Saturday, December 17, 2016

When Does Life Matter?

The last couple of weeks I have been in a pondering mood…maybe it is just that time of year but my soul has been deeply troubled.  The summer and fall were filled with stress and conflict with the upcoming election.  I think it began then.  You see the main issue of the election for me was that of life.   It wasn’t a political issue because it is personal to me. I was to be aborted…for the health of my mother.   My mother had spent a great deal of her young life in a sanatorium for those infected with TB.  She had lost a husband and a baby to this dreaded disease but it was “arrested” [their term since it is never cured] and could now enter life again.  She married my father and was told to not get pregnant. She did, however, not long after she married.  After having lost one child she was being told she would have to abort the second one for her own health.  She refused and I was born.  (My mother lived for another 40 years after my birth.)  So, this abortion thing is personal to me.  But this writing is not so much about abortion but to consider when life begins to matter.

January 22, 1973 is a day that changed our country forever. Thanks to women like Betty Freidan and Gloria Steinem, children were relabeled as distractions rather than blessings.  Children after all were the reason women were not achieving all they could. If we could get rid of this distraction, life would be wonderful.  So in 1973, the Supreme Court decided that not allowing the aborting of a baby for any reason was unconstitutional. The ruling was termed Roe vs. Wade. Women were now free to be all that they could be!  No longer would they have back ally abortions…it was legal now to rid yourself of this distraction.  Fast forward several years…women were beginning to feel guilt from these actions.  It wasn’t as easy as they thought.  Depression grew and the freedom they were promised was fleeting by the knowledge of what they had done.  We had to do something to abate these feelings so what we did is redefine when life begins.

When I was in college no one ever questioned when life began.  We had studied basic biology and knew when it began. But now, to soothe the consciences of those who choose to rid themselves of a baby, many tried to justify the act by questioning the beginning of life.  They did this by declaring “It wasn’t really a baby yet…it was a fetus.” Somehow making it clinical would help and we could justify our guilt.

But this issue goes much further than aborting babies in the womb. Since that day in January 1973… murders have increased in our country.  There is seldom a day that goes by that my news app doesn’t mention yet another murder in the capital city!  Unthinkably, we see mothers and fathers killing their own children. Recently, one of the most heinous instances was a mother killing her child to get back at the father for an indiscretion.  She filmed the murder to show him and felt justified.  We are seeing teens as young as 12 killing other teens without remorse.  Why? I have pondered this and came to this conclusion: Could it be that if life doesn’t matter at the start it never really matters?

You see that is the way sin goes…it never takes you where you thought you were going to end up.  Society thought, out of sight (or womb) out of mind but the reality is that if life doesn’t matter in the womb, when does it matter?  At one?  At twelve? At 93?  If it doesn’t matter at the start, sub-consciously, does it ever matter?

It happens on the ending side, as well as our elderly are thrown aside instead of being honored because they are no longer useful to society. They are also considered distractions and it costs too much to maintain a distraction.

Recently, I visited two graveyards.  One was from a town that doesn’t exist any more and the other was the graveyard at my husband’s childhood church. The first was on a hike with my children. We walked around this neglected graveyard of a town long since gone and I was stunned as I read the headstones.  One hit me especially hard:  Emily Rose born June 18, 1883, died June 22, 1883.  Forever, memorialized even though her life lasted only 2 days.  The stone stared up at me screaming out…Emily Rose was alive and her life was important to someone.  She existed.  I looked at all the other grave markers and realized even though I never knew these people, there was a connection with them, I couldn’t deny.  They had lived.  They were.  The grave markers are there to prove it.

The other graveyard was a showing of family heritage. It showed that there were those who came before us with their stories and their trials.  They mattered. Their lives were important. We learned valuable lessons from them.

We lost so much when life became disposable. Life means something to God…heritage means so much to God.  Any bible student will tell you that.  Read Matthew 1. Read the numerous “begats” throughout the Bible and we clearly see it matters.  God knows us while we are in our mother’s wombs.  He created each of us for a purpose and not a single one of us is a distraction to Him!

So as we argue whether black lives matter, white lives matter, blue lives matter…let’s go back to the beginning…when life begins determines what lives matter.