An admission as we get closer to the end of 2016: I’m a “Step Geek.” At least, that’s what my FitBit sometimes calls me.
I track my steps, every day. I even have a goal: Beginning October 1 of last year, I began a “Virtual Trek” from my home outside of Nashville, Tenn., to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. The mission is to finish this walk by Dec. 31 of this year—which would mean an average of more than 9500 steps per day, seven days per week.
If you are counting at home, that’s 4,357,672 steps.
To keep myself on some sort of pace, I mapped out my Virtual Journey by creating benchmarks along the way. I find landmarks in cities on the route and keep up with where I happen to be at any moment in the Big Walk. Today, I’m closing in on Palm Springs (supposedly walking Interstate 10), somewhere between Blythe and Coachella. Even as I look outside my office window at a gray day with temperatures just above freezing, I’m warm and thinking of palm trees.
Though mine is not an audacious athletic goal, it is important for me. I work from home, in an office where I might spend hours in a desk chair or a recliner. If I’m not at home, I’m in an airport (you truly can get a few steps in an airport) or a hotel, where it can be a lot easier to crash on the bed than it is to go find the treadmill.
To achieve this small accomplishment then, choices must be made. A morning or afternoon walk, regardless of weather, is a must. While brushing my teeth, I walk in place. Taking a few letters to the mailbox? I do so one at a time to pick up more steps. When I take a phone call, I often walk around my office as I chat with an executive director or board member.
You get the picture.
They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Yes, and so did my 2,024-mile virtual jaunt from my home to Disneyland.
If one were to look at my monthly step spreadsheet (thank you, Excel), a pattern emerges. In the early months, my step count was only about 8,500 steps per day. But, as spring emerged and summer showed up, the numbers grew to 9,000, then 9,500... and well over 10,000 in August and September.
Tweet This: Confessions of a #prolife Step Geek. @KirkWalden
Why? Two reasons. One was better weather, certainly. But the second reason is about momentum. Once I saw I could reach my goal, I simply tried harder. I became more intentional, remembering that just one more step here or there could make a big difference by December.
This fall I found myself on more hotel treadmills and when home, walks became longer.
Now I’m almost there. I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but the likelihood—barring sickness—is that I’ll make it. Sometime on Jan. 31, I’ll likely pull my FitBit out of my pocket, check my daily total and say, “That’s it.” There will be no parade or dinner out, but I’ll know something got accomplished.
So it is with all of us in the Pregnancy Help Community. Our goal is audacious, nearly impossible. We want to see abortion become unthinkable in our local communities. Together, we want to see this blot on our society wiped out across our countries and around the world.
The nay-sayers say this idea is folly. It can’t be done. No way. No how. Not now.
Yet year after year, we take more steps. The abortion rate drops a little here, and a bit more there. We open more pregnancy help centers, more maternity homes. We add ultrasound. We reach more fathers.
Step. Step. Step.
The Planned Parenthoods of the world take notice. They try to enact laws to slow us down or stop us altogether.
Still, we take a few more steps. The momentum builds. More steps.
We brand more effectively. We add services, such as STI/STD testing, to better create relationships with clients and lower the pregnancy rate. Steps.
Our funding rises as we take more steps. Our vision increases. We buy new facilities, we take over clinics formerly owned by Planned Parenthood or other abortion providers. In other instances, we move in next door to abortion providers. Steps.
As we prepare to close the door on 2016, let’s never underestimate the value of taking the next step. Every next step moves us closer to our goal. Some may not notice that next step, and there may be no applause and no parades in our honor. After all, it’s only one step.
Tweet This: Never underestimate the value of taking the next step. @KirkWalden #prolife
But after a while, the steps add up; one after another after another.
One day, we can—and quite likely will—reach our goal. And on that day when we take the final step in making abortion unthinkable, we will remind ourselves of the tiny steps along the way... the very steps we are taking now.
To reach my Virtual Destination of Disneyland, I must now head outside for a quick walk in cool weather. For each of us in the Pregnancy Help Community, we have individual and unique next steps as well. As 2017 approaches, let’s ask, “What’s the next step?”