"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Friday, January 21, 2011

I am ABSOLUTELY pro-choice. . .

      I am absolutely pro-choice when it comes to abortion--as long as the victim is the one who gets to choose.
     A pregnant woman has other options. She can raise the baby herself or offer him/her to a dozen eager pairs of arms. But the baby in the womb has no other options. Let's see, climb out and run away?

     I have a friend, Stacy, whose mother didn't try to abort her but whose choice amounted to the same thing. She decided to kill herself while Stacy was in her womb, apparently back at two months when she found out she was pregnant. Stacy's father found her in time and rushed her to a hospital, saving both their lives. As a woman in and out of psychological therapy all her life and diagnosed borderline, Stacy asked her mother about that choice.
     "Why did you try to kill yourself?"
     "I didn't know what else to do."
     "What about me? Didn't you think about the fact I would die, too?"
     "No," said her mother lightly, with a dismissive gesture. "Why would I think about that?"
     Stacy and I spent hours and hours and hours together, seeking God's healing for her. She also met with prayer teams. She talked about feeling unloved, about people always cutting off relationships with her, about failure in job after job. She began to realize that when she stepped out into a friendship, she would begin to fear the other person would reject her, so she would pull away; when she started a new job, she would lose confidence and let it unravel.
     As she talked and I listened, I also prayed silently. God, help me to understand. Help me know how to help.   
     On the phone with me, she would get angry when I had to say goodbye, no matter how long we had talked. She would cling harder, want more. She could have sucked all the life out of me and it would not have been enough for her.
     Yet even then I really liked her. She is a bright, enthusiastic, creative person with a sense of humor, lots and lots of talent.
     Where the therapists would have told her that her 50 minutes was up, I let her keep talking. When she wanted to lay her head in my lap, I let her. When she wanted me to stroke her hair and tell her she was beautiful and I loved her and was glad she had lived, I would mother her. I didn't mind.
     Gradually, after some months, the Lord took her back to her mother's womb and I got to stay with her as, shaking, she relived the terror and grief. How could a fetus, an embryo, a zygote, know and feel the things she was experiencing? (How could the 6-month old fetus John-who-would-be-called-the-Baptizer, leap for joy in his mother's womb when his cousin, the Savior of the world, walked into his house?)
     I don't know. But I do know Stacy was really screwed up, pretty much non-functional, for 40 years and when we went back to the Catch-22 she'd faced in the womb, it all made sense--and God healed her.
     Based on my limited experience with women diagnosed borderline, I believe borderline personality is a matter of being stuck in an equal-and-opposite, lose-lose situation which prevents trust and bonding and includes a lot of anger. (I've ministered to only one other but the pattern was identical and the process of healing similar.) "My mother chose death," Stacy would say, sobbing. "I needed her! I didn't want to die! If I chose to die with her, I would die. But if I tried to fight it and choose life--I would die anyway!"
      "Stacy," I would say. "You didn't have a choice then but now you do. Do you choose life?"
     At first she wasn't sure, then, briefly, she would try choosing life. Finally, now, she is choosing life daily and living it. I don't hear from her all the time any more. When we talk on the phone now I don't have to pray certain things a certain way to make her feel safe. When I say, "I have to go now," she is fine with that. Sometimes she's the one who says it. She doesn't cling. She is a functioning adult now, a friend and equal, not a victim.
     She has a choice and she chooses life.

Today I am thankful for every pregnant woman who chooses life.

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