Learning Joyful Hope: Reflections from the March for Life

Ever since I was in high school, I made it a very clear decision that I was going to attend the March for Life. Although I’ll admit… at the time, it may have been for the wrong reasons. At the time I was in a youth group. A really good one at that. There were solid kids who loved God and really brought me closer to my faith (and continue to today).  But the first few times I attended the March, it was purley for social reasons. Yes, I joined in on the “we love baby” chants and wore the appropriate neon scarves so we could find our group easily, but apparently being there wasn’t enough to convince me about why we did this.

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It wasn’t until I was in college after I had had a bit of a re-version (like a conversion but more like a re-awakening) that I saw why we did this. I really felt it in my bones that abortion was inherently wrong and I truly became passionate about it from that point. But there was a part of me that always left the March feeling a little discouraged. Like… that was it? We march and yell for a few hours with signs and then get back on the bus and go home? What have we even accomplished? Who listened to us? Cause it sure feels like no one. The media won’t report on the 400,000+ people who attended and if they do report on it, it’s with a lot of bias or reported as “hundreds of youth”. Hundreds?!? Really? Try hundreds of thousands.

So you can see why this would be discouraging to a young college student who just wanted to make even a little difference. But it wasn’t until this year that things became a bit clearer. I was blessed to be given the chance to attend the March for Life for work. As I was taking photos, it really gave me a new view of the March I had never seen before. I was partaking in the March, but more so I was watching everyone else partake in the March. It was a very different way to expereince this day, through the eyes of others.

I began to aprreciate what we were here to do. But then… came the discouraging thoughts. We hadn’t even left the March this time and they were coming. It wasn’t until we were mid-March (nearing the “big hill”) when I was walking next to a priest quietly saying the rosary with a teenager. As people realized they were praying, a man stepped in to join them. Then a small young family. Then three random teenagers. Then a two nuns. Pretty soon this “little” rosary had turned into at least 15 people saying the rosary while we walked downtown. And then it hit me.

         For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Mt. 18:20

Here we are in a sea of people. All here for one reason: to stand up for the human person. Some are religious people, some are not. But I would say a VERY large majority there were gathered in God’s name. So if that’s the case, if all these people, praying or not, are gathered here in Christ’s name, who am  to say this can’t work? Who am to doubt the power of God? He tells us where two or three are gathered… well here we had 400,000+ so I KNOW God was very much in our midst.

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It came down to me trusting. I haven’t always been good at trusting God that he’ll make things work out, but my doubts have always been cast aside as once again I am shown that He is in charge. So as I witnessed this “rosary mob” take form it not only gave me this complete trust that God, in His time, will answer our prayers, but I was given a joyful hope. Joyful because that’s just what God does when He teaches you something, He lets you feel complete joy because He’s just that good to us. And hope because I believe good things will come from this. It may be small at first, and I may never live to see it’s full outcome, but I believe and trust that there is an end in sight to this March. There will always be a need to fight for life and until the day we have done what we came to do, we will joyfully come to D.C. and we will march with hope.

Joyful hope, how original, Annie amiright?! Although it may not be a huge epiphany on how to change or revive this movement, it was my own little piece of an “Ah-ha!” moment. And yes, next year those discouraging thoughts might just come back. But if they do I’ll be ready because I have a hope in something and Someone far bigger than any “discouraging” thought.

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