I know a lot of cool people. Smart people. Funny, creative, talented, generous, loving, wonderful people. They encourage me to be myself, push me to be better, and give me goals for the kind of person I want to be when I grow up. This series is all about the lessons I’m learning and the ways they inspire me. This month, I’m inspired to speak up for what is right.
Lest you think this is going to turn into a political or religious monologue, it’s not. Nowhere in my job description does it say I need to tell you what to believe, who to support, or how to live your life. That’s totally on you.
But despite a lot of polarized opinions and moral grey areas and infinite different perspectives, some things are always wrong. And when I am in a position to do so, I need to speak up for what is right.
I imagine you’ve at least seen recent headlines about the Stanford rape case. I won’t link to them here because I find the whole thing distressing on so many levels. If you aren’t familiar, though, I suggest looking up the letter from the victim to her attacker. It’s a long, disturbing read, but an important one.
I keep coming back to the men who rescued this woman. They saw something horrifying happening and took action. They were willing to be uncomfortable to aid another human in need. They stood as witnesses more than once that what that man did was not okay. In spite of the sickness I feel when I think about raising my daughters in a society where rape culture is still such a problem, I take so much hope and comfort in knowing that there are also so many good people out there.
Maybe I can’t keep my children as safe as I wish, but I can teach them to stand up for what is right, and I can pray for the heroes of the world to be there when I can’t be.
Just this week I found myself in a situation where I was being asked to compromise my integrity. It was a very minor thing and wouldn’t have hurt anyone if I’d gone along with it. But I would have known. It bothered me. A lot.
Over the years I’ve tried to learn how the Holy Ghost (or my conscience or the universe or however you prefer to think of it) speaks to me. A troubled mind, disproportionate amounts of stress, insomnia…they all indicate that what I’m doing, or thinking of doing, is wrong. When I catch a glimpse in the mirror and my brow is deeply furrowed, that’s usually a pretty good sign that I need to choose a different course of action.
I’ve been doing lots of brow furrowing this week.
Finally I said something. I had tried to make it work, it just wasn’t happening in a way that made me comfortable, so I spoke up. Fortunately, I wound up with the best possible outcome. However, even before things worked out so well, I felt a huge relief just from having said my piece. My integrity was intact. My decision sat well in my soul. I slept really well that night.
Things don’t always work out. The world is messy and people can be heartless. Sometimes when you speak up for what is right you get knocked down flat. It’s scary. It’s vulnerable. But it’s the right thing to do.
I hope if I find myself in other situations where I can protect, defend, and advocate for kindness and goodness, I will. If someone needs a Good Samaritan, I hope have the courage to be that person. When truth is being manipulated or distorted or ignored entirely, I hope I will speak up for what is right.
When was the last time you found yourself in a moral dilemma? How did you handle it? Did it turn out well? I sure hope it did. And kudos to all of you unsung heroes who keep fighting the good fight, however small the battlefield.