Life Alliance

Where labels end and conversation begins

"Un"circling the wagons-Deedee Dorrington

“The circling of the wagons was a defensive posture adopted to provide the best conditions for defense against attackers. There was no flank, no rear approach, etc., and the defenders could keep their people, livestock, valuables, etc., within the ring of wagons.” – the web

It’s the “etcetera” we protect that’s on my mind today.

This morning I opened a private message from an acquaintance, concerning Life Alliance. It was obvious he was upset with me, and that I had caused him angst. I wasn’t quite sure how to handle the situation, but I instantly felt my defenses kick in. In my mind, he had wronged me, and if anyone had a right to be upset, it was me.

As our dialogue continued, it became apparent we were of one mind and one heart, and our hurt feelings were because of a complete miscommunication. Working through the issue we were able to offer each other grace and forgiveness as we discovered we share a common theme…the fear of being misunderstood; of being misjudged.

One of the most difficult things about leading Life Alliance is the feeling of being shunned because the subject matter of abortion is difficult. It isn’t easy hearing criticisms that our group is “too pro-life,” and then the next day hear we are not “pro-life enough.”  It isn’t easy being ignored by your friends, while being gossiped about within the community.

What is easy though, is to circle the wagons…to protect from being hurt and challenged, but what is to be gained by doing this?

In order to successfully work with one another, we have to leave an opening for attack. We have to allow everyone into our circle and meet them at their views. Isn’t this what finding common ground is all about?

I thought I already knew this and had mastered the ability to leave emotion behind, but I guess I still have some work to do. Today taught me I need to untether the wagons a wee bit more, to not be so defensive in order to meet goals. I need to learn how to set aside my automatic defense mechanisms when things get uncomfortable.

Leaving ourselves vulnerable is never easy, but keeping others out of our Wagon Circle can never build the unity we need when we seek to find compromise.

So, a big shout out to my acquaintance, who is on the way to becoming someone I call my “friend”…thanks buddy for helping me to open up even more!