Pray, then Pivot

By Myrna Maloney Flynn, MCFL President

The key to winning is choosing to do God's will and loving others with all you've got.

- Lou Holtz

I pulled the VHS tape from my suitcase and eagerly gave it to my host sister after dinner. Though I was still jet-lagged from my flight to Osaka that morning, I felt only excitement at the thought of finally getting to share the home video I recorded prior to leaving the States. I’d shot snippets of a typical American teenage existence: my rowdy friends, good natured teachers, teasing siblings, my dog. 

The whole Suzuki family gathered around the small living room TV to watch: my three host sisters, their parents and grandmother. My host sister pushed the tape into the player, and I anticipated the colorful opening scene—a pep rally in my school gym. Instead, a black and white picture appeared on the screen. In those first few seconds, I wasn’t sure what we were seeing among the images of billowing smoke and apparent chaos. Then I saw the ships and planes above them. “Oh dear God,” I thought. “That’s Pearl Harbor.”  

Panic. Prayer. Pivot.

“Yameru!” (Stop!) I called out one of the few words I’d learned in my crash course in Japanese and jumped from my chair, madly searching for the remote control. Nobody moved. They just watched me. The next few seconds felt like a week. I prayed for guidance when no one else moved to turn off the video, seemingly unsurprised by their exchange student’s apparent poor judgment. I took the only action available. I pushed everyone aside, rushed to the player and hit the “stop” button myself, surely breaking all kinds of cultural norms.   

From that moment on, I did everything I could to ensure good relationships with my host family, from laughing at jokes I didn’t get, to eating questionable foods, going to school, and taking karaoke seriously. A year later, my own family returned the hospitality I received and welcomed my host sister to our house. 

I never learned how the tapes got switched. Even all these years later, it still doesn’t make sense to me. But, as humiliating as the experience was, I’ve come to understand that, for whatever reason, it was part of “The Plan.”

In the last few weeks, you and I experienced a certain level of panic. We have prayed unceasingly, perhaps for a return of very basic things we took for granted last month. We had plans. Lots of them. But for the sake of our neighbors, those we know and those we don’t, but who we love and respect just the same, we have chosen to pivot, to change our plans and make new ones. And as we settle into a “new normal,” we work to understand God’s will in all of this—and to do it.

I write to let you know that, first of all, at MCFL, it’s not panic we feel as much as an urgent sense of duty to recognize and honor those who are on Covid-19 related lifesaving missions. And we pray that we will be able to successfully pivot, as we have been called to do. 

For example, we have asked our chapter directors to lead mask-sewing efforts. As I write this, several members have taken their Singers out of storage and are following simple sets of instructions we provided, making mask after mask to be delivered to area medical professionals in need. Want to help? Simply send an email to our team at action @ masscitizensforlife . org

Though we were forced to cancel our Annual Convention and will postpone our May 7 Mother’s Day Dinner, my team and I are in no way turning away from our efforts to defeat the so-called ROE Act. As we have been for over a year, MCFL is still doggedly working, daily, to reach legislators and convey our opposition on your behalf. While we cannot lobby in person as we’d like, we continue to communicate to our elected officials the grave dangers of this bill. If you have not yet done so, please sign our petition today.

Finally, my friends, I ask for your prayers for two members of our MCFL community. A week ago, we learned that former MCFL Board member and current President of the Pro Life Legal Defense Fund, Bob Joyce, tested positive for the coronavirus. He remains hospitalized but, according to his family, is improving after participating in a Remdesiver trial. We learned via email this morning that Bob, “is stable and his oxygen requirement has been reduced by more than 50%. He wants you to know how grateful he is for all of your thoughts and prayers.” A second MCFL community member also received positive test results last week. Please keep both her and Bob in your prayers.

We will win at the end of this thing. In a way, as we pull so quickly together as united, loving citizens during this unprecedented time, we already have. But until the game itself is over, we’ll have to work to discern, and then do, God’s will and love each other with all we’ve got.


Our efforts to restore protection and respect for each individual human life in our Commonwealth continue behind-the-scenes. 

Your support at this time is just as critical. Please consider donating today as much as you feel you are able.

$100, $200, or even just $50 make a life-saving difference to us and the voiceless for whom we speak. 

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  • C.J. Williams
    published this page in In The News 2020-04-21 14:28:48 -0400