Today was Respect Life Sunday, and the national Life Chain event (which was one of the first pro-life events I participated in). We stood at the intersection for an hour with our “Pray to End Abortion” signs and got lots of positive responses from Atchison residents. It was beautiful to see so many people out there willing to stand for life and be a witness in our community. It was especially beautiful to see many of the Benedictine professors out there praying up a storm with their kids.
It reminded me of the first time I did this two years ago. It was back home in a much busier and liberal area.
So I went and found my Facebook note I wrote the day after (before the blogging age) and thought I’d share it with you:
October 4th, 2011
Yesterday I participated in the Life Chain event, a nation-wide peaceful and prayerful event where pro-life people stand along busy streets holding signs. These signs herald pro-life messages such as “Abortion Hurts Women”, “Adoption the loving option”, and “Pray for an end to abortion”. I didn’t know what to expect going to this event, since I’d never been before, but was happy to join others in standing for life.
Our local Life Chain happened on a very busy intersection with lots of car dealerships around. I arrived with my Mom and two of my sisters. We hopped out of the car and headed down the road to get signs to hold. We got ours and joined friends along the street. I took my post, watching cars, praying that our quiet witness to life might inspire people who drove past.
Most cars zoomed past us. Some slowed down to read the signs. Of those who read the signs and responded, we got at least four positive responses for every negative response. Some waved, or gave us a thumbs up. Others honked and smiled, while a few gave us “the finger”. As I stood there on the side of the road, I wondered what these people were thinking. Did they agree with us? Did they disagree? Do they know what abortion is? Some of them thought we were crazy, as did one man who stopped and told us to quit accusing him of being a natzi *bleep*. Did any of our signs say that? No. Did any of the participants say that to him? I doubt it. I wondered what caused this man to be so bitter against us. Had he been personally hurt by abortion? I hope God blessed him with a good rest of the day, and that he continues to think about abortion. Hopefully he will come to realize the truth of the pro-life movement one day.
I smiled and waved back to the people who were honking, waving, and giving up thumbs up. It was great to see those people respond to us. I don’t know if I should be surprised, but so many people didn’t respond to us at all. Some even avoided looking at us. What was going through the minds of the drivers who were just starring in front of them?
One lady gave a big thumbs down as she waited at the stop light, and shook her head. Another person proudly displayed his finger for the world to see as he passed. A motorcyclist spat at us as he revved his engine and sped by. Had these people been personally affected by abortion? Was the woman suffering from the aftermath of one herself? As she waited at the stop light, she rested her head on her hand and starred into the distance. It looked like she was remembering something. Something that had hurt her. Maybe something we were displaying signs about…
As each of these people passed by, I prayed for them. I prayed for those who gave us thumbs up that they would have the courage to stand with us, for those who gave us a thumbs down that they will someday realize the truth about the scourge of abortion, and I especially prayed for those who did nothing, those who starred into the distance, and those who zoomed past without acknowledging us that if nothing else we planted a seed in their minds. A little seed that when they encounter abortion in their own lives, they will remember those people standing by the road with signs, and will choose life.
If I brought anything away from my Life Chain experience, I came away wishing more people passing by had responded. Even if we had had more negative responses, I would much rather have that than the countless people who did nothing. This is part of what the pro-life movement faced with. We are faced with too many people who do nothing. It may sound a bit harsh, but it’s true.
Think about it: Of the hundreds of people who passed by us, I estimate that 10 – 15% responded. Can you imagine if everyone had responded? Can you imagine if everyone was educated about abortion and took a stance on it? Can you imagine if everyone stood up for what they believed in?
This is what I see in different aspects of life. People tend to be either uneducated on the matter (and therefore unable to take a stance on it), or do not muster the willpower and courage to stand up and make a difference. How are things supposed to get better, and how are we going to help others see the truth if we don’t do anything about it? I love how this quote summarizes what I’m saying “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Boom, bam, baby. I couldn’t say it better. We can’t change hearts and help others to see the truth if we don’t try.
After reading this, ask yourself: “Am I a person who is fine watching from the sidelines, or am I a person who stands up for what I believe in, even if I stand alone?” Are you one of those people cruising down the road, or are you standing there with a sign? I sincerely hope that you are willing to stand up for what you believe in. I pray that God gives us all the courage to speak out against evil, because we need more people who are willing to get uncomfortable for what is right.