My morning started off promising. Last night I started to revise a chapter from a novel I wrote a few years ago. Words and ideas flowed like a well-fed spring. But instead of going back to what I was working on last night, I decided to check my email. I should have known my day was off course when I spent twenty minutes (probably longer) responding to an ongoing discussion related to a project I’m working on. Formulating my thoughts soaked up the little bit of creativity I had. I tried to savage my day by working on an unfinished blog. But when I heard the chime that signaled I had another email, I took the bait.
It was a message from a woman who attends the same church I do. She had just found my contact information on her desk and had some volunteer opportunities I might be interested in. A few months ago I was looking for something to get involved with, but I had dismissed working with her organization because it was pregnancy center.
My first inclination was to respond to her email by saying that I too busy to help. I even wrote the email, but then I deleted it. I felt I owed her a better explanation, but I didn’t want to say what I was really thinking. I tried to go back to writing my blog, but I was blocked. I turned off my computer and grabbed a craft book to read. But I kept thinking about the email. Then it occurred to me, my silence on the subject was dangerous not only to me, but to my writing.
Now before you jump to your own opinions about the subject of abortion, hear me out. I have completely given my life to Jesus Christ. He is the Lord and Savior of my life. I have chosen to live my life in a way that would be pleasing to Him. That includes adhering to certain values. So I don’t believe abortion is the right. However, I also don’t believe I can make that decision for another woman. I praise God that I have never been in a situation where I considered it an option. But my heart aches for the women who have.
So my problem isn’t so much that the organization tries to give women an alternative, as it is the way they go about it. Their website opens the home page with a song that starts like a steady heartbeat. The information they provide uses phrases like “death of the embryo” to shame women for considering abortion. Maybe it’s the writer in me that has a problem with the covert way of they communicate their message. Or maybe I believe that a woman in a pregnancy crisis needs honesty and support without the hidden agenda.
Now, understand I would never personally recommend that a woman have an abortion. However, I respect a woman’s right to choose. Does that make me a bad Christian? I’ve struggled silently with that question, especially since neither of the camps offers the peace I need to resolve my thinking about the subject. There is so much more to the issue that never gets discussed. One side never tells you about the remorse a woman feels years after her decision. The other side never tells you about the child who grows up wondering if his or her parent would have been better off if he or she hadn’t been born. I’m particularly familiar with that one. I was the product of an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy. There were some who advocated that my mother have an abortion, but she decided to have her baby. And since both of my parents were Christians, there was a shotgun wedding. They had a horrible marriage. Once I learned the math of gestation, I started to blame myself for their problems. As a child I reasoned that if I had never been born, they would have had a better life. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I actually shared that thought with a friend. Bless her for telling me I had nothing to do with their decision to get in that predicament in the first place.
So when I think about abortion, I can’t find any comfort in taglines or easy solutions. The crisis of an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy is too complicated for that.
Being open in this post scares the crap out of me. I fear it will alienate people on both sides. But being a confident writer means not letting fear silence your voice.
So the writing lesson here is don’t back away from topics or issues that frighten you. There may be something that you write that speaks to another person. Even if it doesn’t, you have expressed something that needed to be said. And that is what writing is all about.