Being pro-life sometimes requires a person to do a self-assessment. What motivates our love for life and desire to protect it? It goes beyond our religious upbringing.
We all have experiences throughout our lives that mold us into the people we are today. I believe that every experience, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant, happened for a reason. God who counts the hairs on our head leaves nothing to chance. Granted, some of us give God fewer hairs to count than others, but he knows the total just the same.
If you were to look back on your life, I’m sure that you could note many examples of life experiences that helped make you the passionate pro-life person you are. Allow me, if you will, to share some of what I’ve found in my own life.
I grew up on a street where we knew all of our neighbors. Several of us attended the same church. It was a very traumatic experience, as a pre-teen, when one of the widow’s seven children across the street was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. We rallied around the family and helped out wherever we could. I remember pushing Susan’s wheelchair down the sidewalk on a sunny Montana afternoon, with her saying, “Let’s go faster!” and, after we were out of view of her mother, we did. I learned about chemotherapy, hospitals and the mourning process. I’ll never forget the day she died in a hospital bed in their living room, and watching from my house as the ambulance attendants took away her frail, lifeless form under a white sheet.
Who would have known that, a few years later in my late teens, we would relive this nightmare. Cheryl, Susan’s older sister, was also diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. The initial surgery took away her beautiful, waist-length brown hair. Unlike Susan, Cheryl’s speech was affected, so we learned patience in communication. I remember one trip to the mall with Cheryl and her sister, Diane. We lost one of the front wheels of the wheelchair and nearly dumped the poor girl out on her face. We all laughed until we cried.
I’ll not forget holding the “sick pan” in the hospital, and sometimes Cheryl’s head, as her stomach wrenched with the side effect of chemotherapy, nor the mother’s sobbing for her dead children.
I can’t begin to tell you how these experiences affected the way I look at life. I think it prepared me, in part, for my own diagnosis with cancer later in life.
Many formulating life experiences are positive ones. As the father of four sons, one of my most precious memories was the 5 AM feedings shortly after they were born. The only sound in the house was the ticking of the clock and the sup, sup, sup of milk being sucked out of the bottle. The newborn child would look up into his father’s face with an expression of curious wonder, as if to say, “So, is this my dad?” It was a wonderful bonding time. I even fondly remember changing diapers that would curl your hair. It seemed to fill a need to have someone so precious depend upon me for everything, and it saddened me to think of how many parents unwittingly threw away an opportunity for such joy with abortion.
I became wiser when I went into one of the poorest areas of South Africa and looked into the faces of children orphaned by AIDS. I was surprised to see joy in their eyes instead of despair. Those who had nothing but a rickety wooden shack with dirt floors exuded a joy in life and living.
Yes, as we look back on our lives, we see how some of life’s seemingly unimportant experiences were molding us. We see that God really did know what He was doing when He dropped us into the frying pan once in a while. Sometimes He even seemed to whack us over the head with the skillet. But all of these things were carefully done in love to make us who we are, still a work in progress.
So, what is expected of us after we have become older and wiser? It would be a crying shame if we hid it under a bushel basket. Let’s take our newfound knowledge and compassion and share it with others in need, whether that be a counselor to a young, pregnant girl or a volunteer in the local hospice. Your desire for justice for innocent human life should extend into the voting booth, conversations with family, friends and coworkers, as well as the opinion page of your local newspaper. Pro-life organizations can use you to stuff envelopes, staff a fair booth or participate in peaceful protests against abortion. If God has richly blessed you with the resources to financially assist those on this life-or-death battlefield, please do so.
Whatever your status in life, God has instilled in you life experiences and motivation to help those too defenseless to help themselves. I hope you will answer the call and declare, “Here am I. Send me!”