Today tens of thousands of brave souls will be marching in Washington to witness to life.
God bless them. It will be frigid cold and it will be a long day. It is an important work that they are doing and how I wish I could be there, too. I've only been to one March in my life, unfortunately, but it was a powerful experience. Someday, in a different season of life, I hope to be there again, this time bringing my children and husband along. (Actually, what I really hope is that we don't need to march ever again, right?) For now, I have to build a culture of life where He has put me. There are so many ways that we can witness to the dignity of life in "little" ways and it is these little changes that have the ability to spread and change the culture. These little acts can make people stop and think and perhaps be that little seed planted within lukewarm hearts that reminds them that every human life is precious.
Be not afraid. Don't be afraid to talk about abortion or any life issue. A well-placed and charitable status update, meme, or comment in the grocery line can change a mind and, quite possibly, save a life. Don't be obnoxious and pick and choose what you post or say carefully but don't allow fear to silence you. And don't hide behind the "preach the Gospel at all times only use words when necessary" thing (the thing St. Francis never really said). The point behind that is that our lives must be a witness not that we should shut up and never speak the truth. When babies are dying, perhaps words are necessary.
Don't give in to the "at least they're not dead" mentality. This mentality says that as long as we keep the unborn baby alive, we're pro-life. Survival should be the bare minimum, right? Every baby not only deserves to LIVE but to THRIVE. They deserve to have their needs met and to be treated before, during, and after birth they way we would like to be treated. Treat every child and baby the way you would like to be treated. Don't laugh off the suffering of babies.
Recognize miscarriage as a very real death. If you believe that the unborn child is as much a person as a child outside the womb, with the same value and dignity, then treat it as such. If it is your baby, have a funeral Mass, bury their body if you can, do not be afraid to talk about your child. If it is someone you know, send a card, make a meal, have a Mass said, send flowers, or call them to express your sympathy.
Stop complaining about your kids. Whether it's on Facebook or every time you are out with friends, stop. I'm NOT saying to deny that mothering is hard work, sometimes excruciatingly so. And sometimes that needs to be expressed in the right setting. I'm not talking about having lighthearted fun about the sometimes ridiculous work of parenthood or simple joking around. What I am saying is that no one is benefitted when you whine about your children or the sacrifices of parenthood 24/7, especially that young person who is facing a crisis pregnancy who happens to see your status or your own little one who will remember mom talking about you to her friends. Be different. Use your unique voice to celebrate the dignity of your children.
Try to avoid using the line "as long as they're healthy" when referring to birth, children, or anyone, really. It's offensive to those raising special needs children. I remember reading a blog somewhere long ago from a mother to a special needs child expressing how hurtful that line could be when she was awaiting the birth of her child who they knew had some disabilities. If they're not healthy, then...what? They're not as glad to have them? They're not worth as much? The unanswered implications of that seemingly benign phrase undermines that EVERY life has dignity, even if they're not healthy and gives muscle to the disgusting eugenics push in the culture and the medical community that encourages the aborting of special needs children in the womb.
Grieve with those struggling with infertility. Many many couples carry the heavy burden of longing to welcome a child into their home but for whatever reason have not been blessed in that way. Don't wave it off and try not to give unasked for advice. Pray for them.
Celebrate and help those who are welcoming a child through adoption. Throw them a baby (or kid) shower. Give what you can to those who are adopting internationally. The costs are ridiculous and many of these families need help to save these children. Even if you don't know anyone personally, there are organizations like Reece's Rainbow that allow people to help specific orphans and families raise the necessary funds to give these children a family. Pray about whether your family is called to adopt.
What would you add? What are some concrete "little" ways that we can build up a culture of life? I keep thinking of more but I'm going to stick with the seven for now and maybe add on in another post.
Please pray for all those marching today and then head over to Jen's for more takes, probably of the much less intense variety.