Reading Facebook, I see I have friends on “both sides of the aisle,” and some are about as far apart as they can get.
That’s okay. You won’t see me admonishing this group or that one on FB. My Facebook philosophy is that we are all adults and God didn’t put me in charge of Facebook refereeing. I have friends who are pro-life and others who are pro-choice.
I have Facebook buddies who were on the “Trump Train” and others who are gearing up to be “The Resistance.”
So I don’t post a lot of politics. And while I’ve been working with life-affirming pregnancy help ministries since 1991, my political views are likely found on Twitter but not as much on Facebook.
With that said, I’ll admit it: I was at the March for Life in Washington D.C. Friday. The day before, I took part in Heartbeat International’s “Babies Go To Congress” initiative.
Babies Go To Congress is Heartbeat’s opportunity to highlight the work of pregnancy help ministries across the country; where moms tell legislators and their aides how these centers helped them through a challenging situation.
Though I’ve worked remotely with Heartbeat (based in Columbus, OH) for a few years out of my home office in Nashville, this was my first opportunity to go to what we call “BGTC” and the March for Life.
Simply put, this was an experience, and a good one. Frankly, I wasn’t initially excited about going. The last few years I’ve been speaking at a lot of events, and November through February is a down time I guard closely; it’s hard to get me away from my family during these months and during my other “off” season, June-August.
But I went. And I’m better for it.
My role involved accompanying Terry, the executive director of TrueCare in Casper, WY, along with one of her clients, Acacia–and son Axton. We visited each office in the Wyoming delegation with a simple message: Pregnancy Help Centers are good for America.
We weren’t there to fight the battle over abortion. We weren’t there to ask for money (which in DC, I found out, surprises legislative aides). All we asked for was to be considered as a resource as questions came up.
So many want to attack these centers as “fake clinics” or other nonsense. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not to be argumentative, but the center where I once served offers not only pregnancy testing, ultrasound and STD testing and treatment, but also 20 weeks of prenatal care. The cost? Not a dime to those who come in the door. Not one cent. But I digress.
BGTC taught me a few things.
For one, I’m thankful for Heartbeat’s President, Jor-El Godsey. He’s a model of humility, wisdom and compassion. We served as “team leaders” for our mom and executive director from Wyoming, but he led. I was good at watching and wrestling with 10-month-old Axton who was looking for every opportunity to wiggle free. He almost won a few times.
I also learned that moms like Acacia are extremely courageous. She walked into the offices of some of the most powerful men and women in the world and was willing to tell her story transparently and honestly. One legislative aide told us, “I’ve cried one other time in three years on the hill. This was the second.”
On Friday after the March, my role was to help Acacia get Axton on a plane back to Denver and on to Casper. As we were getting her checked in I asked if she would relax a bit and sleep in on Saturday. “No,” she told me. “I’ve got work to go to work (as a restaurant server) at 9 tonight, and me and Axton will go together.”
She wasn’t finished. “Tomorrow I’ll go into work at (an oil company), but only for a couple of hours.” Only?
A third piece of new knowledge? There are a lot of good people on Capitol Hill. A lot. The aides I met (I only got to see the Republican side of the aisle as Wyoming’s representation is all GOP) were accommodating, friendly and attentive.
One aide helps a pregnancy center in her (few) off hours. Another hustled by foot for 20 minutes from another engagement to make our meeting, then gave us extra time. Yet another was in her third day on the job and still moving in to her office, but treated us as if we were coming from the White House.
So Liz, Jay and Sarah; you’re right for America. I got to see it first-hand.
Finally, at the March for Life I realized I like hanging out with those who believe in celebrating every life. I’m not disparaging anyone here. But it was a privilege to be a small part (1/500,000th?) of the Rally and March for Life. Several of my friends were on stage, but I was in the back of the crowd.
There, I saw a lot of regular people who were smiling, encouraging and kind. With hundreds of thousands of people, things can probably get crazy. Not here.
Lines were orderly. I never saw one person pushed, never heard a word of profanity, and as we approached police, we’d wave and with smiles, they waved back. In a crowd of so many, I never considered any safety issues. Not once.
No group is perfect I know, but this was one of the cleanest groups I’ve ever been around. As I walked well over a mile with people everywhere, I saw but one piece of trash—a sign—laying on the ground. I’m sure there was garbage that didn’t make it to a receptacle; I just didn’t see it.
It was an impressive group, to be sure.
Tuesday, we’ll get back to my journey to a First Century Faith. But as a pause in our journey, I thought I might give you some insight from a first-timer at the March for Life.