Monday, October 3, 2011

HATE, and the Paradox at Life Chain Sunday

Yesterday, I participated in Life Chain Sunday. This is a silent hour of prayer near a high-traffic road, where Pro-Lifers hold signs and stand in quiet meditation.

I've been a part of the Life Chain for several years, but this was the first time up near my new house, with my new parish. There were fewer people, and it was a more rural area where we stood. We did receive many "approval" beeps and waves.

But we also became victims of hate. As a steady flow of cars traveled across the road from us, one of them slowed down almost to a complete stop, leaned on her horn, rolled down her window, and gave us the finger as she continued driving by slowly - a look of pure hatred on her face.

All I could think was how incredibly paradoxical this was. I held my "Adoption: The Loving Option" sign tight against my chest, and high under my chin, as I fought back tears. Here I was, at any moment about to start my period, yearning for life to bless my womb, and knowing another cycle had passed, completely barren.

This woman's knee-jerk reaction to our silent witness was obviously not about us. Our signs that read, "Life: The Unalienable Right" and "Abortion Hurts Women," and "Pray for an End to Abortion," while controversial (because anything involving abortion is controversial), were hardly offensive. Our group of elderly women, middle-aged couples, myself, teenage girls, and children ages 5-11, were hardly threatening. This woman was reacting to something much bigger than us. All I could do was immediately turn my hurt and anguish into prayers for her.

I realize there are people on the "fringe" of both sides. Abortion mill bombers, for example, are hardly speaking for the true Pro-Life community. But this case was not, in my opinion, a "fringe" pro-choicer. I believe she, in her minivan, represents the way most Pro-Choicers tend to react to us. Disdain, disgust, and yes, even hatred. And I can put myself in their shoes and see why they would feel that way. They believe our cause is based in a lie (of when life begins), and it is putting women in danger.

But I wonder, if I can put myself in their shoes so easily, why can they not see things from our perspective? Even without agreeing with us, can they not see why we feel so passionately about our cause? As misguided as they believe us to be, could they honestly not understand why we feel it is our duty to stand outside in 48 degree weather and silently pray for an end to abortion?

If I had seen a group of Pro-Choicers holding signs, even if their signs said things I thought to be ludicrous, like, "Pregnancy Hurts Women," or "Abortion: The Only Option," I just cannot fathom leaning on my horn and flipping them off. Especially with young children amongst them!

And so, I did something I used to do years ago. I offered my failed cycle (Cycle #65, or somewhere in that ballpark) for life. I asked God to take the soul who was not embodied in my womb, and to place it instead into a woman who would choose LIFE for her child. I offered my infertility for an end to abortion, and an end to hate.

I ask those of you suffering with this cross at this time to do the same.


[email protected] said...

Wow. This is so sad. But you are asking the right questions. It's such an irony. At risk of shamelessly plugging my blog, my post today actually speaks to why pro-aborts have to get so angry and fight so hard for their position to be "right". It's about the avenging conscience. And an avenging conscience is a furious thing….

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Yes, I have often thought about that. Because, if trying to be completely unbiased and look at both sides, which side, IF THEY WERE RIGHT, would be the right side of the fence?
Pro-Choice: Women have the right to choose what happens with their own body. Abortion is health care and every woman deserves access to it.
Pro-Life: Life begins at conception. No one life is more valuable than another. The moment of conception, another person is now part of the equation. Abortion is murder.

If we (pro-life) were wrong... well, then what? We are denying women health care that they have the right to. I'll concede, that is not good.

But if pro-choicers are wrong...
isn't that a much, much bigger risk than denying someone healthcare???

Rebecca said...

What a beautiful way to bring something good out of infertility, to offer it up for LIFE. I will do the same.

And I will pray that Cycle #65 is your last cycle, for say, the next 9 or so months.

Blessed and Broken said...

So well written and beautiful. I am so inspired by ability to channel your suffering.

I am in a dialogue with a woman. In response to a post about the Life Chain she responds: " -- you watched how me being adopted. Hell would have been a better place. You know my life. My best friend was adpoted through christiin charities. Her adopted father raped and beat her until he dropped dead at 16. He forced his wife to perform sex acts to pay the bills. She ended in state institution. She died there. - and I have been bff for 45 years. She is my family. So I think you understand. Remeber your family cast me away too."

She also happens to work in an abortion clinic. Responses like these are clearly related to hurt, pain and abuse. By ourselves, we can never love the abuse out of them...but God's grace can do anything. Norma McCorvey is a beautiful example of that.

Blessed and Broken said...

(just adding to the above, this comment was not directed to me)

Beth said...

Having worked in the respect life field for a while, my guess is that all too often the anger is coming from some very personal pain, which makes our prayers that much more important. The statistic is that 1 in 3 women has had an abortion, so we have to assume that EVERYONE, man or woman, knows someone or has had one themselves. So to hold signs saying that abortion hurts women or kills children feels like an accusation that at minimum the person didn't do enough to help prevent their friend or family member's pain, and even worse, that we're accusing them of being an accomplice to murder.

