ADVOCATE

a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy

What an extraordinary word
What a gift to engage it.
How life-giving and right to be advocated for.
How Jesus-like to be an advocate in the world.

I visited my 89 year old mother this week
And was reminded of the gift of advocacy;
Over a bowl of stone cold tomato soup and burnt toasted cheese,
That shouldn’t have been served to a captive audience in an assisted living residence.
My Mom wasn’t really that upset,
I believe a lot is “given over” on a daily basis when you’re 89,
Like being able to get up and down with ease,
And a bowl of cold soup is hardly worth getting up in arms about.
But I had the energy
Probably fueled by a little sadness that I’m not the one serving my Mom her meals every day,
Out of my own kitchen.
I called the powers that be,
And insisted on something better for my dear, sweet Mom,
And all the other white haired treasures sitting in that dining room.
The conversation was good.
The powers that be heard my cry. And promised to do better.
We’ll see how it translates in soup.

When we got back to her room after dinner,
I began to notice,
My mom speaks the language of advocacy,
She listens to the nurses and health care workers
And wants the best for them.
She asks about their sick babies and out of work husbands
And remembers birthdays and due dates.
She gets her walker and goes to Walmart to buy baby gifts and little tokens of love.
She lifts them up.
She prays for them and fills the space of friendship
So the women feel connected and not alone in the world,
During the few minutes they are with this 89 year old “client become friend”,
they feel stronger and more able to meet the challenges of life.
It makes me pause.
And be grateful.
And it reminds me of the gift of coming along side.

There are those who are far more gifted in advocacy than I am.
They are smart and bold and put their necks out
for justice and truth.
Even when justice and truth don’t win in the here and now.
There are those who take scones to the homeless man under the bridge.

I am glad there are such folks on the earth and I want to be more like them.
I want to be concious enough to be able to see what is not right,
right around me.
The hurting people close close by.
I’ve probably looked into eyes like that, even today.

Be an advocate?
I accept the invitation.