“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see so clearly. Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me. Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away.” ~ Todd Agnew, ‘Grace Like Rain’
The years we collect seem to directly correlate with the scars that we carry, the wounds of regrets from our less wiser and more vulnerable years.
There’s a scar that I’ve carried inside of me for the last 18 years, it haunts me in my dreams and begs for my loyalty in my quiet moments. I pray and it scurries away, I beg the Lord to heal me and he does—one suture at a time. But in the shadows it waits for my weak moments, when my frail humanity has it’s way.
I had a friend of mine defriend me on Facebook a few years ago because of my posts on Planned Parenthood. No warning or inquiry, she instead sent me a long message filled with assumptions about my opinions on abortion and PP and then defriended me. Not even the courtesy of giving me an opportunity to explain myself.
Had she of been interested in a dialogue rather than the echo chamber of her own opinion, she would’ve discovered that her assumptions could not of been more wrong about me.
She would’ve discovered that when I was 19 my best friend was raped while attending school in Thailand, and the first word to my ear of it was her call to me when she got back state-side crying and sobbing, telling me that she was pregnant. She would’ve discovered that coming from a very strict and traditional Asian family she feared her parents finding out, so she sought an abortion. She would’ve discovered that out of the deep love that I had for my friend—not exercised justly, and the deep pain seeing her in so much anguish, within 24 hours I helped her raise the money for her to have her abortion. That I went with her to Planned Parenthood, sat in that grimy, smelly, death warehouse where I watched two souls enter the patients room door, and an hour later watched one soul come out.
She would’ve discovered that my best friend was never the same after that, and neither was I. Her abortion not only removed a baby from her body, but it removed a piece of her soul and removed a piece of my soul that neither of us have gotten back. She would’ve discovered that to this day I have not forgiven myself, that I had a hand in a baby being killed. It’s a guilt that stays with you, woven into my heart, my mind, and my soul.
Every year I wonder what that sweet, innocent baby would’ve look like, what experiences he would’ve had, the simple joys of life he would’ve experienced. Feeling the warmth of his baby cheek on his momma’s chest, the sweet comfort of meeting your first best friend, the thrill of no longer falling down on a bike. His first brain freeze from a Slurpee, finding out that peanut butter and grape nuts don’t go well on a pizza, how soothing it feels to watch through the window as the rain pours down, and the coolness to the touch of jumping in puddles barefoot. His first kiss, and that jolt to the heart when he realizes that girls aren’t yucky after all. The expression of pride on his mom’s face when he brings home his first “A”, and his momma’s soothing voice of comfort after his first heart break.
He would be 18 this Fall, and I can’t help wonder what kind of young man he would be. Eagerly anticipating taking drivers ed and finding his young adult freedom, and the crazy antics that would likely follow. Measuring himself for his cap and gown, dreaming of how life will be when he starts college, oh the parties he would want to go to. He would be waiting patiently each day, lording over the mailbox for envelopes addressed to him, with his future inside. He would be starting his Freshman year in college, and the butterflies in his tummy that always percolate before those four life changing years begin.
Would he be in National Honors Society? Which classes would he love? What life long friendships would he begin creating that would serve him well into his twilight years? What would be his favorite movies? Would stupid humor or clever humor tickle his funny bone more? Would he love to work with his hands? When can I show him how to build computers? When can I show him the beauty of the outdoors and the glory of God’s creation? What would be his favorite scents in the wilderness? Oh his face when he sees the stars glisten out of reach of city lights.
These are the questions I wonder as every year passes.
You see, my passion against abortion isn’t the result of a touching story I read or a theory held by my parents that I subscribe to but have never tasted of. All noble reasons. My passion against abortion is because I have lived it. It is death to the innocent baby, it is death to the momma, it is death to the man involved, and it is death to every other person surrounding them. It is death.
It’s important to divorce people from the opinions they hold, in the same way that it’s important to divorce people from how they look, how much money they have, their skin color, their disability, etc. The reality is that when you judge someone based on their opinions then what you’re really doing is propping up your own ego. You’re saying that your own worth is superior to theirs because your opinions are superior, and that they are not worthy of you associating with them. It is a self-absorbed and self-aggrandizing mentality.
Because if you don’t then you miss who they are, the condition of their heart, and you fail to do what all of us are called to do: Love one another.
So be careful not to judge someone based on their opinions, because you never know what is happening underneath. You miss their heart while reaching for your ego, and you fail at the entire reason why you were lead to meet them: To love them as Christ loved us.
Every day I feel the presence of the life that I took, and every day Christ dispels that guilt, proclaiming to me: “I am enough”. Christ has forgiven me, the wretched man that I am, for taking one of his little ones. There’s no other hope that I have but Christ, no other comfort, no other blanket to snuggle into. He’s all that I have.
Some days are easier than others. I suspect in my broken depravity I’ll struggle with this until I cross into eternity, when I’ll rush past the Apostles, Spurgeon, Jim Elliot, find this little one, hug him so tightly, and finally pour out all over him: “I am so sorry.”