Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Grace through CHAP

Sunday morning I donned my paint covered overalls and headed over to the soon to be new location of CHAP for a "paint party", to get the space ready for the grand opening next month. I was prepared to be handed a roller and can of white paint to make the space fresh and new. I was not prepared for the next 2 1/2 hours. I introduced myself and said I was there to help and was greeted by a young woman who proceeded to hand me a tray of chartreuse paint and a brush. I was instructed to pick a wall and paint around and behind the graffiti. I began to paint around the letters not reading the words at the beginning. I eavesdropped as two teens painted and discussed what they would be wearing to prom. Someone's docked i-pod filled the room with music. When I stepped back to refill my paint tray, I saw the walls in the large warehouse for the first time. It took my breath away. I asked one of the other painters who wrote these words on the walls and was told that there had been a "party" the night before for parents who had lost their children to cancer, to have their words and the words of their passed children, live on through the walls of the new CHAP space. I was overcome with emotion as I read these words that I had the honor of painting around, as if I was adding an exclamation point to these words of wisdom that brought me to a place of changed perspective. The positive attitude that exuded through these words was beyond words. In the background I began to hear Paul Simon on the i-pod singing Graceland. I began to hear the words as a soundtrack to the painting, thinking about Grace, to do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one's presence, a divine blessing. My body and my hand had begun to tire, but mostly my spirit and heart were overflowing. I had to head home. I took one last look at the room, the painters, the words. I took them all in and floated home filled with a combination of sadness and richness, but mostly deep gratefulness. 

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