Monday, June 21, 2010

Think Like Mother Teresa

"I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love."

~ Mother Teresa

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A few years back I was volunteering as a cook at an AIDS Hospice. I got really close to one of the guys there - Carl. I'd stay long after my volunteer shift was over, just to listen to his stories. He'd slowly stir a cup of coffee, never really drinking it, while giving me the details of his life.

Carl started to get very sick, and it was apparent that he was going to pass soon. It was hard for me to watch my friend deteriorate but I wanted to spend as much time with him as I could. He didn't have family in town. His family was the staff and volunteers at Agape.

One evening a friend asked me to go out. I was reluctant. I just didn't feel like socializing. She could tell how broken hearted I was and she asked, "Why do you volunteer there when you know you're going to get attached to them and they're just going to die?"

I don't remember what my response was at the time. She was right. I got attached to this wonderful man from New York. And he was dying.

Carl brought more joy to my life than you could imagine. He gave me purpose - trying to find the next meal that he'd enjoy. Passing the time, loving listening to his stories. And after he died, giving me purpose to get in shape so I could bike from Minneapolis to Chicago in his honor. I swear I could hear him clapping for me as I biked past the corn fields in Wisconsin.

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There are pictures of the babies at Children of the Promise posted on my office wall. I look at them every day, all day long. I see Theo's sweet little face. Wilson, Elijah, Gavin, Odelande. While my heart aches because I want to do more for them, it's also bursting with love for children I've never met.

I can't shy away from a situation just because I know my heart might get broken. I know that, along with the break, will come much love, joy, and happiness.

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