I distinctly recall a moment at Maggie’s Place when I said to a staff member, “tell me the secret of Maggie’s Place.” The executive director and co-founder at the time responded with a single word, “love.”

To a certain extent, one could say the words heart and love are interdependent:  to have either, both must be present. A heart without love is not alive. A love not from the heart ceases to exist.

How can we follow our hearts and love? What does loving from the heart mean at Maggie’s Place?

Many are familiar with the false notions of “love” that are prevalent in our popular culture. The superficial, feelings-based, emotionally driven, self-focused love that leads to anything but authentic love.

The love being referenced, however, is self-sacrificing or “Agape” love; in Greek, the type of love that does not seek selfish gain, material comfort, prestigious recognition, or monetary success as its aim, but rather the pure good of one’s fellow person, above all else.

I have seen firsthand the authentic love that Maggie’s Place volunteers, staff, and MissionCorps members beautifully give. Visiting an alumnae mom who is alone in the hospital, sacrificing personal time to glorify God in community prayer, staying up late to finish a difficult but important grant, or resolving a challenging interpersonal conflict are just a few ways people frequently put others above themselves.

When it comes to love, there can be two distinct choices: to choose to love ourselves in selfishness or to love God and others in generosity.  Admittedly, I have many times chosen the former, and realized afterwards how meaningless and empty it is.  When the latter is chosen, it is amazing what occurs. There is an attitude of respect that grows, a beauty that comes forth, and a dynamism that develops. It is absolutely true: love begets love.

I have found that when Maggie’s Place is at its very best, it is when authentic love is being poured out of the hearts of staff, donors, and volunteers in a truly sacrificial way.

God himself commanded that there is nothing more important than to love and that He is love itself.

“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16)

During this Christmas season and every season, whether at Maggie’s Place or wherever one might be, may authentic love be our greatest and most heartfelt gift to others.

-David Kriegl, Director of Facilities