Friday, February 29, 2008

Reflections on the Sanctity of Life

A few minutes after midnight on Valentine's Day, I was privileged to witness a baby being born. This was the first birth I've attended in whiche I didn't have a central role (as in, the one pushing out the baby). It was amazing, wonderful and also acutely painful watching someone else go through the long ordeal of a natural birth. As the baby was delivered and put on mama's chest, I was able to watch her and new daddy's face. There were tears and laughter, relief and pain. This was the boy they had only known through the walls of her pregnant belly and now they saw him for the first time. It was the moment in which all the theory turned into practice. From that time on, love would become more of an action than it ever had previously. I remember thinking then that this tiny child, alive for the last 9 months in utero and now introduced to the world was precious in his own right. Not because he was wanted and welcomed and loved but because he was. Life is not an accident and life matters.

Last week my aunt came into town to visit my grandfather who is turning 87 and living with my parents. During one late night conversation, she said that if she got to the state of health and dementia my grandfather is in she hoped someone would let stay in bed and just.... I was able to articulate for her the reasons why my parents choose not to do this. At 87, my grandfather is alive and his life matters. Not just what he did but what he does now and who he is. He is old, he has some really painful character flaws that have wounded his family and the dementia can be draining. But, because God is sovereign, he is alive for a reason. He has a soul. He is capable of relationships. He has value. I don't know if she got it but I do.

We have just returned from a short vacation with our daughters. We had a blast playing in the snow, hiking, watching movies, swimming in the heated pool, watching the stars, and many other things. It reminded me that there are so many days that I wish the kids were _______ (potty trained, obedient, not whining, getting along, able to wipe themselves, etc) that I can forget to see them. Sure, there are things that they are not, but there are also amazing things that they ARE. They are vibrant, electric, glowing with life. They are designed and created in a way that cannot be duplicated. They are a part of the sacred, not because they are divine but because they carry the fingerprint of their Maker. We all do but it is easier for me to see it in them. But, I'm talking to God about widening my view.

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