Editor’s Note: The author of this article, Grant Wilson, is a summer intern with the Pro-Life Action League. He hails from Jacksonville, Illinois, and is a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
I once found a five-dollar bill. That was a good surprise. A few days later, I found that my car wouldn’t start. That was a bad surprise.
My first “Face the Truth Tour” landed somewhere in the middle. Rather than being like free money or a failing motor system—completely good or bad—spending eight days traveling all around Chicago and showing graphic abortion pictures to my fellow citizens stands somewhere in the middle as a surprisingly difficult, surprisingly revealing, and surprisingly rewarding experience.
The difficulty, I suppose, should have been expected, a natural complement to the time of year and the focus of our protest. After all, the July heat and the hatred surrounding the abortion debate are not exactly new patterns in our climate or culture.
Along with the rising temperatures, though, there was an astonishing number of rising tempers.
“Get a life!” “F*** you!” “Go to Hell!” The passersby screamed as they drove or walked past. “God bless!” “Have a good day!” We shouted back.
Their curses met our kindness; their middle fingers encountered friendly waves; their taunts earned them nothing in return, except perhaps the blessing of a Rosary’s beads, the silent prayer of a roadside volunteer.
Lastly, there was the surprising reward, perhaps the hardest to foresee of the three. When most people hear “reward,” they picture holiday bonuses and vacation time, trophies and medals of honor. Few would include sweltering heat and screeching spectators on the same list, but, as one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most famous poems begins, “All that is gold does not glitter.”
Not only did the Tour not glitter, it was often buried under a heap of verbal abuse. If every insult were a festering fruit and every angry gesture a rotten tomato, we’d have enough spoiled food to last a lifetime.
Sounds disgusting, right? But add a little redemptive suffering, and suddenly, that spoiled food turns into a dish so delicious that it would delight a five-star chef. The goodness doesn’t come from the money made or from the popularity gained, but from the babies saved.
This is why we brave the heat and hostility, why we leave air-conditioned homes, why we stand on the side of the road, why we bear the taunts, why we hold the signs, why we choose to be unpopular and unwanted. In the end, it all comes down to one word: