Before coming to Maggie’s Place almost two months ago, I don’t think I understood just how spoiled I truly was. I had enjoyed many beautiful trips, a wonderful college education, and generous support from all of my family and friends. I thanked God for these things every day, but little did I know that these blessings were preparing me for the next adventure in my life – coming to Phoenix and living in a Maggie’s Place home, where a “yes” to life also involved a dying process.
Living in a home where pregnant women are often struggling to thrive on their own makes me more attentive to the fact that my “yes” to life in the past, through pro-life activities and volunteering opportunities, never really required a “no” until now. I used to love planning my weeks in advance throughout my time in college, but coming to Maggie’s Place has involved losing this sense of security in being able to plan out the week’s activities. When duty of the moment calls in driving a mom to the hospital, calling a staff member because our stove has decided to stop working, or just realizing that quality time is needed to be spent with someone in community, my plans for the day are foiled. My checklist of things to do seems to build and build every day, but duty of the moment calls and those things don’t seem to get done as I would like for them to. My “yes” to Maggie’s Place has involved a “no” to myself like I have never experienced before, whether it’s a serious craving for 2% milk or meat that hasn’t been donated to the house that week, a mom who needs my ear and my heart desperately, or my scheduled day being thrown off by another house need. However, in my “no’s” I can see the “yes’s” in a much clearer way.
I see this in the moms at Maggie’s Place as well, where their “no’s” are true “yes’s”. In order for these women to give life outside of themselves, they are required every day to say “no” to their past relationships, the drugs that gave them comfort in the past, and the alcohol that took the place of a counselor before they became pregnant. Saying “no” is a challenge I see the moms face every day so that they may say “yes” in the fullest way possible to the life growing inside of them. They wake up every day putting their past behind them so they can take better care of their futures.
In Mary’s Fiat, with one word, she would alter the course of history with her one word, “yes”. In this one word and this one action, she died to herself along with her own wants and wills. Was this “no” to self a true “no”? Of course not, it was the second most radical “yes” the world has ever seen. The truest “yes” the world has ever seen came from her son when He decided to give the whole world a “yes” to salvation by saying “no” to his own life. When the saints have said “no” to their own wills, those moments are marked by true reverence and aw. Their “yes’s” give hope to a world in desperate need. When our selfish ways are given to God and we say “yes” to Him and “no” to ourselves that is when true living begins. Holding that 5 hour-old babe in my arms in the wee hours of the morning, I saw what a true “yes” really meant in the flesh; it means we are required to say “no” so that we may become a “yes” to the world.
By Clarice Shear, MissionCorps Member at The Michael House