Saturday, January 29, 2011

On Wild Horses

She caught my eyes one morning on Bus #28--bright face, laughing.

The year was 2003. I loved Denver in the fall.

A few weeks later, I was teaching a small group of teens in a local prison. I noticed a girl sitting towards the back. She made it painfully clear to everyone that I was a pest, and that she did not want to be there. I tried to be kind and asked her a few questions, but that only made me all the more annoying to her.

Suddenly, it felt as though a brick landed on my head. While the stars were still spinning, I asked her, "Do you have a red Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt?" She made a face. "You take Bus #28 to school, don't you?" I blurted, again, in disbelief.

Yep. She was officially freaked out.
But so was I.

That was how I met Noel.
I enjoyed her in my classes for the next six weeks.

Happenings like this require orchestration. And God is a masterful conductor, with a great sense of humor.

A herd of wild horses stormed into my wilderness. I did not know where I was to go and they cleared a path for me. Their blank stares, their indifference, their rage towards life caused a burning in my heart.

I loved to teach -- who knew? I certainly did not. I thought I loved biology and some kind of health care profession. They forced me to listen, to pay attention, and changed my mind.

These wild horses, they have a very special part of my heart. Faces young and miserable. Some of my first conversations about pregnancy, rape, and abortion were within these prison walls -- with girls who were no longer children, but certainly not yet adults.

I came across this video recently and it reminded me of the friends who did so much for me. It struck me that the color of prison walls look similar everywhere, but these women are certainly not bound by them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Conversations with me and myself

I talk to myself a lot these days. An effective way to stay calm with two babies. I highly recommend it.

Sometimes, present-me speaks to present-me.

Sometimes, present-me speaks to me-of-the-past. Those conversations go something like this:
Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! Soooo dumb!
Ugh. That was so embarrassing!
Please don't ever do that again.
Me-of-the-past is usually not allowed to talk, lest she try to make lame excuses for her silliness.

Future-me is a strange one. She visits once in a while.

She visited me at around week-four after Emeth's birth.

The days were long and dark. The jaundice. The blood tests, needle after needle into my newborn's heels. The endless feedings. The pain and the weariness and the questions and confusion as to why my child did not fit the descriptions in the books I read about newborns! Did I mention the endless feedings? A little person who demanded me, me, and more of me.

She said to me (in a very serious tone),
Not too long from now, Emeth will cry and there will be nothing you can do for him. When he is 7, 17, 67, his heart will break in ways you cannot mend. He will desire things your arms will not satisfy.
Right now, he just wants you.
Suddenly, the endless feedings didn't seem so bad.
He is hungry?  I can feed him.
He needs to be held? I have arms.
He wants me? I have me!

Spring broke open in my darkness.

You have me, little ones.
You will always have me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

On Bacteria and Abortion

One of the more useful classes I had to take for my college degree was Microbiology. For my term project, I studied the bacteria found in public restrooms. I carefully swab the toilet seats, faucets, and door handles in every (female) bathroom in the dormitories. I then grew the bacteria on Petri dishes and examined them under the microscope. What (nerdy) fun.

Here is a summary of my findings (according to the number and grossness of the bacteria):

Toilet seats < Door handles < Faucets

Ew to faucets indeed.

That was nine years ago. Since then, I have not touched a single faucet or door handle or toilet seat in public restrooms without a paper towel or something to shield my skin from that thick, slimy, invisible layer of microorganisms.

My belief in bacteria dictates my action. Oh yes indeed it does. In fact, it even governs a sick feeling I get just thinking about faucets.

Years ago, around the time when I took that Microbiology class, I learned that much of the abortion debate centered around the question "when does life begin?" At conception? First trimester? Second trimester? Third? One's judgment on this issue depended on their answer to this question, that was what they said.

Belief dictates action.
Emeth at 14-weeks

Since then, I've had conversations with women who had abortions, and more importantly, had two pregnancies of my own. Thanks to technological advancement, we now have reliable windows into the womb. Faces. Heartbeat. Movement. A separate genetic code from the mother. The fetus is clearly not "part of the woman's body." The question is no longer "when does life happen?"; we know we are carrying human life. Yet, people still choose to abort children.

We are a generation who believes murder is permissible.

My actions betray my beliefs. Every moment, every day. When I do not spend time in God's Word, when I am not living a life of obedience, when I do not fear the consequences of my sin — I am proclaiming:

The Lord and Creator of Heaven and Earth < Bacteria

Grim indeed.