I decided I wanted to write about messiness this week, without knowing what that really meant. The idea struck me last week while doing Monday night room checks. I was in the room of one of our moms who seemed to have magical powers: every week her room would go from crazy to clean just in time for room checks. I did the same thing that I had done nearly every week: open her closet door to see just how much stuff had been hidden behind it.
Since this was the mom’s last week in our house, I did this just for sentimental reasons, wanting to see her terrific tower of clothes, blankets and baby stuff one last time.
I am a lot like this room. In reality I have a lot of stuff: flaws, frustrations, vices and brokenness. But when it comes to other people, I hide it from them. I like stuffing my clutter behind a closet door. The people who really know me have an idea of what is behind the door, but I am so afraid of it all falling out for the world to see. I know that I am not the only one who does this.
The beauty of Maggie’s Place is that we are not afraid of messiness here. In fact, we are kind of all about messiness. It is where the healing happens. Just like Mary Magdalene had to go before the Lord with all her (literal) demons in order to be healed, at Maggie’s Place we are called to bring our brokenness and our mess to Him and to each other.
The women who come to Maggie’s Place for shelter are incredibly brave. They have seen things in their lives that they are not proud of, they have been hurt by others and they have faced difficult things, and they bring them all to us.
As a MissionCorps sometimes we may think that our job is to clean up the messiness of the moms’ lives, to fix their problems or their flaws, but that is not true at all. Instead, we are called to bring ourselves, flaws and all, and to simply be present to the moms. Our job is to show up, in the midst of all of it and let them know that they are not alone.
This week I was blessed to witness my first birth. And dang, was it messy. Although I am incredibly squeamish, I wanted so much to be there for the mom and was able to get over the things that would normally freak me out. I was able to look past the messiness and look straight at her, this superhero who was bringing a new life into the world. Birth is always messy, just like all of life’s greatest blessings.
I know that my time at Maggie’s Place has helped me to be more aware of my own messiness than ever before. The demanding nature of our life and work brings me face to face with my own flaws every day. I may want to hide these things from the moms and the other Corps, but true community requires vulnerability. Healing and growth only happens when we are able to open up the closet, just a little, and let some of our stuff be seen by others.
By Dominique Lefaive, a MissionCorps