A few weeks ago, one of our moms here had her four older children—three sons and one daughter— over for a sleepover. While we were making lunch, her kids were having a discussion about what makes a person rich. One piped up and said, “You are rich if you have gold!” while another chimed in saying, “No, if you have diamonds, then you are rich!” Her oldest son, at 11 years old, revealed his earth-science aptitude when he added, “You are rich if you own any type of ore…like iron or copper. Duh!” Finally, it was time for the youngest to weigh in on the conversation. After listening carefully to her brother’s opinions, the seven year old concluded: “None of those things make you rich. Your family makes you rich!”
Her wisdom immediately stopped me in my tracks. I think we all tend to unconsciously operate as if material things, worldly success, and financial stability will bring about everlasting happiness: If only we could afford that car…if only we could get that job…if only we could get our own place…if only we could pay off those loans, then we will be rich and can allow ourselves to be content. But the seven year old was right. None of those things will make us rich in the long run. None of these things will make us content forever.
On the contrary, our families— our tight knit human relationships— can make us truly “rich!” As human beings made in God’s image, it is written into our nature to be in communion with others through family life. When we are a part of a family (whether it is a family in the traditional form of a mother, father, and children or an unconventional family like those formed at Maggie’s Place with moms, babies, and MissionCorps), we are able to experience the joy of sharing our very lives with others. We are able to find our own worth by being a gift for others through family life.
Here at Maggie’s Place, we believe that pregnancy—by design— is meant to be experienced in the context of a family and that is precisely why we run homes, not shelters. We are family. We are an eclectic group of moms, babies, and MissionCorps. We cry and we laugh together. We fight and we forgive. And although we might not be wealthy in the material sense, we are rich because we have each other.
By Gretchen Smith, a MissionCorps member