The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Mahatma Gandhi
Like-minded women come to Maggie’s Place to serve a common purpose. We work together daily to provide a dignified and welcoming home for the women who call us seeking shelter. When I first signed on for a year with Maggie’s Place, I was thrilled to be making a difference in the lives of others. Naturally passionate about women’s issues, I was elated to serve a population of women in a unique way. I could not wait to meet all the new people who would be my new community and become my closest friends.
The week before I left the Midwest, I said goodbye to my old friends. They wished me luck, said they were proud of me, and expressed how much they admired me for what I was doing for others. Little did I know, I was not only going to serve the women of Maggie’s Place, I was also going to adopt the lifestyle that is Maggie’s Place. I was going to live it out loud. Maggie’s Place would change my life for the better. As explained in the Gandhi quote above, I was about to lose a great deal of myself in the process.
It was not until months into my service year that I realized I was losing myself. Don’t feel sorry for me. Losing yourself is an odd concept. More figurative than literal, it can mean something positive or negative. During my time as a MissionCorps member, I have found it to hold both positive and negative meanings. In a more negative sense, we lose some old relationships when we move across the country and invest all of our time into our MissionCorps duties. We lose the free time we used to have. We lose the hobbies we used to enjoy. We lose the ability to eat between 10am and 12pm.
Surprisingly, my loss of self was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Little by little, I began to lose qualities about myself that I was not proud of or that led me away from the Lord. As I realized the truth of small victories every day, I lost my prestige-oriented worldview. As I understood that true authority comes from within, I began to lose my pride. As I realized I was called here to use my own gifts and not compare myself to anyone else, I began to lose my envy.
As I adopted the lifestyle of making trips to the emergency room at 3:00 in the morning, I lost my selfishness. As my fellow Corps began to challenge me to stretch myself in ways I did not think imaginable, I lost my indifference and my mediocrity. As the moms began to inspire me with their achievements, I lost my cynicism. As I realized all I could do sometimes was show an unwavering love to those who did not love me back, I lost my self-criticism.
I can confidently say that I have lost myself in the service of others and that this is not a loss I regret. I owe a great deal of my formation as the person I am today to Maggie’s Place. I owe it to the moms who inspire me every day. I owe it to the Corps who challenge, love, and support me. I owe it to the Fiat Staff who work daily to ensure our homes run effectively. I owe it to our many donors and volunteers whose generosity makes this organization what it is. I owe it to the founders who had the courage to begin Maggie’s Place. I owe it to the Lord who did, can, and will provide opportunities for growth, self-awareness, and endless love.
By MaryClare Lally, MissionCorps Member