Some posts have been, in my opinion, particularly powerful, so I want to repost them from time to time. Here is one of those posts.
As published in National Right to Life News Today on March 6, 2013:
No truer words, I believe, have ever been spoken by the child of a pro-life activist than those of my daughter Olivia recently: “I wish other people knew that it was wrong to kill babies so that you wouldn’t have to be gone all of the time to teach them that.”
As a mother, my heart grieves these words that she spoke as I was preparing to leave “yet again,” (as Olivia describes my frequent trips). But at the same time, I am thankful that Olivia understands both the importance of what I do and what it’s going to take to end abortion.
It’s going to take people like you and me, speaking the truth in love, sacrificing our personal wants and needs and our time (including time with our families), to change hearts and minds and create a culture of life that spills over into every facet of our world—familial, societal, political.
I won’t pretend for a second, however, that knowing this, seeing Olivia’s recognition of this, makes the sacrifice any easier some days.
“But I NEED you! I WANT you!” Olivia cried out from her preschool room last week, her arms outstretched towards me, tears pouring down her face, as I dropped her off before heading to the airport. It wasn’t the newness of her preschool, it wasn’t being with a different teacher or even the early time of the day that was bothering Olivia. It was me leaving “yet again,” that bothered her, and me, for that matter.
I felt that familiar mix of emotion churn in my gut, that I’ve felt hundreds of times before and will likely feel hundreds, if not thousands, of times again. You know, that feeling of guilt (for leaving), mixed with sadness (about leaving and how Olivia was hurting), anger (that abortion exists and that I have to leave to fight it), and even a twinge of fear.
It burns like hot sauce on an empty stomach and tastes like bile. It seeps into my veins and gives me a rush of adrenaline. I have two choices when that feeling hits—fight or flight.
I could give into the flight mode, grab her and return home, giving into that rush of feelings that I have, particularly the fear that tries to tell me that something could happen to me or my family while I’m gone. I could let that fear paralyze me and never speak publicly again. I could give into that feeling that says that I should do something more “normal” for work, and find a “safe” desk to sit behind somewhere, in the hopes that it would make things easier on Olivia and Ryan, and therefore, me.
Or I could fight. Fight that battle between my heart, my head, and my gut, and power through, knowing that although Olivia is sad that I’m leaving right now, she WILL be okay–that this, too, shall pass.
Ironically, I do both.
As printed in National Right to Life News Today on March 7, 2013:
True confession: I’ve thrown up in airports, even in an airport parking lot, once, after leaving my family (as my daughter Olivia says) “yet again” for another speaking engagement or advocacy opportunity. It’s not a pretty thing, to throw up in a public place, particularly when you have a runny nose and tears streaming down your face from being upset.
And I’m not one of those “pretty” criers. I sob. And wail. And can’t catch a breath. And have a bright red nose and blotchy skin. I mentioned in Part 1 of this two-part series that making a sacrifice for the unborn, and specifically, the sacrifice of leaving my family, is not easy some days, and throwing up in the airport parking lot is a true sign of that.
Another true confession: I’ve lost friends and even had relationships with both friends and family members be forever changed as a result of being so highly involved in the pro-life movement. Just last week, I swear that I could hear the crickets chirping when I told a new acquaintance who I am and what I do. What first started out as a sincere interest on her part to get to know me has now turned into no further contact with me after my great “confession.” I could chalk it up to her being busy, but I know better. I’m sure many of you can relate.
I know in my heart that what I do is important, what each of us does is important, and God blesses me by often allowing me to see and hear the impact that being a pro-life speaker and advocate has on people and on the world. But, to be honest, there are days that I long to live a life with less sacrifice (as if there’s this level playing field where one sacrifice is “less” than another), one where I can’t feel the pain of that sacrifice so intensely.
I realize, though, that that’s what makes a sacrifice a sacrifice. For me, leaving those that I love is the greatest sacrifice that I can make. Yes, I make sacrifices with my time, our finances, and my plans for my life, but being away from my family is highest on the list of sacrificial giving for me.
Your greatest sacrifice on behalf of unborn children may be identical with mine or completely different. It may be sacrificing what extra piece of time or finances you have available.
Let me put it this way. We may be making different sacrifices, but by giving that which means the most to us or has the greatest cost, we are each making sacrifices equally.
And as Olivia reminded me recently, by making sacrifices together, by working side by side, one day we will be successful in ending abortion and improving the lives of women, men, and children in need.
As she was engaging in imaginary play before I was getting ready to leave “yet again,” Olivia told me, “Mommy, I’m going to go speak now, too, so that you don’t have to do it alone. Because if we work together, then we can get more done and abortion will be over quicker.”
Olivia’s up for making a sacrifice with her time, apparently, and so am I. So, who’s with us?