward Love

1 September: The Power of Weakness

25 August: Words as weapons

18 August: Wattle become of us

11 August: Precious and fragile

4 August: A wave from Wayside

28 July: Understanding bedlam

21 July: Time for some straight talking

14 July: Holy ground

7 July: Sowing in tears, reaping with shouts of joy

30 June: A bit of banter about Bondi

23 June: My cup runneth over

16 June: Injecting some joy

9 June: At the end of the line

2 June: Lots of perspiration and a touch of inspiration

26 May: Swimming against the tide

19 May: Every 7 days but not weakly

12 May: I once was blind

5 May: A place to belong

28 April: Lest we forget

21 April: I've seen into the abyss

14 April: Colourful language

7 April: Poetic licence

31 March: Happy in the Cross

24 March: Easter

17 March: A party mix

10 March: The intimacy of everything

3 March: An unusual look

25 February: He ain't heavy

18 February: Tears of laughter and sadness

11 February: Wisdom is a tricky business

4 February: A wave from The Wayside Chapel

28 January: Some long distance loving

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



Get Involved