Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thank God I Wasn't Aborted

This morning, I saw that Pope Francis had tweeted about March for Life in DC. Great, I thought. It's nice to know that the Holy Father is seeing the hard work of countless Americans, determined to put an end to abortion, euthanasia, and anti-life practices. I was planning on merely praying for them, remaining in solidarity...But then I saw President Obama's tweet, and I just had to speak up.

I respect Obama as a leader, don't get me wrong, but I don't agree with him. This evening, he tweeted:

Despite attempts to chip away at Roe v. Wade, the decision marks a historic victory for women's health.

Victory? Women's Health? #StandWithWomen(AndAgainstHUMANS)?

It just doesn't make sense. I don't understand how, as Americans, we could take pride in the Roe v. Wade decision. It marks a degradation of human dignity, a degradation that we see daily. It reaches from the murder of the unborn to the constant glorification of promiscuous celebrities and habits. As humans, we are better than this. We are worthy of more dignity than our culture leads us to believe. We are not clumps of cells that can easily be disposed of. We are not meaningless vessels meant to twerk, drink, and party our hearts out. There's something INSIDE, something that tells us we are destined for more. How are we ignoring this? How are we missing the big picture? How can we not see that there's more to life--more to OUR lives-- than we could ever imagine.

I don't think I'll ever understand the Pro-choice perspective. I don't say this because I am closed-minded. I have tried to grasp it, I promise. But the thing is, I was nearly aborted. And if the pro-choicers are right, then I had no value. I should have been aborted. If the pro-choicers are right, I would be dead. And considering how things have gone so far in my 17 years of not being dead, I'd have to say life's a pretty cool thing.

Let me explain. It's a story I don't always go into, but it's the reason I have such a personal connection to the pro-life cause. 

My mother was having a lot of trouble with me during her pregnancy. Already a mother to two young children and wife of a loving husband, she had a lot going for her. Several times, she thought she had miscarried. After these constant issues continued, her doctor ran some tests, which revealed a high likelihood that I would be born with Downs Syndrome and severe chromosomal defects. In fact, the doctor had said, giving birth to me could even kill my mother. 

The doctor suggested I be aborted. Why risk dying for this one child? Why leave your two perfect children alone to give birth to a messed up defect? 

Even I'll admit abortion seemed like the smart option. But luckily, my mom had faith (and had Faith). She didn't abort me. No matter how messed up I was, she would take care of me, and if that meant losing her own life in the process, well she was willing to trust it was a part of God's plan.

At 2:52 pm, I was born. I was perfect, the doctor said. My mom cried. My dad cried. Even the doctor cried. My mom had faith, and that's what she called me.

Now I'm no Albert Einstein. I'm just an average teenager. But I'd like to think I can change the world; that's the plan, at least. I'd also like to think that just in my short 17 years of life, I have made someone's life better. 

It's weird to think that someone didn't want me alive. It's weird to think I am the exception to the norm. In most cases like mine, I probably wouldn't be alive. I'm lucky, I'm lucky to have had a faithful, trusting, and supportive family.

Abortion is not a step forward in women's health. It's a step backward for humanity. It justifies murder. It's not about women's rights. It's about me, you, us, the human population. Women, men, we were all at one point in our lives helpless fetuses. Our lives weren't in our hands. 

At any moment, someone else could have made the decision that you were unwanted, that you would be inconvenient. They could have killed you. 

It's difficult to put ourselves in the position of the unborn, but for me and countless others, this threat of death was a reality. Aren't you glad you didn't die? Aren't you glad someone decided to keep you? 

I know I am. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Happily Ever After

This post originally appeared on on January 18, 2014.

Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

During my Christmas break, I flipped through the TV one night, stumbling upon “The Bible” TV series. One scene in particular jumped out at me.

Jesus knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane looking up at the full moon. He knew He had only a few hours left. He knew what was coming. He called out to His Father.

“If you will it, Father, pass this cup from me.” He said. The camera then flashed to the moon. Dramatic music began.

“If you will it…..” Jesus repeated. Once again, a shot of the bright moon. God was listening. What would He say……? The music reached a climax. The suspense….

Jesus looked up. His accusers had arrived.

This is not the happily ever after Hollywood classics have trained us to expect. In our version, Jesus would have looked up at the moon. The dramatic music would build up the scene, and then suddenly, after all that anticipation, something miraculous would happen. Perhaps Jesus would float into the sky, a bright light shining on Him. Then He would strike down His enemies. He would save the day. He would avoid suffering.

But that’s not the way it happened. Jesus accepted it. He drank the cup that was meant for us. Jesus, the holiest One humankind will ever know, bore the weight of our sins on the Cross.

Why? Why did Christ stoop so low as to suffer for us? Why would the King of Glory eat with sinners and tax collectors? Doesn’t He realize we are nothing in comparison to His splendor?

He does. Jesus knows we are weak. He knows that we falter and fall and fail time and time again. For this very reason, He draws near to us. He knows we can’t do it alone. He offers us His hand always, regardless of the fact that we will undoubtedly reject it at times.

We are all sick. By the nature of our very humanity, we are imperfect. However, this fact should not discourage us. Yes, we are broken. Yes, we are weak. But we find consolation in the knowledge that we have a Savior so loving and so merciful that He would not only associate with us, but DIE for us, too.

Jesus is not afraid of your mess. He’s not afraid to get His hands dirty. He proved this each time he sat with sinners, reached out to lepers, and loved the unlovable. By his Incarnation alone, He humbled Himself to share in our humanity. And if that’s not proof enough, He took on the weight of our sins, accepting His cup and drinking the grave so we would not have to.

Christ could have commanded angel armies to rush in from the heavens that night in Gethsemane. In a single instant, He could have crushed His enemies. He could have avoided the Cross, avoided all that pain. But He didn’t. The King of Kings endured ridicule, torture, suffering, and death through a sacrifice so full of profound love that we cannot even begin to fully comprehend its significance.

We lead lives full of twists and turns, trials and failures, mess-ups and redoes. But we have a Savior who’s not afraid of our mess. With Christ beside us, the twists and turns will not prevail. And that glorious ending….Well, I’d pick that over a Hollywood happily-ever-after any day.