I spent last weekend at my first annual CTA conference, and it was probably one of the best “impulse buys” I’ve ever made (I was bemoaning not having the money to attend, when I got an email warning me that there were only 24 hours remaining for the “early bird” price, and I felt compelled to register within those 24 hours).
The conference inspired me to want to do more around the issues I care about. When I attended Father John Dear’s session, I wanted to spend more time in non-violent protest; when I attended a session by Dolores Huerta, I was overcome with the magnitude of the task set before me if I really wanted to make a difference, and for a moment I felt a bit of despair. I thought, I want to confront these injustices in the church and in the world, but what can I do? I’m perpetually short on time and on money, and I’m so introverted that community organizing, protests, or “real world” actions are draining for me. Like most young people, I want to change the world, but I’m now old enough, and know myself well enough, to know that I’m a prime candidate for activist burnout. And once burnout sets in, what good am I to anyone?
I almost laughed when the answer came to me, perhaps because it was so obvious: I can write. I don’t remember when I learned that a letter to an editor or to someone in power was an option for confronting injustice, but I do know I’ve been writing such letters since I was in middle school. I haven’t written one for a long time, but my resolution is to use the gift God did give me to be my activism once again. My gift is not “less than” because it’s practiced in solitude; there are others God has gifted with the ability to speak eloquently, to talk back, to organize actions, and I thank God for that. But I think we sometimes forget that activism can come in many forms, from refusing to buy something to marching on the Capital. And our God has gifted each of us with the ability to do this work, in our many beautiful, diverse ways.