Dear Inner Circle,

The hard and hilarious belong together. Humour is born from suffering which is why comics are often genuinely funny and sad at the same time. When my son was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I stayed by his side for nine days and nights in hospital. It’s a tough thing for a little kid to figure out that the rest of his life will be a constant round of injections. It’s a tough thing for a parent. If I could have injected myself to make him live, I’d have done so with joy. I kept putting off facing the day when it would be me giving the injections. One day after witnessing a nurse with little sensitivity and in a hurry, inject my boy, I thought to myself, “I could hardly do a worse job than this nurse”. The day came. Poor James had to endure a speech from his heartbroken Dad about how he’d inject himself if it would give life back to my darling six-year-old boy. Finally, I pinched the skin on his leg and pushed the needle into his leg. I pushed the plunger all the way in. Finally, I withdrew the needle and threw my arms around my boy – stabbing him in the back! I was trying to be the best father that I could be and I just mucked it all up. James just knew and in due course when there were no needles in sight, we sat together for a long time with our arms around each other. We were together.

In a funeral for one of our dear visitors this week, a declaration was made that is not often heard in a church. We were told that our dear visitor would proudly say, “I’m a whore! Hallelujah!” This story was received without judgement. We didn’t have to debate the good or evil of sex work. What we knew is that we loved this person no matter what. We heard how a precious woman had nothing but was grateful to call one part of the footpath in Woolloomooloo her bedroom, and another near area, her lounge room. We saw in front of our faces that those who have nothing are the most generous people of all. We heard constant expressions of gratitude for sex work that provided enough for food, clothing and enough drugs to make life bearable. If it was our mission to “fix”, this funeral would have caused no end of heartache and no doubt lead to some finger waving and moralising. Instead, a crowd of about 90 of us sat, together. We were able to see the beautiful and be thankful for a woman who showed us all how to live a life of grace. I’ll endure the moral dilemmas any day for the privilege of loving some who are generally pushed aside and rarely the object of love and admiration.

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