Maybe one day I’ll write a book about my experiences as a pastor’s wife — or maybe not. But I’ve had some things happen that have surprised me and are noteworthy in some fashion. I guess it’s going to be this blog. Kick in the head is that I thought very little or nothing would surprise me given my upbringing and experiences, which are decidedly not what is conjured up when someone says “pastor’s wife.”
One of the things that sneaked up on me is coming to know a large number of women who had abortions when they were much younger (some of them have had more than one or even two). Oh, I realize I probably know more of these women than most people because I can be trusted never to share their very personal information with others, i.e., deference given to “the pastor’s wife.” But even if I cut the number in half, it’s still a lot no matter my husband’s profession.
When I was younger, I knew women who had chosen abortion, but I never had any meaningful conversation with them about what they felt about it. Now I have, and it is overwhelming how many carry enormous guilt or numbness as a result of the guilt. It’s pretty much all of them, and it seems to make little difference how long ago it happened. Several of the women are around my age (50 years), and they still struggle with their decision. I guess I tended to think much more than I realized that women who choose abortion are more driven by pragmatism than sentiment. But the reality of their guilt says otherwise, and it has become to me the dirty secret of abortion.
As much as I hate that someone has to endure that kind of pain, it is a healthy response. I take heart in the reality that no matter how progressive we like to think we’ve become as a society, the human response to sacrificing a life close to us is still usually great remorse sometimes followed by the self-preserving response of becoming numb to it. But the lack of response or care about such things is troubling indeed. The lack of response seems indicative of quite a selfish heart.
For those who are struggling with this regret, my prayers and compassion go out to you. My heart hurts for you. For those who feel little or nothing, my prayers and compassion also go out to you, and yes, my heart hurts for you as well — even more so.