One of our newest board members, Michael Khan, has instituted what I believe to be one of the best tabling ideas of the year. Every day we table, we now have a pro-life fact of the day prominently displayed on a small whiteboard.
I have personally witnessed the power of the whiteboard in its ability to create ripples in the passerbys. Very rarely does anyone stop to engage with us around the fact posted for the day and when they do they don’t necessarily truly engage. They tend to attempt to dispute the fact but keep walking as they shake their heads and roll their eyes. While an ideal scenario would play out otherwise – ideally a passerby would stick around long enough to have a meaningful dialogue – this is nonetheless a ripple. This person, although outwardly demonstrating something akin to disgust or disbelief, is nonetheless inwardly processing the fact on the board. It might be a subconscious processing, but this person is still thinking about it. The seed has been planted.
Then there are those from whom no words are uttered. Those too are ripples. While no thought concerning the fact on the board is spoken, it is evident on the face of the passerby that thought has indeed begun. The furrowed eyebrow, the pursed lip, and even a change in the light of his or her eyes, are all outward signs of the turning of the internal gears of cognition.
Once again we run into the question, so what?
In that moment, no life was saved. No mother chose to cancel her appointment at an abortion clinic. No boyfriend stopped encouraging his girlfriend to stop by Planned Parenthood. It’s true. Nothing momentous happened in that very instant.
But is that really true?
I would argue that, no, it’s not really true. In that very moment, something truly radical did happen. Perhaps that person thought a thought he or she never would have thought otherwise. Perhaps that person brushed the thought off to think about later. Even then, a seed was planted. And that, my friends, is something radical in and of itself.
In order for a tree to grow, a seed must be planted. I hope I do not have to explain that there will be no tree without a seed. That said, do not be discouraged when no one stops by the table to chat or even if someone stops by to try to argue. I am willing to state in virtual ink that more times than not, a seed of hope has been planted for our ever growing tree of life. So rock on whiteboard and you who sit behind it.