Here we are, somehow, in September.
This time of the year is full of memories for many of us: memories of back-to-school shopping, serious contemplation over our first day of school outfits, sharpening pencils and packing our bulging backpacks. I recall always being so careful to go to bed at an early hour, and often being unable to fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning because I was so wired. Despite little sleep, I would jolt out of bed as soon as my alarm went off.
That was not the case this morning. I am not in school but my entire job is oriented to supporting students, so when you start school, our busy summer shifts into hyper drive for the fall. But this morning I did not want to be conscious, not because I was tired, but because I did not want to face the challenges of the day. No, to be entirely accurate, I didn’t want to face the challenges of the day, the week, the semester, the year…you get the picture.
It’s not that I mind hard work. I happily give up evenings and weekends, like every other pro-life activist in the country, to do what needs to get done. No, my problem isn’t the work. It’s the fear that I won’t be capable of the work. It’s the fear of failure: of letting people down, of not being able to do it all, of not being able to do it all perfectly. My perfectionist tendencies needle me and procrastination is an almost irresistible temptation. And yes, I succumbed briefly to the temptation of the ‘snooze’ button this morning.
It is easy to disguise these fears with the easily accepted explanation of being “too busy”. The reality is, no matter how ‘busy’ we are with school and work, we do have time. We make time everyday for things that aren’t really priorities – or shouldn’t be anyway – in our lives. We make time for Facebook, we make time for Youtube videos, for watching TV, for random Google searches we can’t even recall the original purpose for. We make time for people, socializing, going out. And we do make time for pro-life activism, but we all struggle to keep up. Those emails that must get written, the meetings we promised to attend, the tasks we promised to take on are all important aspects of that activism. They are the little choices that build a foundation for having an impact on campus.
Time is part of the issue, but what is the deeper root of our problem? What are we afraid of?
Are we afraid of what other people will think? Maybe we’d rather keep our activism on the down low; we’re still doing pro-life things…as long as no one we know notices.
Are we afraid that we won’t be able to fulfill our responsibilities properly, so we procrastinate until we have to bow out with an excuse?
Are we afraid that we’ll let our fellow club members down? Afraid that we’ll let the cause down?
These are all real fears that can paralyze us, if we let them. So as we go back-to-school and prepare ourselves for the year, let’s give ourselves a good dose of perspective. I dare you to ask yourself a dangerous question, a question that radically changed my time at university and continues to get me out of bed even on daunting mornings: is the fear that is holding me back more important than the message I have to share? Or, will the reality of 300 innocent lives lost every day to abortion in Canada propel me to overcome my fears and insecurities?
I know that standing here, on the brink of a new semester, can be daunting. All of us would prefer to merely dip our toes or wade in the waters of the cause. But injustices are never righted by people taking an occasional lukewarm interest. Conviction must lead to commitment if we are to succeed in ending abortion. It requires us to be brave and bold enough to stop hugging the shoreline and dive past our fears into the deep uncertain waters of a life lived for others.
So sign up for an executive position with your club, organize that first club meeting, plan those events, book those club tables, remind those friends about getting involved, and live as if somebody else’s life depends on it – because it does.