in·teg·ri·ty ( n-t g r -t ). n. 1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code. 2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness. 3. The quality or condition of being whole.
ad·vo·ca·cy ( d v -k -s ). n. The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support.
Those two words have become very frequent in my vocabulary this last year, not only in verbage, but in action. I remember our former pastor in residence, Msgr. Molloy, saying that Integrity was the culmination of the virtues as a whole. Indeed. When I think about how people gossip, how people thoughtlessly spout out their own opinions anywhere and everywhere, without thought to whom is listening or being effected by it….it really saddens me and in some cases sickens me. Especially in regard to those most innocent and faith issues.
So – advocacy. I have learned to have to embrace it thoroughly. Be not afraid. Sometimes it is not for the faint of heart. It does take the virtue of courage and tenacity, and chances are you will be disappointed, but have to fight all the harder. It began with my son who suffers OCD – oh the battle I had to do to fight our way through the healthcare system and advocate on his behalf to get him the help he needed. No one can really understand what an undertaking that is until they are filling those shoes. And then after several years of being within it, having to pick up further advocacy for my son with Autism. He being the more less advantaged and fragile of the two, and needing more helps in place and constant vigilance.
It’s interesting I’ve come to this place, to realize that I am both looked at as difficult and as heroic all at the same time, for fighting for help for my children. I speak up to those who need spoken up to, and while it is not always easy and I find it places a burden on my heart at times, I look at the greater good it is pertaining to and swallow that bitter pill. Usually in time the outcome is positive and successful. But I have those who stay very far away from me also.
Now I know some of this sounds cryptic and indeed it may because I’m leaving out a lot of specifics and details to protect identities and situations. But I know you get the gist of it.
Here is my prayer for you: that you may not fear integrity or advocacy. That you will draw upon the gifts of the Holy Spirit and by the grace of God, do the right things for all those tough decisions you must make and see through. I come into this with the eyes of a mother and teacher primarily. Whatever your walk in life may be, may you have the graces given you to empower you to journey with integrity and advocacy as your companions.
God bless +