Written by Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director
There’s a part of me that wants to do great things.
Big things. Awesome things. Culture-changing life-saving awesome-awesome things. The kind of things that make it into the movies that stir our hearts. Whether it’s the film Amazing Grace, about the abolition of the slave trade, or even the heroic quest of Lord of the Rings, something in us is captivated by adventure, heroism, and saving the day.
Then there’s the part of me that looks at the great things, blanches, and says, “Nope. No Way. Not me.”
I suspect most of us can relate to both of these and are well-acquainted with the tension that exists between them.
I know some that don’t let the ‘no way’ part get in the way of their drive for greatness. But ‘no way’ tends to be more in control of my life, at least in terms of how I feel about my ability to do great things.
In many if not most moments, I can push away that sky-high hope for greatness and think, “I don’t want to do big things. I don’t want people to make movies about my life because I don’t want to have to do anything big enough to warrant having a movie made about my life! I don’t feel capable of big things.”
It’s a paralyzing place to be.
The good news, though, if you suffer from the same fears as I do, is that the little things are the important things. They are the critical, foundational, essential, necessary things. And they are doable – even for shrinking violets like yours truly.
Am I saying not to aim for great things? No, absolutely not. But if you want to achieve those big things, you’ll still have to start with small things.
They are the little choices we are faced with everyday: the opportunities we have to speak up to defend life, the tasks we decide to accomplish to work towards that club event or that project, the emails we write to follow-up with that student we spoke to at our clubs table, the activities we decide to attend.
Consider the movies I mentioned earlier, or really any movie where people right injustice, where they overcome the odds. There’s a moment at the end of Amazing Grace where my heart nearly bursts as we watch the members of Britain’s parliament vote to abolish the slave trade. That’s what we want. We want to watch our parliament vote to protect preborn children and their moms from abortion. We want our culture to have shifted to the point that this vote is what all Canadians want.
But the thing is, Amazing Grace depicts a 18 year struggle in…2 hours. A lot of life is simply not captured. In fact, in so many movies, you’ll often see a sort of music video in the middle. That montage of people doing all of those little, hard, boring tasks that are necessary but…not very exciting for the audience. Hence the music video format. Whether it’s about abolition or whether it’s Frodo and Sam plodding along to Mordor, it’s all the work that goes into a victory.
It’s easier to be a part of the big, rousing events, like marching in the March for Life, in a sea of people who all believe what you believe. It’s harder to make those choices for life in our everyday lives: that conversation, that project, that monthly donation, that weekly club commitment. It’s harder to put ourselves out there when we’re not part of a sea of people but when we’re among our own communities, our own families, our own friends – the places where our reputations are on the line, the places where being pro-life might cost us something.
And yet, that’s where we have the most influence.
We often get discouraged because we don’t understand how we can affect society – it seems so big, so distant, so immoveable. But when we start in our existing relationships, within our communities, amongst the people we have access to and influence with, the people who know us, the people we are in contact with, that’s when societal change starts to follow.
It’s not easy; I won’t pretend it is. But that’s what social transformation needs. That’s what leads to victory.
And that’s our challenge: to be faithful to the cause in those small sacrifices, those not-so-momentous moments, the things that might never make it into the movies of our lives. And regardless of whether we want the big things or we’re afraid of them (or somehow both!), the good news is that we all can do the little things and all of the little things make all the difference in the world.