Walking through my neighborhood last week, I witnessed a disturbing verbal scuffle among two neighborhood men. The incident was out-of-place for this subdued, well-manicured and mature neighborhood that we’ve called home since my adult children were toddlers. For more than 20 years, our little village here has been a sanctuary of friends who’ve shared everything from meals and tools to tears and laughter.
If I were honest with myself, I’d admit that I see more of these tense altercations these days: in grocery store lines, sitting in traffic, and certainly in social media and on network news. Divisiveness is not only alive and well, but it’s thriving in many corners of society. It sometimes seems we’re losing the art of civil discussion and collaborative problem-solving.
In my new role at the Pregnancy Aid Clinic, I spend a lot of time observing. Call me an over-thinker, but I find it important to listen and learn from people who have carved paths ahead of me. And what I’m seeing is invigorating. The PAC team’s advocacy for pregnant women, mothers, fathers, teens and families bely the negativity that can permeate our surroundings. I see help, hope and support for pregnant women who feel they have no options. I see genuine love and concern for frightened people who are at the end-of-their rope and have no friends or family to rely on. I see teams of workers who are willing to go the extra mile with patience- never giving up or moving on to the next “project.”
Perhaps the most important insight I’ve gleaned during my first few weeks at PAC is the reciprocal impact of upholding life. As advocates, we are as lifted-up as the people we serve. Friendships fuel life and bring us all hope. It’s how we’re made. The bonding power of human touch, eye-to-eye contact and caring words validate our dignity. This inherent human value is what we all share. It can’t be divided, commoditized or politicized.
Let’s also be real. Life, for many of us, is difficult. Life can be messy, tiring, expensive and painful. Uncertainty adds to our anxiety. But it’s the tough times that force us to rely on each other. Sharing our challenges allows us to hand-off the weight of the cross when we need it most. A good friend doesn’t judge. She doesn’t question why we did what we did. She listens, learns, helps shoulder our burden and allows us to see options—a way out of our struggle.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream.
It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green.
In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.
Jeremiah 17: 7-8
Life can certainly be complicated. Life is also our slice of the divine. If we see our neighbor (the guy down the street, or of the Biblical sort) as our self, we can weed through the mess and celebrate life.
Lisa Regan joined PAC in June as the Co-Director of Development, working with Diane Duquette. She has a wonderful background in fundraising and marketing that she is bringing to the team at PAC. You can expect to see Lisa’s face around at church Baby Bottle campaigns and other events. We are so blessed that she has chosen our mission as her next focus. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org