This is why I really prefer signs, whether for Life Chain, 40 Days, etc., that offer some "practical" help with phone numbers or websites of either pregnancy centers or post-abortion healing resources (i.e. Project Rachel). We still get the "one finger waves" with these signs, but hopefully they are more likely to consider that we genuinely care and want to help, not stand in condemnation.

Hebrews 11:1 said...

I firmly believe that people like that woman, who feel such hate in their hearts for peaceful pro-life protesters, are so angry because deep down they know they are wrong. You rarely see this kind of hate on the pro-life side, but it's commonplace on the pro-choice side. My mom has told me many times--look where the most hate and animosity is--that's the side that's wrong. They resort to the hate and anger because they know they have no argument to legitimately counter the fact that it really, really is MURDER.

Hebrews 11:1 said...

PS TCIE--don't forget!! BLESSED are you when they scorn and hate you because you stand up for TRUTH!

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Beth... you make a very good point there. While not personally offensive, the signs could be seen as indirectly offensive. I think deep down, this is why I ALWAYS choose the sign that is not offensive at all: "Adoption: The Loving Option."
And while I don't believe in shock value (I wouldn't ever hold a picture of an aborted, dead baby), I also think signs like "Abortion Hurts Women" and "I Regret My Abortion" (signs from the Right to Life March, not Life Chain) are necessary because they are the truth.
But I do think offering some kind of resource in conjuction with the signs would be helpful. Thanks for your comment!

barbie said...

This is beautiful TCIE to use your suffering for others.....

JellyBelly said...

You are so brave to be a beautiful witness to life! I will never understand how misled so many are and how easily so many can just disregard the sanctity and beauty of God's creation.

You are such an inspiration!!!!

All in His Perfect Timing said...

I also participated in Life Chain yesterday (the first time in a new town and also in quite a few years). We did get a few fingers and a person half-out-of-the-car-window yelling obscenities.
Like you, I decided to offer my witness and my empty womb for one person that day considering abortion to choose life.
Thanks for your great witness! I know God is pleased with your offering.

Amazing Life said...

Your maternal heart is bringing forth such beautiful fruit! I know the angels must have been weeping tears of joy over how you have offered your suffering for God's glory n such a pure way.

Women for All Seasons said...

TCIE, my eyes filled with tears at your prayer to offer your infertility to end abortion. What a beautiful gift! You've inspired me to offer up every cycle going forward for the same. Thank you.

Simone said...

I am so proud of you for standing there in peace. There are some people out there who are so selfish. They would rather do what is convenient for them instead of putting up the baby for adoption. There are many if women out here who have to suffer more than needed becuase of them. Don't let them stop you.

Anonymous said...

See I am also one of the camp believing that adoption is less preferable to abortion.

In adoption, children lose their mothers. That is a primal wound, and I strongly suggest that anyone considering adoption read Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier.

The statistics are real. Adoptees suffer a tremendous loss.

You are being selfish TCIE. Why should a woman have a baby, so that You can take it away and raise it? I tell you anything ,I'd rather raise my child myself than give it to strangers.

And the adoptee community at is real. Their pain is real. And yes ,many would rather be aborted than have to live the lives they've had.. with strangers.

You may feign shock and horror, but just because you want a baby does not mean you can claim anyone else's.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous, my husband and I are thinking seriously about adoption and we are aware that adoptees suffer a tremendous loss and are facing unique challenges. Nevertheless we think that every child, adoptee or not, should be given the chance to live in a loving family and to have all the support and care needed to become an adult happy and able to face the life with courage and hope.A big hug and a little link for you to explain in a better English what are my feelings about adoption.

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Anonymous, you must have misread my post. The sign I held simply said, "Adoption: The Loving Option." It did not say, "Please give me your baby."
I can understand your hurt and frustration, and no, I was not shocked or horrified at your sharing of your perception of adoption. I have heard it before. But there are MANY adoptive mothers in this community who would be rather hurt by your words, which basically imply that all adoptive parents are selfish and abusive. Hardly the reality.
Silvana, thank you for sharing your link. And thank you for your witness of prospective adoptive parents.
I do have to wonder, Anonymous, what are your thoughts on foster care? Is it selfish for foster parents to offer their home for a day, a week, years, to a child or children who suffered abuse and neglect from their biological family?
Finally, does a person wanting to end their life give someone else the right to end it for them?

Anonymous said...

Hello TCIE, have you heard about spiritual adoption of an unborn child? here is a link:
For the last couple of years I have continuously adopted a child and I think it is a wonderful way of saving children...JPII encouraged to pray this prayer and I believe it is really this way you can be a spiritual mother to as many children as you like...and help to fullfill God's real plan with these children and their parents...

