Rejoicing in the Small Things

Rejoicing in the Small Things

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By Marie Dukart
“Oooh Baby!” my friend and fellow CIC missionary Anna exclaims. I know why she’s so excited. The donation truck just brought us pork ribs and she’s going to make all 22 missionaries her Italian rib sauce.

“(J)yes!” Adrianna, the youngest missionary and the only one from Mexico, yells when she sees a homeless friend, and her face lights up like a Christmas tree.

Finally, there’s Trey shouting “War Eagle” when he watches Auburn University football games.
I have never been in a house where there is so much excitement or straight up joy about the little things in life. And this house is definitely not comfort central.

I am a Christ in the City Missionary. I live with 20+ people. All of our food is donated and sometimes moldy. Why is there joy in this house? Materially, we don’t have much; but we make up for it in spades with community, Jesus, and our friends on the street.

When was the last time you laughed every single day? When was the last time you got excited about simple things like coffee creamer or getting up at 7am instead of 6am? I have never lived in a house where each day I knew I would have to do at least 10 things I don’t want to do; but at the same time, I have never lived in a house where I honestly laugh more than ever before.

Why is there laughter in this house? Why do I know I have never been so alive? Case in point: when I went home for the holidays, I had comfort like nobody’s business. Good coffee, slept in until noon, read whenever I wanted, watched entertaining movies, and was spoiled silly by my mom. But my heart was empty, there was a void I couldn’t fill with things or pleasure.

That’s when it hit me: giving myself away, doing things I don’t want to do naturally (Christmas shopping with my mom for upwards of 200 presents, washing dishes for my community of 22, going out into the cold to serve the homeless a homemade meal) makes me feel alive.

Because of sacrifice and giving myself away, I am excited about the little things, and I don’t have that void in my heart that I carried with me for years. As Gaudium Et Spes no. 24 says: “[Man] cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” And that is what I have found being a Christ in the City missionary, I’ve found myself and joy beyond all telling.

Marie Dukart is a second-year missionary and an alumnus of the University of Mary in North Dakota. She’s passionate about Beauty, Truth and Goodness and naps.

Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

By Blake Brouillette

Comfort. No, I’m not talking about your favorite recliner or a perfect fall Saturday. I’m talking about the thing that prevents you from being the best version of yourself, from taking risks. I’m talking about what prevents you from achieving your dreams, goals and improving your quality of life.

How could a word that carries so many warm and fuzzy feelings be so harmful? But life isn’t about feelings. I’ve realized this many times during the past few months as a Christ in the City missionary in Denver.

Comfort sneaks up on us. It’s enjoyable and satisfies us with our current situations in life. It isn’t risky, and is a cushion to our problems and obstacles. We know what to expect with life on a daily basis, and we get into a routine where we feel productive and fulfilled.

In my first 22 years of life, I had built up an incredibly comfortable life and community in Nebraska. Realistically I had no reason to leave. I had job offers, a strong support group, friends, family, a life that I had worked hard to build up and a state I love filled with people I love even more. Little did I know, God placed all this comfort in my life with the next step in mind.

“The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness,” said Pope Benedict XVI.

Before Christ in the City, I never actually thought about what this meant. A life of comfort will never completely fulfill us. I thought I understood this.

What I was completely blowing off was my understanding of what it would take to progress to greatness. I didn’t realize many of the decisions I was making in life were based on comfort. Comfort subtly became my motivation.

We like to be able to control and predict the outcome of our choices. The less risky and safe decisions are appealing. I’m not talking about life and death situations here, I’m talking about the things we face daily and are easy to take the comfortable way out. Perhaps it’s inviting a new friend to come hang out, saying hi to a stranger on an elevator, smiling at someone as you cross paths, going out of your way to help someone who is struggling, talking to a homeless person on the street, confronting someone who needs help or has been bothering you, going the extra mile or taking on a project that will challenge you – these are just a few of the examples we encounter that require a decision from us.

Magnanimity: the beast of a word that is going to be the answer to the issue of comfort. Get familiar with this word, love this word and let this word guide your decisions on a daily basis. Magnanimity is one of the core values at Christ in the City and a core value I have adopted for my life. It is the virtue of seeking excellence in all things, challenging ourselves to do things when we don’t know if we can, taking that extra step in life and making the decision to go above and beyond.

Living by this virtue is not easy. However through the challenges and difficulties you find a full life knowing you gave everything you had and discovered who you are.

It’s time we started living magnanimously.

Begin small and progress one step at a time. We all have those things that we place in the “someday” category, and that someday is now. Chase your dreams, take risks, set your goals high, and make the decision to improve your life. With every failure and uncomfortable situation, you are one step closer to the best version of yourself.