I have been writing this blog entry for a week and
I just can't seem to get it right.
This particular part of my Chicago life is so dear to me
that words seem to always fall short.
This time in my life has been life changing. I'm leaving here a different
person and my time volunteering at Hamilton is a huge part of that.
Of all the surprises that Chicago held for me,
perhaps this was the best surprise of all.
I've posted about Hamilton before, but here is the quick recap. I was looking to volunteer at a school in my neighborhood and I stumbled across Hamilton in my search. There was a wish list on their website and one of their wishes happened to be someone to paint at the school.
It was a perfect marriage of their need and my ability.
A perfect marriage of my need and God's plan and purpose.
I began painting there in October of 2010 and I have been painting ever since!
There is hardly a wall I haven't added a bit of color to
and with each brush stroke,
I was given a gift.
The gift of friendship.
The gift of joy.
The gift of serving.
The gift of encouraging.
The gift of laughter.
The gift of love.
The gift of family.
As is often the case in God's economy, the more I gave, the more I received.
As a bonus, our church was able to do about 10 service projects as well, benefiting every aspect of Hamilton.
It was Jesus with yard tools, hammers, paintbrushes, brooms, rags and goodies.
We also got to encourage the staff with gifts and encouraging words.
I just don't know when I have had a greater privilege.
To the Hamilton Staff, I would say that you have blessed me immeasurably.
Your genuine love and care for students is amazing.
To Hamilton parents, you have taught me so much about getting your hands
dirty and making things happen for your kids and the students to come.
To Tracy and Ally - thank you for the many shared hours of painting
collaboration in the library and even more for your friendship.
To Ellie - thank you for being my sister in the Lord and a constant
source of encouragement.
To Kerrie - thank you for sharing your time with me in the Science room.
Thank you for letting me store all my paints and brushes in your space.
We had a lot of fun - didn't we!?!
To Yolanda - I have learned so much by watching you interact with the
staff and students. You truly lead by example.
To Mr. Gray, I would say that you have forever inspired me to serve others. You have taught me so much about leadership, sacrifice and the power
of believing that things can be better if we do the work.
You are my hero.
I thank the Lord, above all, for allowing me to cross paths with
these amazing people.
Hamilton, I will miss you.