Nicole C said...

God bless, TCIE! I was moved by your prayer to offer your child for another to choose life. WOW.

I have to disagree with Beth. I believe the "Abortion Hurts Women" signs (I hold them often) are very necessary to our cause, because we are so often accused of "not caring" about women and only caring about the baby. But to bring the light of Truth to the public (we're educating all, not just post-abortive women) is very important.

Anonymous, would you say the same thing about children who are already born and in abusive situations (even ones in biological families)? That someone should just kill them off to end their pain? I'm doubting you would advocate that. But how is it different than aborting a baby who might potentially have a bad life? Isn't the former more "merciful?"

Meg @ True, Good and Beautiful said...

I'd like to inform people of Open Adoption, in case they haven't heard of it. Basically, the child has a continued relationship with his/her biological parents, as do the adoptive parents. There is much importance in having a connection with one's biological roots and the thought is basically just that there are more people to love that child. It is, I believe, in most cases, the most desirable form of adoption and I believe we will see more and more agencies using this type of adoption.

Anonymous, I do believe all adoptees experience some level of grief. Having gone through the adoption process myself, I know that for all parties involved, there is grief. But to choose death for someone, over life, even a life with great suffering? I have known many adopted kids (teens mostly) who have great joy in life, despite the grief. Why not let the children live: give them the chance at a good life, and if they decide it's so terrible, they can decide for themselves if they want to die or not.

(Of course, I am appalled at suicide, but I'm also appalled at murder in the womb. At least the former would be an act chosen for oneself instead of inflicted by another.)

Nubby said...

Nice post, TCIE.

Anon- one should not murder on the assumption that the child might suffer some form of grief based on his/her adoption.

We cannot take it upon ourselves to do away with them in the womb simply because the lowest common denominator suffer emotionally.

Everyone suffers on some level, adopted or not. We cannot presuppose that they will suffer simply because they are adopted, and take liberty to kill them.

Beth said...

TCIE and Nicole, I just realized that my earlier comment may have appeared critical of those signs or of Life Chain, and it was not at all intended to be! I completely agree that the "Abortion Hurts Women" signs are important because they are the truth, and hopefully will help show our compassion for both the parents and children in difficult circumstances.
I only meant that if you're a person who's had an abortion or helped your sister, friend, etc. have one, that could explain the strong negative reactions.
TCIE, I also think the Adoption sign is great because we never know who might be in a difficult pregnancy and the thought hasn't even occurred to them.
Thanks for a great conversation, and most importantly, for such a beautiful prayer!

JoAnna Wahlund said...

I was thinking that the poor woman who showed such hatred toward you was probably post-abortive and still in denial about the pain and heartbreak she felt about it. I hope she will seek healing someday.

[email protected] said...

I have two close friends who were adopted. They are now adults with beautiful, functioning families of their own. They are happy people, and they are extremely active in the pro-life, pro-adoption community.

The idea that we should kill because a life has the potential to suffer... that is just so misguided. I know plenty of people born and raised by their biological families who have lives of suffering (and really, does anyone escape suffering?), but I don't think you'd advocate their deaths? Or that they should have been aborted?

It's so important to make distinctions and talk of one issue at a time.

Danya @ He Adopted Me First said...

Dear Anon, I could not be more offended by your statements. MY four children are not strangers to me - THEY ARE MY CHILDREN. To say that they'd be better of dead than to be with me, THEIR MOTHER, is an insult beyond compare. I hope the decent folks reading this blog have the good sense to avoid visiting your link and buying into your hate and death speech. You should be ashamed of yourself for using your pain to promote killing other innocents. May God convert your hardened heart! Lord have MERCY!

Anonymous said...

TCIE, I give you credit for having grace.
Anon, I cannot believe you would write something so hurtful in public. I will pray for you that you find peace with your life. Yes it is said to lose a parent and I feel sorry for those who have. I am a teacher and I have lots of students who are adopted. Most of them are happy. It depends on the family dynamic and every situation is different. Those of us who cannot have our own want to give love to those children in need. Those who murder a child bc they did not plan on having it are the ones who are selfish.

Thankful said...

Amazing, grace-filled, and poignant as always. Sorry about the nasty experience but clearly you are using it to further God's glory.

Anonymous said...

Anon - research indicates that children raised by adoptive parents generally do better - physically, emotionally, and economically - than children raised by single mothers (see 'Adoption Works Well' by Dr Patrick Fagan:

Further, the vast majority of adopted children are psychologically well adjusted - and, as such, one might assume, happy ('Adoption USA' by Dept. Health and Human Services

I am sure some adults are grieved by their adoptions - but the picture you paint of adoption being a terrible thing simply isn't the case for most adoptees.

Judee said...

love that- you offered your infertility to end abortion - wow! God hears you and will bless you.