Last year at this time, I made a vow. I vowed to never return to the DC March for Life. After a long, uncomfortable day in painfully cold weather that ended with crying and a harrowing drive, I’d reached the end of my rope.
Now God is not One to be put to the test and I wasn’t actually testing Him, but I told God if He ever wanted me to return He’d have to work it out so that my husband could attend again. Seeing as the march typically fell on a Monday, I felt confident that I was in the clear. My husband had been my co-pilot in previous years, but since we ventured out into business on our own, two years ago, sick/vacation days are non-existent. So, when I learned the 2014 March for Life had been scheduled for a Wednesday (my husband’s regular day off) it seemed my bluff was called.
My husband thoughtfully pointed out January is part of our slow season, and our family budget couldn’t easily meet the extra expense to transport our crew of ten to and fro. Oh well, I thought, there’s my out. Just as I’d started to get comfortable with that obstacle, my children, one by one, began emptying out their piggy banks. From our 17 year old to our 5 year old, they tallied up their savings and informed me they had their portions covered.
A farmer often purchases our stale products to feed to his pigs, but the holidays threw that arrangement out of sync. Consequently, we’d accumulated a larger than usual back stock for him. When he counted out his payment last week my 7 year old son was quick to draw my attention to the fact that the payment was the exact amount needed to pay for my husband’s and my seats on the parish bus.
Finally, I relented and we registered for a block on the bus.
Briefly, a sense of peace and purpose steeled my will. But isn’t it the way that when God whispers (and we listen), the evil one roars.
The weathermen betrayed my confidence with forecasts for bitter temperatures, plummeting lower by the hour. And though snow is a rarity in North Carolina, it is snowing here hours before we’re due to rouse our sleepy brood in the dark pre-dawn hours. This year we have a baby to keep warm and how will our 5 year old fare without benefit of a double stroller. Surely, our prayers from the security of home could suffice. Indeed, I must be crazy to think our participation will even make a difference. Anxiety and discouragement rattled through my head.
Then, as if on cue, while I was randomly trolling online tonight my Facebook feed had this advice to offer from my spiritual father:
If God wills to prolong our trials, do not let us lament or try to find out the reason. . .We have to see God through the fire of thorns, and to do this we must go barefoot and renounce our own will and affection and accept the will of God wholeheartedly. St. Padre Pio
That word “barefoot” reminded me of the barefooted religious Brother whose path we’d crossed at last year’s march. His self-sacrificial testimony (walking shoeless on the icy streets of downtown Washington in the sea of hard-soled companions) beckoned our attention without words. I’ll never know the reason for his drastic penance, but it seems clearer now that he had accepted the will of God wholeheartedly and so, too, should I.
So, in a few short hours from now, I will roll out from beneath warm blankets, rub the sleep from my eyes and rally the troops to the ready. Tomorrow I willwalk in the 2014 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
I will march for those who want to be there, but can’t. I will endure the discomforts for all the women who are suffering in silence from their abortions. I will walk while shouldering the weight of my littlest one slung across my body to give witness for all the babies who’ll never know the loving embrace of their mama. I will march tomorrow because my presence matters. I will march because although our trials in this fight have been prolonged for the last 41 years, it is the will of God that we continue because one day soon He will lead us into victory!