But what if I'm afraid?
But what if I don't have the right words?
But what if I make it worse?
These thoughts ran through Antonia's head a million times before she volunteered to join the 40 Days for Life campaign, and witness to the value of the lives taken inside the Worcester Planned Parenthood this year.
I wonder if civil rights fighters didn't think the same things. Did men and women watching Martin Luther King Jr. ask themselves: Will I be safe? Will it make a difference?
In this day and age, we are pummeled by powerlessness. It doesn't matter and my voice won't count are messages that drag through our heads and hearts like an undertow. These lies leave us drowning if we listen to them, and they take away the incredible power we have with just our one voice and our simple presence.
But the truth is: Your voice makes a tremendous difference. When you speak, you give a helpless human being an advocate in the public square. When you show up, you give women a sign that their lives and equality are not rooted in violence and isolation; that they can live fully without submitting to the violence of abortion.
If you're in any doubt, please scroll down and read an old friend's 40 Days for Life story -- and the baby she met months after she met that very child's parents approaching the abortion facility.
Katie says, "Yesterday this beautiful little girl, whose parents I had the privilege of meeting outside Planned Parenthood, was born. It's the most amazing feeling in the world, after all the early mornings, the bitter cold, the even more bitter people, the countless parents who refuse our help and come back out of those doors hours later, forever changed."
Katie has long struggled with the idea that she isn't pleasant enough, or won't have the right words, but she goes on:
"As long as you're a gentle, caring person, you can save lives. If you've met me in person you know I'm the most awkward, socially phobic person in the world. If I can sidewalk counsel literally anyone can (you just have to not be a jerk ). If you've never been on the sidewalk before, just come down, you'll get used to it. And if you've only come during 40dfl, keep coming. Get trained, and start trying to start conversations."
Women struggling with the pressure to abort don't need your brilliant arguments, and the abortion workers don't either. They, like us, and like the children whose lives are taken behind the doors of unregulated, surgical clinics, need your presence. They need your love and your strong conviction that human lives are worth every ounce of discomfort and every moment of freezing wind.
"We save more lives than we know about," Katie continued, "Every once in a while someone will come out, and almost as an afterthought, tell us they didn't go through with it. Or someone will come up to us with a child or a picture of a child and thank us for being there however many months ago. So I'm sure there are days when we feel like we've done no good at all out there, when in reality we've spared a baby from a violent death and an entire family from a lifetime of pain, but no one ever tells us.
You may think "that's a good thing for people to do, but I'm not cut out for it." Well I'm certainly not either. But there are hours when no one is there to offer hope to these families who so desperately need it. Aren't you better than an empty sidewalk? The babies need you out there. If you keep coming long enough, it's very likely that you'll save someone's life."
Don't worry about yourself. Come on out. Heroes aren't the buff boys and girls on the silver screen. Heroes are more like hobbits -- or like Katie: ordinary people with just enough courage to stand in the freezing wind and against their own feelings inadequacies, and meet the women, men, and preborn babies with love.
Antonia took the step to stand up for life in Worcester after following Katie's example. You can do that, too.
And that kind of culture is the culture that will make abortion unthinkable.
Join us outside one of the abortion facilities in Massachusetts during or after the 40 Days for Life Campaign.
Need a buddy? Email us: [email protected]
Planned Parenthood - Worcester: 470 Pleasant St, Worcester, MA
Planned Parenthood - Boston: 1055 Commonwealth Ave. Boston, MA
Planned Parenthood - Springfield: 3550 Main St Suite 201 Suite 201, Springfield, MA