A “Chance Encounter” With An ACH Alumni
This week I made an early morning visit to Wal-Mart. It was before work, and I was dressed casually in shorts and my ACH t-shirt (which, by the way is really cool and you should come by campus and pick one up). As I strolled down the coffee aisle, a woman walked past me, then turned around and asked, “Are you from the children’s home?” I said, “Yes,” and she replied that she had grown up there. For the next 30 minutes or so, we discussed her life: what it was like to grow up on our campus, what life has been like since leaving the campus, and her perspective of life as an alumni of Amarillo Children’s Home.
I wish I could tell you that as a result of living at ACH her life became easy, that she never struggled and caught every break. She didn’t. Life has been hard.
She has overcome enormous battles and slayed many dragons of her past. She was very honest about her life and didn’t shy away from the details which have made her who she is. She had many childhood stories which she can now view through the perspective of an adult: they captivated me, and, while we are similar in age, I could only think of how proud I was of her.
There will never be any fanfare for her accomplishments. Her strength will not be celebrated, though it is evident in her life now. She won’t be acknowledged for her service to her disabled husband, nor will there be a party to celebrate that she doesn’t miss work and supports her family, but she does!
I told her that she impressed me – that she was an example for our kids to follow. I asked her how she does it, and she responded, “When I lived at ACH, I learned that it isn’t what you do, but, more importantly, it’s HOW you do it.”
At that moment, deep in my soul, I felt God reminding me the mission of ACH: to restore the identity of kids so they will understand their great value, and be a blessing to others. She has received the gift of restored identity. She is more concerned with who she is than what she does. The rest of her story is one of redemption and how, after ACH, through the good and bad, God never left her and continued to love her and remind her of her restored identity.
Just like in my own family, my wish for our kids at ACH is that struggles are minimized (we work hard to teach, train, and inspire kids towards a life that can avoid unnecessary pain). I am, however, reminded that the greatest gift we can provide a child is the restoration of their identity – that they will realize who they have been created to be and find confidence in the uniqueness of their creation. While we cannot control the circumstances of their lives, we can invest in how they will manage them.
I am thankful for this “chance meeting”. I am thankful for the reminder that 5 year olds grow up to be 50 year olds. I am thankful for the opportunity ACH provides to impact future 50 year olds by restoring kids identities today: when you give to Amarillo Children’s Home, you change the future of the Amarillo community.
I am also thankful that I live in a community where this is important.
Thank you for being a valuable part of this process through your involvement with ACH,
President Amarillo Children’s Home