Thursday, October 1, 2015

Facebook Charcoal Fire

Don't bite on it.  Click ignore.  Read something else.  Check your email. Go blog. Go tweet!  Do something, anything, but don't go back and respond to that post.

We've all been there.  You log onto Facebook and there is a post, advocating something that you cannot possibly stomach, and worse, it is posted from a friend.  You make a comment maybe, or click, "I don't want to see this." but the posts keep coming.  You unfollow for a time, but still, the links and the posts keep coming.  It starts to feel like a constant drill into the head.  There are the subsequent "subtle" shares of links and posts that dispute the issue at hand, but eventually, one has to either swear off entirely or address the issue.

It's at this point, I so get Saint Peter.  Because I feel very cowardly at the charcoal fire put before me on Facebook.   How many times can you read something you absolutely disagree with on every level before you either brand yourself a coward, or speak up?

And the stupid cost.  The cost. The cost. The cost.  This is a friend.  They would never talk about this sort of thing with me face to face in this manner.  Even if we did bring up something difficult and found we disagreed, the conversation would be reasonable, it would be charitable, we'd have laughs and talk about everything we have in common rather than what divides us.

Neither Facebook nor the internet allow for that sort of dialogue easily.  The venue is best for hit and run, drive by stake out your position and dare someone to disagree type memes.  Click like and move on.  Will I lose them?  Should I be holding their friendship so dear?  Is their friendship that dear, am I valuing it too much or not enough?

Is it a call to evangelize, or a time to be prudent?  I know which one I will pick, and draft as best I can, a private message.  Underlying every word is a beg.  Please don't dismiss me, please don't throw me away, please don't hate me.  I'd make a lousy apostle, I don't do dislike well.   It's humiliating to know, even at forty-nine, I'm still so damn needy.  Still full of doubts, still worried when I have to stand up, I will be alone.

But I profess to be Pro-life, I always have been.  Being a two pound eleven ounce baby myself, I have a fire in the heart for the smallest of all.  Science informs me that a human is human from conception to natural death, regardless of capacity, past, present or future.  

So when the discussion of defunding Planned Parenthood came up, I signed petitions, I prayed, and thought back to when I first learned the reality of this organization.  

Back in 1992, when I first discovered myself expecting, I went to the general doctor office near my apartment.  The doctor heard my medical history and immediately said, "Abort."  When I said no, he told me in order to treat me, I'd have to have some lab work and sent me to Planned Parenthood with an appointment for a pregnancy test.   At the time, I admittedly didn't know of Planned Parenthood as a brand, and agreed to the appointment.

Inside the clinic, I sat while the man drew my blood.  I noticed the place was dirtier than what I expected.  I saw what looked like a little lump of flesh on the floor, and bits of bloody guts, they reminded me of when I gutted freshly caught fish before I've cleaned up.   I told myself I was imagining things.

The lab technician told me I was pregnant, and immediately asked me if I wanted an abortion.  When I said, "No!  Are you serious? (though I think I said crazy),  I'm keeping the baby!" He said, "Then I can't help you."  and I left. I felt an urgency to flee. No other services were offered but abortion.  I felt an urge as I saw the other women in the clinic sitting and waiting for whatever they were waiting for, to tell them, "Run." I hope some of them did, and found themselves with now twenty-two year old sons and daughters they love beyond all measure.

But I can still see that young man in the lab coat, I remember his face.  I also can't forget the fleshy bit I didn't imagine on the floor.

So when I read what former directors and doctors of Planned Parenthood say about abortion, about what goes on inside those walls, I believe them, and think, as soon to be named a Saint, Blessed Mother Teresa said, "If abortion is not evil, then nothing is evil."  And as is said in my favorite Star Trek Series, Deep Space Nine, "Evil must be opposed."  

We do not want a society that thinks those not convenient, should be ignored, swept under the rug, destroyed or hidden.  I know what that means, caring for the homeless, the disabled, those in prisons, those dislocated by war, those here in great need, the just and the unjust, all of them, matter.  It isn't an easy thing to advocate, because the political parties do not lend themselves to all, but only to some.  Often the argument in favor of caring for all gets derailed by the imperfect nature of proposed solutions.  But the absence of a solution that fits all, does not eliminate the need to stand for something which is good, and will to work out the details as we go.

Pope Francis came to this country. He fed the homeless, he visited those in prisons, he counseled the ignorant, (Congress), he prayed with the suffering, he counseled us to harbour the harbourless, he prayed for the living and the dead, he lay hands on the sick, he sent a letter to try and ransom the captive (woman on death row who was not pardoned).  He encouraged the faithful to have hope, counseling the doubtful.  In short, he did as many acts (spiritual and corporeal) of mercy as he could in the six days he was here.  He tried to embody the truth, the good, the beauty of the Catholic faith, to all who encountered him.

If the Church is right about feeding the hungry, being stewards of the Earth and all her peoples, caring for the sick, welcoming the lost, lonely, scared and the stranger, then isn't it possible, we're right about needing to care for these unborn too?   To those who say, what about the mother? I say, they must be cared for, that is part of the necessary act of a Catholic, to care for the woman with an unplanned pregnancy, for the mother, for the child, for the father, for the family whether it is bound legally or not.  (See, I agree, it isn't an easy solution, it will require work).   What is good, is good, and what is evil is evil, even if the law ignores the reality or pretends it is neutral.

So I hope my friend reads my words and hears the heart behind them and knows I'm still a friend, and maybe can see why this issue reflects the same value necessary for all the other classes of people in need of a pro-life society.

1 comment:

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