How many times have I been here, this third week of January, accompanying students as they march joyfully for life? Year after year, and now decade after decade. Now some of the students I brought are adults, here with their own groups. How many times? I’m tired and bus rides are hard and I hoped I’d be asleep by now.
Last year I spoke to our group and said:
Look at the shoes on your feet and the shoes next to you. These are the shoes that contain the most precious thing that exists: a human person.
It’s Not a Mistake You’re Here
You’ve probably heard many adults say they’re glad they didn’t have to go to high school “nowadays”: life is hard, culture is ruthless, everyone is watching, everyone is waiting to destroy you for every tiny mistake. It’s tempting to hide your beliefs and keep quiet.
But it’s not a mistake that you’re here in these shoes. The world is not too messed up. Things aren’t too far gone. Because things weren’t ever better or easier for God.
And he has made you for now, for this moment. He’s not surprised by how the culture has twisted and turned, nor by what grave problems our society is suffering. He’s not trying to figure out how to revise the plan.
What an incredible thing that God made you for now. He knows exactly what he’s doing.
God has made you not to hide, but to be the visible, bright, radiant flame of a new generation that loves life passionately, warmly, fiercely, boldly, generously, with open arms and humor and joy.
Marching for life is not once a year.
It’s not a collection drive.
It’s not a club.
It’s not a post you make.
It’s not a Supreme Court ruling or any law.
Being pro-life, pro-woman, pro-the-most-precious-thing-that-exists is seeing what God sees and loving what God loves: the human person. Being pro-life is humanizing all those who have been dehumanized.
You have the power to do this every single day. To humanize those dehumanized by abortion, but also by racism, or poverty, or homelessness, or addiction, or by fear of immigrants, or by crime, or by prison, or by abuse, or trauma in your family, or even dehumanized by filters or cliques or porn addiction or enslavement to video games or by stupid, false standards of worth like an ACT score or a scholarship. You have the power every single day to humanize the people around you. You have the power every single time you make eye contact with another human being to see what God sees and love what God loves and restore what God has created.
Do More, Love More, Be More
Every solution begins with this. If we want to end the tragedy of abortion, we humanize the unborn. But we also humanize their mothers, the women who feel that abortion is their only option: befriend them, listen to them, accompany them. Humanize the men who are connected, the men who struggle to figure out what it means to be a man.
Every solution to poverty, to racial injustice, to homelessness, to violent crime, to capital punishment: it all starts with seeing people as people. Walking not in their shoes, because you can’t, but in your own, right next to them.
It’s not going to be easy, ever. Our world suffers so profoundly from so much deficiency, so much lack of really seeing others.
Being pro-life means you’re going to have to do more and also love more than the status quo. You’re going to have to be more patient, more kind, more intentional. You’re going to have to listen patiently when people attack or accuse. You’re going to have to respond lovingly when people cast false blame. You’re going to have to speak truth even when it comes at a cost. You’re going to have to keep going when everyone else is just checking the boxes and checking out. You’re going to have to make sacrifices of your time and energy.
Put On Your Boots
It’s long work to love people, to bring justice, to solve problems, to build and rebuild what gets torn down.
But here’s the thing: look around you. You are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone. Look around and see how much abundance has already been provided, and trust that everything else will be provided too.
Pray, keep talking to God. Let him show you what he sees in you, and let him light the fire of loving what he loves in you.
Fire is catching. You have received the spark to change this world. Don’t let it go out. Don’t hide the light the world so desperately needs. Stir it up into flames. Put on your boots, even if you’re tired. And start marching.