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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mistake or Miracle?



President Obama is on record saying he would not want his daughters "punished with a baby," should they "make a mistake." In a later interview, he referred to said daughters as "miracles"  (http://blogs.cbn.com/thebrodyfile/archive/2008/03/31/obama-says-he-doesnt-want-his-daughters-punished-with-a.aspx). Why do the words talking out of both sides of his mouth come to mind?

Yesterday I had the honor of giving a gift to friends who just adopted a baby. This was their second successful adoption. I use the word "successful" because they were disappointed twice in the interim. They played by the rules of the agency they signed on with, meaning they paid all the expenses, down to the maternity clothes, of the expectant mothers, only to have two of them change their minds in the end. Their refund for this breach of contract? Heartache alone.

As often as we can, a friend and I attend prayer vigils in front of various Planned Parenthood and hospital locations. We make time for this because it's a concrete way we can oppose the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in this country yearly. By its own admission, Planned Parenthood aborted 333,964 babies in 2010 alone (http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/PP_Services.pdf). We have been treated to an array of expletives and obscene gestures during the three years we have participated in this peaceful and legal activity. One prominent memory I have involves a couple departing from a fertility clinic attached to one of the abortion-providing hospitals in front of which we were praying. I can still hear the barrage of vitriol they spewed as my adolescent son looked on, wondering what his mother had gotten him into. Their stated source of outrage? They were unable to conceive a baby on their own. Why, we wondered, were they targeting their hatred toward our group, which is all about protecting the unborn? They seemed to be blaming us for their inability to reproduce. The only plausible explanation we could come up with was perhaps we had stirred the memory of a past abortion of an unwanted child, which was making more bitter their inability to conceive now that they did want a baby.

What do all these threads have in common? They highlight the double standard we have in this country. When it's "convenient" and fits into our lives, a baby is considered a blessing. Some, like my adoptive friends, deem children such a treasure that they are willing to spend thousands of dollars and shed countless tears to earn the privilege of raising one - even when they don't know whether the experience will bring them the joy they hope for or agony and pain. In far too many other cases, we label  new life a clump of tissue and extinguish it. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a "sexual and reproductive health and rights" think tank affiliated with the World Health Organization, nearly one quarter of all pregnancies in the Unites States end in abortion. Staggeringly, as of 2008, this country was host to roughly 50 million legal abortions in the 35 years since Roe v. Wade was enacted (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html).

My question is, how can children be a blessing and a punishment at the same time?

It is my fervent belief that, until we rewrite the adoption laws in this country to offer adopting couples more equitable contracts, the hideous practice of abortion will continue to flourish in the "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Unless and until these steps are taken, why would potential adopters put themselves through the anguish and uncertainty of the adoptive process in the United States?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Grade School Heroes Part 2

Around this time last year, I blogged about several brave schoolgirls who took risks to befriend me in my youth. As I organize my backpack for a new year, I find myself reminiscing once again about these dear ones. God has brought to mind another young angel who stood up for me during that crucial time in my life; in addition to recounting her efforts, I want to update my musings on Joy, Jean and Lisa, based on their names. What appears in quotation marks is reprinted from Grade School Heroes Part 1. I have highlighted in red the pieces of their names which connect to their good works:

"Joy Waters, a minister's daughter, reached out and refused to join in with the others' harassment of me. She wasn't brave enough, as a second grader, to launch a campaign or anything, but she quietly made it known that she didn't share in the prevailing opinion. She was, quite simply, a Godsend."

Joy, living up to her name, definitely delivered fruit of the Spirit to me during some otherwise joyless years. Through her kindness, she gave my parched spirit a foretaste of Christ's living water.

"Towards the end of those lonely years, God sent Jean News into my life. I later learned she stood up for me one day while I was absent and the kids decided to hold a Thea-bashing session. Jean was socially everything I was not - involved, outgoing, and most importantly, well-liked. Her voice held sway. If I didn't gain in popularity, at least the bullies began to leave me alone."

I'm not sure if Jean understood the good news of the Gospel, but hearing about her defense of me was the best news I had had all year. If I met her today, the first thing I'd do would be to share the good news of salvation so she could be assured of heaven, of which her faithfulness gave me an earthly taste.

"God provided yet another angel, Lisa Sanborn, who candidly admitted she liked me, but simply couldn't take the risk of letting it be known, lest she become the next victim. I grasped her invisible help like a man in quicksand grabs hold of a life preserver... Lisa's whispered words comforted and strengthened my flickering self-esteem. I held on for dear life."

I don't know if Lisa was born again, but her encouragement renewed my flagging spirits and helped me carry on.

In last year's post I neglected to acknowledge another saint whose contribution to my self-worth was immeasurable. Iris Reason spoke up for me when I was being tormented after gym class one day. In one small act of loyalty, she refused to cower before bullies and made me feel protected. Interestingly, the iris provides the color in the eye and prevents the pupil, AKA, the "apple of the eye," from being endangered by too much light. Iris "colored my world with hope" and tried to keep me safe. Her bravery put some sanity into my existence in which I was hated without reason. I'll never forget her.

"So on the eve of a new school year, I offer thanks to these dear souls. Their varying levels of courage did not in any way diminish the gift that each gave me in my darkest hours: the gift of a hand outstretched, however trembling, to one that needed to be held."


For more like this, check out: Morsels for Meditation...: Grade School Heroes

Morsels for Meditation...: School Bells and Ink Quills

Morsels for Meditation...: Lockers and Notebooks...