Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as saying, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
She was the highly esteemed First Lady of the United States during her husband Franklin Roosevelt’s four terms in office, 1933-1945. She was an activist and, eventually, a politician in her own right. She stood for many great causes; defending the rights of women in the workplace, refugees, African Americans and the unemployed.
Sadly, however, she was not known for her defence of the unborn.
So to read this quote in the context of life’s inherent value would be somewhat against the grain of its author.
But truth can be found in the most unexpected places . . .
“Do one thing every day that scares you,” she said.
Why, dear lady?
Why would you consider it beneficial to enter into a fear-inducing situation, much less choose it?
I see this stately woman sitting at her desk, laying down her pen, tipping her head ever so slightly to one side, levelling her gaze at mine. She would smile, light dancing in her eyes. And she would spin tales of the countless times she chose to navigate the scary paths rather than the easy ones. How she stepped gingerly into situations that flushed her neck and cheeks, that sent her heart-rate soaring. How she feared for her reputation, her position, her influence – perhaps even her safety.
And then she would relate how each fear she overcame bore its fruit.
From speaking a word to a single acquaintance to speaking before all of parliament, from the home space to the public space – she would have so many examples of how this line of advice worked its magic.
Because it was the many small and large choices that grew her grit and determination, shaped her character, defined her place in the history books so that we now speak her name with reverence.
And Mrs. Roosevelt, I would say. What of a woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy?
Eleanor Roosevelt was an educated woman, highly articulate and intelligent. No doubt her response would have been deft and compelling.
But there is nothing so compelling as the bud of life that begins growing within the womb, nothing so compelling as a woman who determinedly stands and speaks for the life of another, nothing so selfless as doing so for one she cannot even see.
And then, there is fruit. A woman begets her child. That which she was afraid of, is now a precious gift. The scary choice is a person with a face, a name, a voice, a future.
“Do one thing every day that scares you,” the famous woman said.
And it is good advice. But we cannot always choose the scary thing. Sometimes it chooses us, despite our best intentions, and our response will carve the shape of the future. Perhaps two.
We’d love you to join us in signing the Cherish Life September 2018 new e-petition against Labor Queensland’s latest bill to legalise abortion in Queensland – details via the link https://www.cherishlife.org.au/lifecampaign/sign-the-e-petition.