Kind promise: I will advocate courageously.

What is courageous advocacy in my life right now?

Be here, heart openDuring my childhood, missionaries were held up  as the highest form of courageous advocacy. I remember the raised eyebrows of first grade teachers when I said I wanted to be a medical missionary when I grew up. In my 20s, I hesitated over step three of the 12 steps because I worried my higher power would require me to leave my husband and my life to serve in a “third world country.” (We talked like that back then.) Even now, with three limbs paralyzed, I find myself wanting to do more. I am always hankering for Big Sacrifice. Perhaps that is one of the dark sides of a Christian upbringing.

Right now, my advocacy consists of sending email and making phone calls. I encourage politicians to vote with compassion. I counsel friends to take action to get what they need. I help group members communicate with each other.

Living in this body, I am invited to go – not bigger and wider – but deeper.

Practicing deep courage, I might:

  • release my greed for being useful, accomplishing things and – hardest and potentially most revolutionary – impressing other people.
  • slow down, listen and hear people’s stories instead of being attached to outward agendae
  • embrace stories of need and injustice so that I feel them before rushing to fix the causes

It sounds so simple, but it is not who I have ever been. I have always been a doer and an organizer. I have listened to you so that we could get something done together. I have listened to you so that I could communicate your story, your needs, your product to someone else. I have not listened with my heart to your heart. I want to change that.

Tricky for me, this is not a change for which I can make a plan. This cannot be a 12 step program. It is, moment by moment, a call to be here, heart open.