Week 4: Melissa, Mark, Amanda, Grace
Like last week's discussion, there were a handful of people to discuss some of the spiritual principles of the book, including (gasp!) a man. Though I feel part of my strong connection with Magdalene is simply because it is a program that focuses on women (which I am one and, therefore, relate to), it was nice to hear that the message of Magdalene and "Find Your Way Home" doesn't see gender or color or age. Becca wants to discover,
"How do these principles relate to your life? How has the theology or message of Magdalene been influencing your life and meaning something to you – the engagement of community – as part of your spiritual journey?"
Principle #15: "Listen To A New Idea"
Melissa teaches at Harpeth Hall and is also on the leadership team of Thistle Farms and the Ecuador Mission trips. When she came to St. Augustine's, she was one of the few Republicans on camps and felt no one would understand her day to day experiences. But the Magdalene community brought her back. She was told "you are unique and your experience is unlike anyone else's, but you have a place in this circle." The beauty of the Thistle Farms / Magdalene circle is that "you can speak on the day you feel that no one understands you and it's ok to feel that way and be that way."
Principle #17: "Remember You Have Been In The Ditch"
I'm going a bit out of order, but I noticed Amanda was in the picture of the circle above, so I wanted to give her a little recognition. Though Marlei talked about this principle last week, it makes me wonder if this particular topic was so important it NEEDED to be brought up twice. Amanda is a resident of Magdalene and has been clean for 5 months. She's also pregnant and has a warm glow surrounding her! She said that she's learning a new way to live. She is grateful because she IS finding her way home and she doesn't have to be lost or without hope anymore.
Principle #23: "Find Your Way Home"
Mark, a member of St. Augustine's, read the beginning line of the 23rd principle:
"All our journeys begin and end with God."
He could have stopped there because that simple line was enough to sum up the humble, basic truth of the spiritual path. However, he went on with his own lovely, personal version of it and said the women of Magdalene remind him that "regardless of how hard and how broken and how painful some homes are and some places are and some experiences are, we carry something sacred from that. It may take us a long time to disover it, but we carry something from that place to the next place in the journey."
Principle #24: "Leave Thankfully"
Sweet Grace. I've worked with Grace a bit at Thistle Farms. She is an artist (painter, mainly), is 5 years clean, has a great smile, a home of her own, fabulous glasses, and offers spiritual guidance that has come from years of truly living a hard knock life. When she came to Magdalene, she didn't have a home. She didn't know there was another way of life. She grew up in a family that supported the drug and prostitution lifestyle. Before the program, she said, "the only thing I knew was how to lay on my back." I felt a lump rise in my throat... I wanted to tell her immediately that she was worth so much more than that, that her beauty and her -- well, grace -- was simply enough to draw people towards her, without needing to offer anything else. Grace looked up and I caught her eye. Without knowing it, her smile seemed to say, "same to you."
As the podcast ends, I notice my home office is now fragranced with Holiday scent and heart is warmer than when I began. However, my bags are still empty, so I must pack. Next week will be the season finale to "Find Your Way Home" and I have a feeling it will be the most meaningful one yet.