Knowing When and How to Leave

Knowing When and How to Leave

by Nadia Ramoutar MMM Communications Coordinator                           Ireland                                      29.08.2023

There is a story I heard some time ago that has lingered with me.

A young monk was in prayers with his teacher and other monks. The teacher called on him after the prayers and gave him a task to go and do. The young monk rushed away to do an excellent job on the task leaving the room quickly to get started.

When he returned, he expected the teacher to give him great praise for his work and effort.

Instead the teacher scolded him.

“You disrupted everyone leaving so noisily and without consideration. You need to learn how to leave better.”

This phrase strikes me as I am in the process of leaving one home and moving to another.

How can I leave this house better? Why is leaving so hard? How do we know when it is time to go? How do we know what to take and what to leave? Leaving is a lot of things, but it is not easy.

People often advise that we should leave things better than we found them and this is truly what the MMMs do so well. Over the history of the MMMs they have entered into communities that have serious needs and few resources. While there the MMMs meet with the local people and find out what needs to be done. When the MMMs feel that the needs of the community have been met and new resources are in place, they leave and move on to another location where the people are in dire need.

It is amazing to see how hard the MMM Sisters, staff and volunteers work to not to be needed anymore. Many organizations just continue to grow and grow and grow. They resist change and try to build an empire in one space. This is not the MMM way which is really remarkable to watch. It is not easy for the leadership to know when to leave. Then there is the “how” of leaving. I know can be a very complex exit strategy to untangle relationships after many years of service there.

The MMMs work to be unneeded and to have the local people be self-sufficient. They do not want the people to depend on them but to be able to be self-sufficient. What a great gift to empower people to help themselves rather than taking steps to create permanent dependency.

Knowing you will be leaving, allows you to weigh up what is needed to go and what is needed to stay. Knowing how to time the move and how to plan what goes where. There is a huge amount of work in leaving which is why so many people just stay where they are endlessly. But, not our MMMs. They are on the move and have learned how to leave things much better than they found them.