We talk a lot about Motherhood.
This makes sense, after all
Mothers are being made
day after day before our eyes.
Motherhood is something to be celebrated.
And yet, what of the fathers?
They are just as integral to the lives of these children.
True, they do not carry them in their wombs,
they do not nurture them in the same way that women do.
But that’s not their job, is it?
They are men, after all.
Our children need them.
But its not just the children.
We need them, too.
One of the greatest tragedies I see
is when the girl who did not know her father,
becomes the mother of the child who doesn’t know his father.
And so we must learn to celebrate those we have,
and mourn the loss of those we do not.
To celebrate the men who come to our homes, day after day,
fixing the windows
fixing the doors
and ultimately fixing the wounds in our hearts.
To mourn the loss of our own fathers
who died too young
who were lost on drugs
who never were given the chance to know they had a daughter.
To celebrate the young men trying to be the father that they never knew,
to the child that they barely do.
To affirm the men trying to be the fathers we desire them to be
in a culture that does little to encourage ─
but rather lies, cheats, and confuses the hope of new life.
And this is the greatest challenge that we face
To learn to be the people we are called to become,
and to challenge those we love to do the same.
Then to forgive them when they fail ─
for Lord knows that we are on our knees as well.
Its a process to learn a love that doesn’t enable
But instead challenges us to grow ─
into the Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, and Brothers we were created to be.
Yes, it’s slow going, for it’s a rocky slope we climb,
but if we leave a brother at the base,
we also leave ourselves behind.
Today I want to say a big thank you on behalf of all the Maggie’s Place community to the men who are a part of our family. To the volunteers who keep the homes running, to the Priests who come to celebrate Mass for us or serve as spiritual directors, to the men who stay faithful to our moms and corps ─ be they fathers, brothers, friends, or husbands. Thank you. In trying to be the men God has called you to be, you help us to become the women God has created us to be. It’s easy to look at Maggie’s Place and write it off as “for the women.” But you are the ones who know it isn’t only that, who know that these women need good men in their lives. You have our deepest gratitude.
Mary Notess, a MissionCorps member at The Zechariah House