Remarks of AMA Maggie McCormick
“These communities now provide me with the strength and confidence to continue the mission that God has put before me.”
"My year as an AMA was full of amazing stories as I’m sure all AMA experiences are. As I began looking through my pictures for some inspiration, I came across one that I feel most encapsulates my experience there and the impact that it had on me.
Picture two girls, barefoot with their toes digging into the impossibly cool and comfortable sand despite the hot and heavy July sun. Around us you can see nothing but sand dunes. Beautiful white gypsum sand dunes. Beautiful but barren and simple in the way only a desert can be ...
In so many ways my choice to move to the desert of New Mexico as an AMA was driven by a desire to escape the spiritual and emotional desert experience I was living the year before. After graduating college, I was adrift in a world of interviews and meetings and profits. I lost my bearings completely and everything around me looked the same. I felt myself becoming lazy and apathetic in all aspects of my life including my relationship with God. I felt a sense of emptiness and loneliness. In the most ironic way, moving to the actual desert of New Mexico, though scary at the time, gave me new perspective and new life. The heat that before brought laziness and apathy now brought a slowness of living, allowing me time to notice and appreciate the little things that God has given us. The silence of the desert that before brought emptiness and loneliness now brought a chance to listen more closely to everything around me ...
… Those two girls exchange a knowing look and back away from their comfortable spots in the sand, side by side they get ready and instinctively grab each other's hands ...
One thing that I believe is true for all AMAs is the sense of community. I learned how to live in community with Robin, the other AMA, and the sisters. I learned how to become an active member of the community of Chaparral. I felt for maybe the first time a genuine sense of connection to the larger communities of which I had always been a part: the community of our Catholic family, the community of our Christian family. Being an AMA in Chaparral meant building relationships and learning how to hold each other's hands to expand and strengthen a community of respect and trust. I was given an opportunity to take an entire year to put everyone before myself and in return I received more than I ever could have imagined. The community of Chaparral, the community of the Assumption sisters, the community of the AMA’s: these communities now provide me with the strength and confidence to continue the mission that God has put before me. No matter how scary it may seem at the time.
… Those 2 girls with their hands firmly clasped begin to run. Their grip tightens as they approach the edge of one of the tallest dunes. They see the landscape and the blue sky open up before them and without a second thought, together they jump ... and click ... there's my picture. The two of us mid-air able to jump knowing we would be there to support each other.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity and the courage to jump then and in the future. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help others learn how to jump as well. Finally and most importantly, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making it possible for AMA's to take that jump year after year.
Volunteer Stories and Reflections:
Mexico City, Mexico
Brendan Carey, 2009-2010