“C’mon Cassidy! Watch this!”
My little sissy screeched at me as she bravely leaped over the Dora sprinkler stationed in our tiny backyard. I watched with fascination as Dora and her blue watering can spun round and round in quick little circles, which made the water fly through air and splash on my toes.
I quickly slurped at my cherry popsicle as the electric drips of sticky red sugar came racing down my arm. My tongue was already a flaming crimson color, and I rubbed the stubby tip of the popsicle on my lips to make it look like lipstick, the kind fancy ladies wear. Long strips of grass were sticking all over my wet legs, making me feel like Oscar the Grouch. I licked the last drips of my popsicle so I could race through the sprinklers with my sister again. I abandoned my bare popsicle stick and squealed as I booked it towards Dora. As I was gallantly hopping over Dora’s bloodthirsty watering can, I slipped on the mushy grass and sank into its muddy juice. I grabbed my sister’s hand as she galloped by, and she made a splat as she plopped down in the swampy grass right next to me. We pretended we were horses and neighed at each other, knowing exactly what the other was saying. Giggles erupted into the sky, and the sunshine soaked them right up. Now, every time I step outside in the backyard and inhale rays of sun, I feel giggles permeating through, filling me with innocent, divine joy.
The past few days here have been so balmy and spring-like that I can’t help but think of warm summer-time memories. I have some crazy, silly memories from being little, things like building umbrella forts with Anna in our front yard, fabricating very specific stories for my Polly Pockets to live out, and choreographing our own Olympic Opening Ceremony with a Halloween cauldron in my friend’s basement. My house was always a toy-factory wonderland because my mom designed (and still does design) little girl toys, and my imagination spun circles so big and fast that I sometimes lifted myself off the ground like a helicopter. My bookshelf was always throwing up because it was so full, and the books that piled up beside my bed sometimes towered over me. From the moment I fell in love with words, I was immersed in an unbreakable romance that has kept me passionate ever since. I wrote poems and stories and made my friends play “library” in my room with me. I was always a little different in elementary school, but I was okay with it, cause all the heroes in my favorite books were different. As a confused and offbeat little girl, I made mistakes, I wasn’t always good, but I learned to live. I learned to forgive and be brave. I learned to be myself.
In honor of a new year of Respect Life, I wanted to write something about the sheer beauty of living. Abortion is an issue I feel strongly about. It’s wrong, and it’s grasped the heartbeat and life out of millions of unborn babies who never even got the chance to climb an old grandpa tree or be embraced in a lovingly suffocating hug. In America, there are 265 abortions for every 100 live births (movementforabetteramerica.org). It’s a scary truth about our society.
Abortion is awful, and although I consider myself pro-life, I think respecting life goes beyond simply being against abortion. We have to be willing to love each human life even after a baby is born and grows up. Respecting life is committing to love others even when it’s hard or out of our way. Respecting life is befriending the outcast. Respecting life is encouraging someone instead of belittling. It’s giving our time, and money, to people who are struggling. It’s putting others before ourselves. Respecting life is more than being pro-birth, it’s being fascinated by the beauty within each individual and doing all we can to help them find abundant life. That’s pro-life.
When I think of all the fascination life brings me every single day, how can we possibly grab that from a baby who doesn’t have a say and not allow them to experience this big, crazy world? I realize that some circumstances with pregnancy are difficult or unexpected and unwanted, and it’s seemingly easier to abort a baby. But life, with all of its beauty and danger, is a miracle. Sure, this world is full of heartache and dull pain and sharp pain and fear and guilt and all kinds of nasty emotions, but our souls are extraordinarily bright gems that cannot be crushed or destroyed by the vicious hammer of the world. Jesus already won our souls when he defeated all things evil and painful. And he is intricately immersed in our diamond lives. We are his treasure trove.
Our bodies are imperfect and will decay, but our silvery souls will always thump with passion if we choose life over a monotonous survival. The souls of the aborted babies are still very much alive. We can remember that when we feel ourselves drifting through the world, not actually experiencing its wonder. Let’s allow ourselves to abandon stress and worldly pursuits for a little while, and learn to fall deeply in love with our own thrilling stories. The pages bleed with fiery letters that refuse to line up in order. We burn, not because we’re always in pain, but because we are consumed with a spirit so wild and free it bursts into flames within us.
Life is precious. It is wild and unpredictable, dangerous and full of wonder. On this dreary winter day, I’m reminded of summery memories and cherry popsicles, and how blessed I am to be experiencing the joy and heartache of this lovely and scary world. I pray for all the beautiful women who feel that abortion is their only option. I pray for all babies newly born, that they may live a passionate and radiant life, wherever they may be. I pray for every human to realize how much of a gift their own life is, and that they may find the strength to share that extraordinary gift.