I typically focus on the good days at HOPE. I share the stories of redemption and reconciliation as we celebrate the lives of our patients and their babies. I am not apologizing for this, but I do think at times it is easy for us, the pregnancy center movement, to neglect sharing the hard days of our work. The days where life may not be chosen, the days where rape is a reality, or the days where dreams of a pregnancy are shattered due to a miscarriage.
These days populate our calendar as we seek to serve the city God has placed us in. Our staff and volunteers face these hard days with much poise and grace as they carefully and humbly offer an ear to hear. This is no small task as the brokenness displayed in our patients’ realities can be overwhelming.
I have been guilty of seeing the issue of life, that we care so deeply about, as just that, an issue. It is easy to make arguments and statements concerning choices when we see this issue as an abstract one. We formulate our points and craft our narrative carefully as we articulate our stance on life. We paint pictures with our words to convince the hearer to join our side.
This abstract formula can detach us from the reality of abortion and its effects when we discuss or debate the issue from an aerial view instead of a ground view. This aerial view, at times, prevents us from seeing the actual lives, image bearers, that are impacted. We fail to recognize that real people are dealing with real choices. They, our patients, are not concerned about a legislative policy or the latest protest. They are simply in need of assistance.
I am certainly not arguing for us to disengage from the conversation. Our voices need to be heard as we stand for every life. I am, however, suggesting that we be willing, as needed, to make some adjustments to our approach. These adjustments come when we decide to not just engage in the broad discussion, but to also engage in the work at a ground level. This type of engagement occurs daily at pregnancy centers across the country.
We know some days will be easier than others, but regardless of what the difficulty level may be we continue to show up and offer care. Hard days don’t send us packing, instead, these hard days force us to recommit. They force us to dig a little deeper and love a little more.
Abstract narratives don’t provide much hope or assistance to a young woman that has been raped. Rehearsed talking points offer little solace to a young family facing the news of a miscarriage. This is a hard truth for me at times as I spend much of time crafting my speech and formulating my points as I prepare to articulate a pro-life message that will connect with the masses. Honing one’s skills is not a bad trait, but refusing to leave room for an audible can be costly.
I am not calling for us to water down our message. I am not arguing for less engagement. I am heavily engaged in the aerial view of pro-life work at a state and federal level. We need this type of effort, but it cannot come at the expense of the ground level work often seen and provided inside the walls of a pregnancy resource center.
When we choose to associate ourselves with the ground level work of the pro-life movement we will choose to step into the storm, hear from those we serve, and love them right where they are. It is in this storm and on this hard day that we can point them, not to a policy, but to the wonderful truth of life. This is where redemption and reconciliation happens…in the storm on hard days. That’s a story worth sharing.