My time with Mercy has been a sum of gorgeous peaks and challenging valleys, as, I suppose, all of life is.
It took me several weeks to settle into the flow of Baltimore and to feel established in my service site at Mercy Medical Center. I came into MVC with high hopes of how I would help people, with thoughts of how I would make a difference. Instead, I found myself confused, unsure, and destabilized from my comfortable, privileged life.
What I discovered at my service site, in place of my self-important expectations, was a deeper understanding of where God can be found. In the tear-streaked faces of brand new mothers, in the kind words and gentle hands of labor nurses, I came face-to-face with God. In the midst of ugly situations, babies withdrawing from drugs, mothers who have had their babies ripped from their arms by CPS, God was there, right in the middle of it. Coming to Mercy, I lost so much of my idealism; I lost my comfortable, sheltered understanding of race and addiction and poverty. But I found instead a God who suffers with us, a God who rejoices with us. I saw God our Mother, picking us up out of our darkness and crying for the joy that is Hers to hold us.
All of us.
At Mercy I learned who us is in the first place. Us includes the teenage mother. Us includes the homeless. Us includes all those who for so long have been excluded because of their race, sexuality, socioeconomic status, religion, or any other reason. Us includes the children at the border. Us includes the forgotten in prison. Us is the refuse of society from whom it is frighteningly easy to avert our eyes. Us is the hurt, broken, lonely. With MVC I learned that we are all hurt. We are all broken. We are all lonely. We are all beautiful, too. We are all children of a Good Mother. At MVC, I learned that you will never find an “other”.
Erica Temple: Baltimore, Maryland