All I have to offer are words

I have not written anything in a while, not since before our move back to Minnesota.

I’ve tried.

I have started, and discarded, three or four different posts.

I have written paragraph after paragraph, only to press delete after a bit, finding them too selfish, too self-absorbed.

In the past month, I have found myself floundering, torn between the emotions of transition and trying to settle into this new place, and the heart-breaking, heart-wrenching news of the world around us.

My heart has been broken, time after time, in the personal, the minute, and then shattered over the greater, bigger issues in this world.

My thoughts are haunted, filled with the images I can’t unsee, filled with the words, the callous, heart-wrenching, flippant words of “Another boy.”  “A twin.”

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Oh, how my heart breaks.

I can’t watch the videos. I can’t  bear having those images burned into my memory, can’t bear to see what shouldn’t be seen.

And yet, I haven’t been able to avoid the images entirely.

Pictures come up on my Facebook news feed as I scroll through, pictures that disturb me, nauseate me, bring me to tears.

The sweet little hand, perfectly formed.

A foot. A leg.

Torn apart from a little body.

Discarded pieces of a life not lived.

I can’t bring myself to watch the videos. But I have read the transcripts. I feel as though I need to know, to understand, to be informed.

Perhaps they are heavily edited, as the skeptical ones claim. But perhaps not. Perhaps they are what we need to stir us all into dialogue, in order to have a greater understanding for what happens in an abortion.  Let’s not even begin to travel down the path of possibility of Planned Parenthood is profiting from the sale of organs of these discarded children, but instead let us dialogue with a better understanding of the broken state of this world that brings us to this.

It is easy to raise our voices in disgust and anger, to shake our fist at a business that seems to be primarily in the business of eradicating lives.  It is easy to shout out with frustration that our concerns are not being heard, that we are “crazy” or “zealots” because we believe that life begins at conception.  For those of us who are Christian, our beliefs seems to automatically give us less of a credible voice within the culture around us. It is easy to spout off on social media, caught up in the arguments, the inflammatory statements, the hatred.

However, it is not always easy to be kind in our approach, to hold another’s story gently, to put aside our own desires and leanings in order to be present with another when it is needed.  It is not easy to listen in love, without judgement, without condemnation. It is not easy to consider all sides of the issue. It is not easy to read the hatred from all sides, the shame-casting, the wounding words thrown carelessly about, and not be full of despair.

It is not easy to love as Jesus loves.

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Because, if we say we are pro-life, shouldn’t we also be caring for the life of the mother? Shouldn’t we also be grieved for the situation that she finds herself in?  Rather than passing judgement, have we tried to pass love? To care? To minister to her in this, what may be her greatest time of need? Rather than shaming her, should we not be sheltering her?

Both mother and child bear the Imago Dei (the image of God) imprinted upon their souls. His fingerprints are all over them. For Psalm 139:13-14 tell us that:

13  For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14   I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Can we not hold them both as equal in their importance because they are both created by the God who created the universe? Can we not see that Christ did not die for one of them, but for both of them?

Ann Voskamp recently wrote a blog about this same issue far better than I ever could:

“The time has come to be done with either/or thinking and champion both/and thinking — being for both humans in utero and humans in crisis.… That’s what this generation is about — not turning a blind eye to any distress of any human anywhere.”

Her essay struck a resonating chord within me. I was convicted of my lack of convictions. When has my outrage stirred me to outreach? When have I given of myself, my time, my finances, my gifts?  When have I layed down my own life, my own desires, and borne the burden of another’s life?  If this is an issue that is important to me, why am I not doing more, praying more, caring more about all of the issues that go with it….affordable health care for women, education on sexual issues, eradicating violence against women, viable choices for those who are faced with a pregnancy they didn’t want, prenatal care, and, if they choose not to terminate, help with the children that are born, both in the immediacy of their new life, and as they grow, nurturing them in their childhood.

I am not one who usually voices my opinion on controversial topics. At least, not with anyone but those I know and trust. Conversations, face-to-face interactions, are better for difficult topics.  But if this is the start of my offering, my outreach, then this is what I have to offer in this moment, at this time.

And the beginning of outreach is something tangible I can hold on to, even in the midst of feeling as though there is so little that I can do. My one voice, lost in a sea of voices, cries out for the lost, the lonely, the struggling, the hurting, the woman and the child.

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