Facing discomfort, finding the gifts

On escorting Saturdays, I always find myself driving to the clinic with a sense of dread. I'm going to be yelled at and scowled at. I'm going to feel awkward, never really knowing what to say to the women I'm escorting, but needing to talk to drown out the screamers.

But I have resolve - this is my commitment, and I'm going to do it, no matter how uncomfortable it is. As bad as it is for me, it's so much worse for those women who have to walk past the protestors, and without me, they're alone.

And so I go. And once I'm there, I am washed in the feeling of fighting the good fight. I remember why I do this work, and I feel good for living my values, for walking my talk. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to be even a moment of peace and compassion in this tumultuous time in a woman's life - and often in the life of her partner as well. Every week that I escort, I come away with stories, stories of women and families, that touch my heart and sometimes break it.

This week, I had the brilliant idea to play some Unitarian Universalist hymns (warning, these are pretty bad, musically, but that didn't matter this morning) on my headphones to drown out the shouts between patients, and to remind me that escorting is, for me, a spiritual practice. I started with the Meditation on Breathing (When I breathe in, I breathe in peace; when I breathe out, I breathe out love), because I had had a rough morning, and I needed to remember. But I let the album play, and you know what? Each song spoke to my heart at that moment, and my spirit was lifted. I felt the strength of my faith behind me as I was reminded that this is my little light shining, everywhere I go, building up the world. I was reminded that I'm standing on the side of love, that I am a Unitarian and a Universalist every day, every week of the year. And especially now, standing here in the sun with the wind on my face, receiving from these women (and even from the protestors), and giving to them as well.

I am immensely grateful for this commitment I've made, even though every week I dread keeping it. Because at the end of my hour-long shift, I feel I've been in worship, I feel strengthened, reminded of my purpose, renewed in my faith, and reconnected to humanity.