My laptop is in the process of dying. Every time I turn it on, it makes a weird scraping, crackling, nails-on-chalkboard noise and every time I think it is actually going to explode right in that moment. But it doesn’t. So it’s thankfully given me some time to go through old documents and pictures to save them somewhere else in cyberspace. As I go through papers from college, previous blog posts, and 25 different versions of my resume, I’m given the opportunity to remember, reminisce, and reflect. I can see what brought me to Maggie’s Place, how I’ve grown during my time here, and as I start to pack up my room what lessons I’ll carry in my suitcase of a heart.
One thing I found in the recesses of my computer is my application to be a summer MissionCorps member way back in 2012. Under the question where it asks why I want to serve at Maggie’s Place, here is a part of my answer: “…I want to be a part of the solution. I want to serve at Maggie’s Place in order to grow and become more fully the person God created me to be… I long to live in true community where I will be stretched and must depend on grace. I want to learn to love more entirely, more sacrificially, and more genuinely.” Over 4 years later and I’m still working on it. Every day is an opportunity to depend on grace. Every day is a lesson in love.
I learn about love from my fellow MissionCorps but most especially from the moms. Their choice to bring forth life is heroic. Amidst great trials, amidst lack of support, amidst very limited resources, they don’t give up on their child. Instead so often they see this child as the game-changer. This baby is motivation to get sober, get off the streets, ask for help, get out of that toxic relationship — do whatever she needs to do to make things better for her child. And that is absolutely remarkable. As a MissionCorps, it is such an honor to play a small part in being able to help support the moms in whatever way is needed as she begins to pave a brighter future for her and her baby. As I serve, I am served by such strong examples of love, courage, and fortitude.
One of the lessons I’ll continue to carry with me is the importance of offering small gestures of love. A smile, a cheerful “Good Morning!” or a bag of snacks someone made for you when you’re on the run can have a huge impact. When we have our goodbye ceremonies, it is so often the little things which moms, MissionCorps, and volunteers mention that made them tangibly experience the love so present in our homes. And it’s the little, daily, ordinary things each of us do that can have a ripple effect within our community and beyond.
And this is the biggest lesson I have learned during my time at Maggie’s Place: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good, love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another… If possible, so far as depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12: 9-16, 18).
By Elisa Raubach, a MissionCorps member