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That Dark Silence

They imagine they see their faces. They wonder about the sounds of their voices. They see a smile and wish they could turn the clock back.

Church nurseries hurt.

Baby showers bring a knot to their stomach.

High chairs can make them turn away.

Avoiding the baby food aisle can be a singular goal with every trip to the grocery store.

Women (and men) carry the shame and guilt and grief of past abortions.  This past decision carry with it painful, personal and often silent incriminations.  

We all coo and ahh at the pictures of newborns.  We celebrate the news of newly expectant mothers and rejoice with the families. Women (and men) whose past includes the abortion of their baby share these experiences, but the experiences are always tinged with something else; something hard for us to understand...at least experience..."what might have been", "what have I done", "how old would he/she have been" and on and on and on.

So often these experiences and thoughts are tightly held secrets. No one likes to talk about that for which they are ashamed.  Guilt is an invitation to vulnerability and that is always scary. 

Sometimes Christians and the churches they attend have not made things easy for those who have aborted their babies. We are properly disgusted by the act of abortion, we rightly grieve for the millions of little babies that are killed through this act and we recoil at the attempt to anesthetize our culture through the clinical language used to describe this tragedy. In our outrage, we sometimes forget (or ignore or dismiss) those among us who continue to suffer the consequences of their decision.

I fear that I have chosen to stifle myself in my public ministry out of deference to those I know who continue the difficult process of "coming to terms" with their past abortions (and, in some cases, the men who supported/encouraged them to end the life of their baby by aborting him or her). "Coming to terms" may mean dealing with their shame, believing that Christ's blood covers even this sin, being convinced that they deserve the judgment and deserve being ostracized by those who know, and universally being haunted by the thoughts of "what might have been". My public and pastoral posture is to not add to their burden. So our church does not organize marches, devote a service or portion of the service to the "sanctity of human life" in January or join with other churches in our area for occasional prayer vigils at abortion providers in our area.

Members are involved in various crisis pregnancy centers as counselors and volunteers. Members donate needed items to these centers. But there is no organizational concerted effort on my part or the part of our Session to garner forces against abortion providers in the DFW area.

I struggle here. The tension is tight. I wonder whether my public silence is a measure of my failure to fully commit to the cause of the unborn. If someone accused me of such a thing, would they be right?

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