“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
This quote was read at church during my interview at Maggie’s Place. I had no idea how much it would ring true in my time here. I have already had my heart broken listening to the stories of the moms that we serve here at Maggie’s Place. I see how broken each one of us is: the moms, MissionCorps, staff, volunteers, everyone. But, the unique part of this organization is that it lets us open ourselves up to loving those around us. We are not able to hide our hearts when we live in community. We must journey on in the hard times as well as the joyous times. My heart is constantly being tugged on and it is beautiful. I have had times that make me cry in frustration, joy and sorrow. Throughout all these times I know that our moms are striving to be the best people they can be for themselves and their children.
I have never met women with more determination and courage than the women that I live with. They all come from pasts that hurt to hear about. I want to make that hurt go away, but that is not my job. The privilege of being a MissionCorps at Maggie’s Place is to journey forward with them; to accompany them in this stage of life; and to love them and help them reach the next phase of life. Maggie’s Place is able to provide us with a safe place to be vulnerable, to be able to heal and grow and be transformed by love.
My favorite part about Maggie’s Place is the time that we spend as a community because in these times we get to share the most about ourselves. Most of the time it is either by sharing a meal together or just sitting in the living room chatting about our days. These are the moments I know we are a community of love and mutual care for one another. I have never seen more of what it means to love your neighbor than when I see the moms interact with one another. We live in solidarity with one another and in these moments we feel the love and brokenness that each one of us has. We also choose to stand together in that brokenness and be each other’s supports. This to me is the greatest meaning of what it means to love and be vulnerable.
Life will never stop being hard; it will always come with its sufferings. But, to understand that you are not alone in those sufferings and that someone is there to journey with you is one of the greatest comforts.
By Elizabeth Ortlepp, a MissionCorps