Maggie’s Place is all about the love. Moms come to our homes for many reasons, but are always rooted in love for their child. Volunteers, donors and the local community support our mission out of love, charity and generosity. As MissionCorps, we spend our time and energy simply because we love the moms and babies we live with.
Of course babies are easy to love, but how can we love the moms so much when they move into our homes barely knowing them? Is it real? Is it genuine? Or are we fooling ourselves and others about the limitations of our own goodness and charity?
It is certainly true that not every woman who walks through our door is undeniably “lovable” at all times. Moms and Corps alike—each person carries with them baggage, wounds and flaws that can make them difficult to live with. There is no place to hide in community, and the image you wish to project gets worn down with time, familiarity and the sharing of many meals. Each one of us is not consistently, without fail, “lovable” in the way we act or the things we say. I am sure no one can maintain a flawless, lovely face while living in any sort of community; human beings are not perfect after all. Some people may enter the community with hard shells around their hearts or without the understanding that love is something they deserve. But we don’t love each other because we earn it—just as Christ doesn’t love us because we are “good enough”. We love each other because everyone deserves to be loved, simply because they exist! We love each other because our community would fall apart if we didn’t.
If Maggie’s Place has taught me anything, it’s that love is not just a feeling. Yes, love is the warm, cozy, big feeling I get when I see my niece or hug my best friend, but it isn’t just that. Love is messy and love is hard. There is love in our community and we find each other lovable despite everything, because it is necessary. What is love if it isn’t a challenge sometimes?
Don’t think that loving others is always a challenge. Most days, it’s not hard to love the women I live with. Seeing moms care for their children, their fearlessness and determination at single-handedly raising a child inspires me. Watching people in my house help each other—whether it’s by sharing breakfast burritos, holding a baby so a new mom can shower, or figuring out bus routes—shows me how strong and united our community can be. There are moments when my heart swells with gratitude for these amazing, beautiful, lovable and loving women that I get to live with. And there are moments when I want to walk (or run!) away when I’m confronted with situations or emotions that are uncomfortable, messy, irrational, or more tragic than I know how to handle. But love, when it’s real, persists even when it is a burden or someone does not seem “lovable”.
We love the moms because that is the mission of Maggie’s Place, because that is what we have been called to do. We love each other because even though living in community reveals flaws in each person, it also shows their beauty more clearly and truly, and how honestly lovable each of us is. Maggie’s Place “works” because of this commitment to loving each person that enters our homes, because of the acknowledgement that yes, we are all truly lovable.
By Morgan Castillo, MissionCorps member at The Magdalene House