Thoughts from one of our MissionCorps. These women give a year of their lives in service to our moms and babies. Danielle O’Neill shares some of her experience. Thank you, Danielle, for all you do.
Seven months ago I stood at the gates of Boston Logan International Airport with my suitcase and bag. I waved goodbye to my parents and got on a five hour plane ride to Phoenix, Arizona. That day I wrote in my journal, “I have everything I need. The prayers, grace, love, working hands and feet. What more do I need?” It seemed simple, and I was ready for the adventure.
Two weeks into my position as a Mission Corps, I took to heart our core value of acknowledging purpose in suffering in order to understand and live my experience at Maggie’s Place more deeply, and to ensure I was taking the time to reflect, grow and pray through the suffering I would encounter.
Suffering is a concept I have lived and breathed within my own family throughout my life. When I came to Maggie’s Place I entered into the sufferings of others, an intimate experience for which I never had the privilege. Serving at Maggie’s Place, I live among mothers who have never had a loving mother or father. There are mothers who struggle to stay sober. There are mothers accustomed to running away from situations. There are mothers who have never had someone say they are proud of them or love them. Some mothers have not had new bras or underwear in years. Living with the mothers at Maggie’s Place allows me to better understand the mystery of suffering. I have learned how to allow others into my suffering and stand by others when they are most vulnerable. To suffer is to undergo pain, hardship, and distress. To suffer is to be at your most vulnerable.
Entering into suffering and journeying alongside our moms has been the most difficult and rewarding gift I have ever received. The love that has grown for the moms has drawn me to compassion. Compassion comes from the latin word compassio meaning to suffer with. Through a relationship built on trust and vulnerability, I have been able to enter into their suffering and pain.
“Love es Carino. Love is messy. Love is not easy. It is not always gentle. It is not boring or stagnant. Love does not seek to avoid difficult emotions. It is not one dimensional. It does not fit into a category. It does not rejoice in misfortune, but in welcoming others. It reveals all things, says hard things, celebrates good times, shows up to things. Love Rocks” (Maggie’s Place Founders). One cannot give what they do not have.
What has kept me rooted and allowed me to love at Maggie’s Place is the love I receive from my Heavenly Father. I am a Daughter of God loved beyond all measure and made for heaven. To have purpose is to find joy in God.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 15:13. The joy I have received from God radiates in love.
He wants me to, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” John 13:34. Loving others with joy is to acknowledge purpose in suffering. By placing my trust in the Lord here at Maggie’s Place, He has blessed me higher than the tallest mountain and deeper than any depth of water, even amongst all the suffering in this world.
We can’t suffer and be compassionate if we don’t have love and joy. God provides for my needs beyond grace, love, and working hands and feet. I learned that I have everything I need. What I needed was to whole-heartedly put my trust in God. He helped me reach new heights and deeper waters through suffering with those who suffer, showing compassion, and giving the gift of myself in service of others.