July 2, 2012
I had the opportunity to join the Nuns on the Bus tour. I traveled with the tour for 4 days through Michigan and Ohio, stopping in Grand Rapids, Jackson, Detroit, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Columbus. Our days consisted of visiting ministry sites run by sisters, press conferences, visiting congressional offices and having a “Friend Raiser” in the evenings. At each stop, we were greeted by hundreds of people expressing their support and appreciation for the tour and for our message.
I have to say that I was very uncomfortable with the “rock-star” status that seems to have been given to us. I was so humbled by the amazing outpouring of support we received at each stop. People would express their gratitude to us for being so courageous. I kept thinking, we are not the courageous ones. They, more than us, have to deal with the devastating cuts in the federal budget that affect their everyday life such as health care, unemployment, housing, education, community services to name a few. They are the courageous ones!
I really wanted to be on this tour for lots of reasons. What I soon realized, however, was that I needed to be on this bus tour. Doing legislative advocacy in Washington, DC has been very difficult these past 2 years. The polarization and lack of civility has really been getting to me. I have been so tired of “losing”, and I know that my energy for this work was dying and my own spirit was drying up.
This bus trip re-energized me! Through the people I met each day, their support, their stories and their faithfulness to the gospel, my spirit has been nourished. I am so ready to fight for the values that we want reflected in our Federal budget — dignity, fairness, empowerment, and opportunity for all. I also have been reminded by them that it isn’t about winning and losing, but it is about being true to the values that I believe in and by which I try to live. That is what I have to fight for and speak about in the halls of Congress. I can do that once again because of all the people I met on the bus tour. I now know more than ever that I am not alone in this. There are hundreds and thousands of people who are behind me organizing in their communities, speaking to their members of Congress, and being faithful to the gospel values. This bus tour is exactly what I needed, and I am so grateful I was a part of it!