My first attempt at being a pro-life volunteer was through a fantastic program of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee here in Dallas called Gabriel Angels. It involved basically being a helper-buddy-mentor to women in crisis pregnancies. I was terrible at it. I had all of the compassion and none of the resources. I was in a crisis, myself, of sorts. My car crapped out right after I finished training. I couldn’t drive ladies to the gyno or help them go sign up for Medicaid. And I couldn’t empathize over their single-mom struggles because I had never been one. I’d been up all night with sick babies – my much younger brothers – but never my own, so it wasn’t the same thing.
I wasn’t a good fit to be a Gabriel Angel. It’s a great program for housewives or couples with extra time, and especially retired people whose children are grown. But not for a 26-year-old single gal with a bus pass and a full-time job.
I’m also a bad fit for sidewalk counseling. I don’t have a problem being kind, because I do have sympathy for the women coming to the clinics. But I’m not a naturally approachable-looking person, and I don’t have any babies, which are excellent pro-life accessories. My friend Destiny is a perfect person for outside the clinics. Like me, she has cool tattoos, and young women can identify with her. But she comes equipped with several adorable children and also has a natural welcoming quality; you look at her face and want to talk to it. Not me. I’m formidable and intimidating to female strangers no matter what I do. I have never had a close friend who didn’t think I was a b-word at first, even before I opened my mouth.
Luckily, there are as many ways to be pro-life and contribute to this movement as there are people in the world. I had to ask myself: what are my gifts? Then I had to make a long list because there are so, so many. But I finally settled on two, out of literally hundreds: humility and realism. Haha, just kidding! Writing and humor.
So I said to myself, “Self, you’re going to use this.” At that point, my connection with Live Action happened effortlessly, without me even realizing what was going on. I had spent a few years by that point educating myself about abortion, writing my own blog, and having hundreds of arguments and debates, oral and written. I had also learned a lot from New Wave Feminists about the context of abortion. I had learned about the culture of death, which creates a perfect storm of circumstances for abortion to be the most common medical procedure in the country. To me, pointing out and combating the issues in the culture that create abortion became paramount.
Plato said, “Know thyself.” And from what I hear, he was pretty smart. The first step in becoming effective as a pro-life warrior is to know what you’re good at. Where and how can you help the most? I might not be terribly helpful outside a clinic or as a mentor, but I and others like me have brought a new attitude to the pro-life movement: a boldness, an appeal to reason, and a sense of humor that are unexpected to those who have stereotyped us as crazy old white men yelling Bible verses.
So ask yourself: what are my gifts? What am I good at? What makes me unique? What makes me effective in other walks of life? If you’re at a loss, ask a friend: why are you friends with me, anyway? What makes me awesome?
Are you a good writer, a great musician, a gifted teacher? Do you work in an industry where a pro-abortion attitude is prevalent? If so, it may be your calling simply to show your colleagues that there are pro-lifers among them who don’t bite. Are you particularly patient, loving, and sweet? (Me neither.) You might be a perfect sidewalk counselor, mentor, or pregnancy resource center volunteer.
Whatever your gifts, with a little creativity, there is a way to put them to work for Life. Look at National Pro-Life Cupcake Day, for example. This annual event happens on October 9, and all it requires is that you hand out cupcakes and tell people you’re celebrating the birthdays of children who never get to have one. Are you an awesome baker? Have a cupcake day every month. Do you make the best burgers in town? National Pro-Life Burger Day can be your brainchild. My point is, anything can be a conversation-starter.
Any gift you have can be your gift to the unborn.