A friend and I were chatting recently and she said that if she were in my shoes she thought she would “just want to die”. She asked me, “do you just want to die sometimes?” As I thought about it, I had to answer yes. Not in the suicidal way, but in the Pauline way. It’s natural to want to be with your family and especially your kids, and I’m kind of stuck in the middle with an even number on each side of heaven (Brad and Isaac vs. Pete and Gia).
But more than longing to be with my little saints, their presence in heaven lifts my mind to a higher reality: heaven is real, and it’s the goal of all of us. Peter and Gianna are more real than I am, because they are seeing God face to face. They are part of the Church Triumphant. They are hanging out with the whole Communion of Saints. They are enjoying the bliss they were created for!!
This line of thinking is what gets me excited for eternity. “Death is gain.” It makes me long, like the early Church, for Jesus to return. The prospect of the Second Coming seemed like some weird sci fi story when I was a kid, and as an adult before losing my kids it was frankly kind of terrifying. But it’s a central tenant of our faith. And now, I dream about it. For us all to go at once, without any more funerals or sympathy cards, for us all to understand what God was doing all this time… Come, Lord Jesus! For the evils and injustices in our world to be exposed and those responsible to be held to account… Come, Lord Jesus! For not one more parent to have to stand at their child’s grave… Come, Lord Jesus!
In the meantime, “life is Christ”. There is a reason within his great mercy why this big blue marble keeps spinning. So we keep working for his glory, trying to bring others back into the fold. But, while we labor here on earth, we also need to keep an eye on heaven, so that we don’t get too comfortable down here. As our little ones remind us, it’s not our home.
Elephant in the Living Room
- Many people, when touched by the illness of a loved one, will take up the cause of fighting that illness. This is right and good. We should fight terrible diseases, especially ones that take the lives of children. Brad and I certainly support efforts of researchers seeking to know more about mitochondrial disease with a future hope of some treatment. But we haven’t felt particularly inclined to take this up as a cause.
This is why: Four thousand children die every day in our country of something totally preventable. Each day that my child was in the hospital or clinic, with a team of doctors working their hardest to beat an unbeatable disease, 39 healthy Minnesotan kids died at the hands of a different set of doctors across town. I am speaking of course of abortion.
My children had bad genes, and despite medicine’s best efforts, they died. But at least while they lived, they were respected, loved and treated with dignity. When they died, people cried for them. They had beautiful funerals. People leave them flowers at the cemetery. Their short lives were lived in love. Babies who die from abortion die badly. They are treated as medical waste. People pretend to forget they ever existed. This is an injustice that cries out to heaven.
But children who die from abortion are not its only victims. Losing a baby to an untreatable disease hurts. But Brad and I have the support of our families, friends and Church. People ask us how we are doing. They sent cards (hundreds of them!!) and flowers, and meals. Women and men who lose their babies to abortion do not have this support. Often their grief goes totally unrecognized and unaffirmed. One post-abortive woman I know was told by her psychologist to “just get over it already”. The choice that was supposed to be so freeing, these women tell me, ends up imprisoning them in a spiral of grief, anger, shame and hurt. Let’s not be naive: every abortion claims AT LEAST two victims (though we can’t forget dad, grandma, the friend that gave the ride, the abortionist…).
Abortion is the elephant in the living room of American society. No one likes to talk about it. It makes everyone squirm. But the fact remains that in the three decades that it has been legal, it has killed millions of children and wounded millions of parents. This cannot be allowed to continue. Over 170 cities in 45 states are currently participating in 40 Days for Life- an interfaith effort to end abortion through prayer, fasting and presence. If your city is hosting one, I encourage you to participate (St. John’s is hosting October 25th at Regions). If not, there are hundreds of different ways to take a stand for life. Some defend it in our courts or legislature, others on the sidewalk, others through education, others at Crisis Pregnancy centers, others through adoption agencies, others in post-abortion healing ministries. And all of us have a chance to support it at the ballot box.
Let’s work toward cures for childhood diseases, but in doing so, let’s also try our best to also save the lives of all those kids who are not sick.
Copyright 2009 Libby DuPont