Note

NOTE: Commentary is made as a private citizen and not as Regional Coordinator for Silent No More or Leader of Rachel's Hope, unless otherwise stated.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

NINETEEN REASONS I’M GRATEFUL FOR SOBRIETY



November 8, 1997, could be considered the darkest day of my 63 years on this planet because it was the day I hit the proverbial alcoholic bottom.  I would much rather see it as the day a small flame broke through the darkness - exposing the light of life, one day at a time.

To celebrate 19 years of being sober, here are 19 reasons I’m grateful:   

1.  I no longer call people at 2 a.m. pontificating about the affairs of the world.
2.  I can stand upright without leaning against a wall or another person.
3.  I bowl better.
4.  With coffee, I am now wide awake and functional instead of being wide awake and drunk.
5.  My language doesn’t emulate a drunken sailor.
6.  I don’t have to worry about who I might have offended the night before. 
7.  I wake up in the morning without feeling as if my mouth is stuffed with cotton.
8.  I’m satisfied with who I am.  (I embellished my life back in the day – i.e., dating a pro football player, my parents were millionaires and I just worked out of boredom, I tutored movie stars, etc., etc., etc.)
9.  I no longer have to make a fool out of myself by thinking I can dance.  I’m surprised my fancy moves weren't mistaken for seizures.
10. I don’t go to work and spend most of the day in a bathroom stall, dozing. 
11. My glasses actually help me see.
12. After a night out, I come home with everything on (coat, shoes, jewelry, etc.).
13. I no longer talk as if my ears were plugged.
14. I no longer get reminded of what I had for dinner when it comes up later.
15. I can shoot a game of pool without hitting someone with the cue stick.
16. People actually let me play darts.
17. I no longer need to sleep on the bathroom floor “just in case”.
18. I no longer mistake Bengay for Colgate toothpaste!
19. Last, but not least, I never have to suffer the consequences of being drunk and on Facebook at the same time.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

First Responders for Life

November is the month the  Shockwaves of Abortion initiative addresses pro-life workers. 

 

Kevin Burke is the co-founder of Rachel's Vineyard and a pastoral associate with Priests for Life and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.  In one of his blogs on the Silent No More website he said, “When we hear of vicarious trauma, we often think of first responders; the brave men and women who serve as firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and police officers.”  He goes on to say, “There is another Population of First Responders.  These women and men are frequently marginalized, cursed, and ridiculed as they try and protect the innocent and advocate for their lives.  They are ignored or maligned by the media, society and sadly sometimes even by their own faith communities; they are the pro-life advocates on the front lines.” 

Being on the front-lines myself, I can attest to the ridicule as well as intimidation.  I can also attest to delayed emotion after a vigil or rally.   



I cannot count the times I've been sworn at, flipped off and accused of trying to humiliate and bully young women as they approach clinics.  My response is always the same, I smile and wave at the passing cars, and if confronted one-on-one by someone with a calm demeanor, I quietly listen to what he/she has to say.  Then I look him/her straight in the eye and calmly ask if they would be willing to listen to me or at least take an informational brochure.  Most walk away immediately, or they will listen until something I say probably hits close to home, then say something like, “that’s not true,” then storm off.  There are times I've been approached with so much hate and anger I know it would be fruitless to even engage in dialogue.  Those times I just smile and walk away.  Paid pro-choicers greeted us at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. with bloodied crotches and loud, disgusting chants in an attempt to drown out our Silent No More testimonies (to no avail).
 
Of course, there is also the intimidation factor.  Planned Parenthood contracts out security services and when we pro-lifers gather, our pictures are taken and the security guards constantly talk on their radios while eying us.  Some call me by name, even though I’ve never seen them before.  I try my best to develop a positive rapport with them and offer brochures, etc., but they are ordered not to take anything from us whatsoever.   


Now I’ll address delayed emotion.  As a Regional Coordinator for Silent No More, I share my abortion experience at a variety of venues, including vigils and rallies in front of clinics.  Recalling the most horrific decision and experience in my life is like ripping a bandage off, still attached to the scab.   By the time I am safely ensconced in the security of my home, the cruelness of the ridicule and intimidation added to the pain of recall pours out in a flood of tears.  It’s then I immerse myself in prayer and meditation and focus on the lives we may have touched and the faces of all those standing beside me on the front lines.  People like me who offer nothing but love, compassion and hope to the women considering abortion as well as already victimized.  I remember the many “thumbs up” and honks from other cars driving by and most importantly the days we see young women decide not to enter death’s door.  

Will it all get too overwhelming?  Will I eventually give up?  Absolutely not.  No amount of cruelty or intimidation will stop me from speaking the truth.  No amount of cruelty or intimidation will stop me from doing all I can to save a precious child from the grips of death.  No amount of cruelty or intimidation will stop me from preventing others from experiencing the physical, spiritual and emotional devastation abortion brings to all involved.  And no matter how many tears I shed when I get home from the "front",  I wipe them away with the healing love, mercy, and forgiveness received from God and my children and with the love and support from the other “first responders.”