On Friday past, my client closed early for the Christmas holidays and I suddenly found myself with the gift of a couple of free hours. As I thought about the best way to spend them, I remembered Jordan Hamilton’s invitation to come down to visit him when I had some time.
Jordan is the Manager of External Relations for the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre (known as the DI), the largest center of its kind in North America. In a shelter designed to accommodate 500 people, it is not uncommon for this center to provide shelter for as many as 1300 people at once.
I reached out to Jordan, he indicated that he had some time available and I stopped down to pay a visit. He had promised me that I would be inspired.
He and the DI didn’t disappoint.
I have toured many shelters of this type in my travels but this one blew me away.
The DI doesn’t just provide a shelter for those in need. They plant the seeds of hope and love in every guest who stays with them.
While many shelters do the best they can to provide a warm bed and a meal to those in need, the DI goes above and beyond. The inspiring staff and volunteers at the DI provide those who are down on their luck with the foundation necessary to rediscover their talents and potential and thus the opportunity to rebuild their lives.
Many of these people are where they are because they have given up on themselves and therefore assume the rest of the world has given up on them also. The DI helps reverse this belief system, an important first step to helping these people to help themselves.
Their talent and potential burns bright! They just need help to bring this light out where everyone can see it.
For example, I happened to view a piece of art by one of the guests, a gentleman whom I will identify as “M'”. It had a flamenco theme that was good as anything I have seen in some of the best art galleries in the world. I found out it was for sale and so I asked him what he wanted for it. “I dunno”, he said, “maybe a couple of hundred bucks?”.
I was stunned. His talent can command thousands and I told him as such. His face brightened up and said “Ok, how about $2000?” and he laughed.
Now you’re talking, M!
These people have not lost their pride or potential – it’s just buried under the weight of life experiences that would stagger any of us.
They don’t need us to teach them what their potential is. They just need help lifting the weight off and to allow their potential to shine. They need a break like the many we have received; the many we may not be cognizant of or may not be willing to admit we have been blessed with.
We should also be aware that many of us may be closer to being a guest of a place like the DI than we realize. All it takes is one event too many and we could be there.
There, but for the Grace of God, go I.
Holding on to Hope
In a world of uncertainty, it is easy to lose hope when one sees so many people in need.
However, I see it differently.
When I meet people like Jordan and others, whether it be at the DI or so many other places dedicated to helping those in need, I am reminded of the power of hope that these dedicated, heart-filled people bring to those who feel that hope, light and love have left them behind.
I am often approached by well-intentioned people who appeal to me to help save the souls of others so that those who are downtrodden are prepared when they meet their Creator.
After I see places like the DI, my response to those “soul savers” would be a little different.
Forget about saving people’s souls for when they meet their Creator. Save these people here and now and let their Creator take care of them when their end-of-times has come.
And in doing so, maybe you will have prepared yourself when it is your turn to meet your Creator.
The world is waiting for you to use your talents to make a difference in the lives of others.
What are you waiting for?
In service and servanthood,