The Sixth Street Bridge

The Sixth Street Bridge
At the tender age of 17, I walked across this bridge, alone, into Downtown Pittsburgh, with $300 in my pocket that my mother had given me to get an abortion. I went into the Fulton Building (in the picture) and did what I was told to do. I didn't have a choice - if I did, I wouldn't have chosen abortion.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Need a little inspiration to go back to Mass? Here's some. You're welcome. Wow.

One of my favorites...

If it weren't for my Journey - one thing I would definitely not have now is my new found love of the Bible, the Word, Scripture, the Gospel - I'm still not sure what the proper terminology is and I find it quite difficult to talk about in some intelligent sounding fashion.  But, I have read more of it in the last three years or so than in my entire lifetime.  I am no scripture scholar - if anything, I'm a preschooler when it comes to any kind of study of it, but I have gathered a list of favorite readings, snippets, verses, etc.

I'm completely in love with the Gospel of Luke and today's reading is one I've read countless times.  I just can't seem to get enough of it.  Could you imagine?  I mean really try to picture it in your mind if you were this woman?   Though these days, I'm trying harder to imagine what she must have felt like after she stood up, with her sins forgiven, and went home. I just love reading it over and over again.  I think this may be the first thing I do when I get to Heaven.

I love this clip from Jesus of Nazareth too - I love how she pushes her way in through all the men and falls before Him.  And he's so loving and tender toward her.  It's probably the first time any man has done or said anything kind to her and he wants nothing from her, at least not what every other man in her life has wanted.  I'll probably read it twenty more times before I go to sleep tonight now.

Today's Gospel, Luke 7:36-50.
A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him,
and he entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at table.
Now there was a sinful woman in the city
who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee.
Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment,
she stood behind him at his feet weeping
and began to bathe his feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair,
kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself,
"If this man were a prophet,
he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him,
that she is a sinner."
Jesus said to him in reply,
"Simon, I have something to say to you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said.
"Two people were in debt to a certain creditor;
one owed five hundred days' wages and the other owed fifty.
Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both.
Which of them will love him more?"
Simon said in reply,
"The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven."
He said to him, "You have judged rightly."
Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon,
"Do you see this woman?
When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet,
but she has bathed them with her tears
and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss,
but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered.
You did not anoint my head with oil,
but she anointed my feet with ointment.
So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven;
hence, she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little."
He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
The others at table said to themselves,
"Who is this who even forgives sins?"
But he said to the woman,
"Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A guest writer - A Father's Postabortion Journey...

A few days ago, I received an email regarding my post of August 22.  In the email, the writer expressed the following:


I read your Aug. 22 post last night. I urged my fiance to get an abortion in 1986. I struggle with it to this day. I would like to write something from the father's point of view - something I haven't read in all my traipsing through the internet on this issue...[oh - I am going to fix that for you ASAP - keep checking your inbox!] I'm reaching out because your post of Aug 22 is one of the more honest and powerful I've read. Thanks for your time.

I immediately told my hubby about the email, first because it was a man who was reaching out to me and that's just how our marriage works, and second because I wasn't sure if I was even capable of doing what this wounded soul needed. After a little discussion, I decided that his story needed to be told, all of these stories need to be told, in whatever way they can.  Thank you, Lord, for considering me a worthy and, hopefully, effective messenger. 

So many, many of his words, feelings, and pain rang true for me as I read them.  Yes, abortion is and would be different for the mothers and fathers who suffer from the pain of having had one, but there is also so much in common - the guilt, the unworthiness, the searching for condemnation, the despair, the secrecy, the shame, the waiting for the other shoe to drop, the knowledge that the feelings will never be gone. You may learn to live your life with them, allowing the grief, without having it destroy you from the inside, but until you get to that point, the pain can be unbearable at times and all the time. 

So, a Father's Postabortion Journey...

I am a reasonably well-adjusted man in my upper 40’s, married (2nd marriage, recognized by the Church), with 4 children.  I consider myself lucky in that the three older ones (older than 16) have never rebelled, never had issues with drugs or alcohol or any kind of trouble.  I have a younger child who is 9.  They are the joys of my life.

But, in all of this is a nagging, inescapable cloud.  The cloud of abortion. 

As I’m sure it is with many people, I have never discussed it with anyone that I know.  My current wife knows about it.  IF someone else knows about it, they’ve never let on.  

I was raised Catholic, although there was no evidence of it in the home.  I went to CCD, then Catholic school, and even a couple of years for high school before finishing up and graduating from a public high school.  Mine was the typical mid-70’s Catholic education:  the Faith was composed of being kind to animals, recycling, and giving to the poor.  

As is the norm with everyone my age, once I got out of school, I had no time for Church.  I lived it up, partied, and ran around having a good time.  I eventually found myself engaged to be married.  I was 22, she was 20.  Neither of us had any use for the Church at the time (she wasn’t Catholic anyway).  

A month before the wedding, she called me to tell me the news.  She was pregnant.  I remember saying something to the effect of “We can’t do this,” meaning we “can’t” have a baby.  It was that cut and dry.  Within two weeks, I drove her to a place in Alexandria, VA to have “it” done.  I do not remember going in with her.  I don’t remember leaving. I don’t remember anything after driving up to the building.  It’s not something I can explain, I simply do not remember anything else about that day.  I don’t even remember what the date was.  I only know that it was late May in 1986.

I don’t remember being particularly bothered by it, though I know she was.  After we married, she didn’t like watching anything about babies on television.  I sympathized, but it wasn’t something I could grasp at the time.

The “cloud” didn’t really form until after the birth of our child in late 1987.  Then, and only then, did the reality of what I’d done begin to set in.  Although we never discussed it, I’m sure that if I’d have said “Let’s have the baby” in 1986, we would have had that baby.  I take full responsibility for what happened. 

The marriage didn’t last and we split in 1990.  

In the 90’s, I married again and had two more children.  In the middle of all that, the pull of the Faith started working on me.  It started slowly, originally being just a pull to “get back to Church”.  It didn’t even have to be a Catholic church, although anything other than a Baptist church was out of the question.

During that time, I listened to “Focus of the Family” radio programs with Dr. Dobson.  Over the course of a week, they aired the audio to the short film “Tilly.”  That had me pulling over before getting to work and crying my eyes out in a bank parking lot.  I’ve never told my wife about that week, and haven’t shared how I feel these days, mainly because things that are shared become weapons used against you.  So it’s best to remain quiet.

Eventually, and over the objections of my wife, I came back to the Church.  I got to a point where I knew that there was nothing the Protestants could offer me that wasn’t already provided by our Catholic Faith.  I returned, confessed all my sins, and was restored.  But still…

During my confession, I pretty much laid bare my sins.  But ask me today, and I cannot specifically remember confessing the abortion.  I can’t imagine that I hadn’t confessed it, but for some reason, can’t remember doing so specifically.  I often feel that I should go back and confess that, even if it’s something that’s already been covered.  You can’t be too safe.

As I stated, there remains to this day that “cloud.”  

It’s not something that I can discuss with my wife;  it’s not something I can confide to a friend; it’s not something I could bring myself to tell my father about.  

I am dedicated to my children, two of whom are adults now.  I miss terribly having a “little one” around, because, as any father knows, you’re the most perfect man in the world until your kids grow up a little and realize that you’re not.  I mentioned once that my kids are my “redemption,” meaning that each one of them represented for me a chance to “make up” for the abortion.  (Of course, I didn’t explain what I meant by “redemption.”)  The truth is that you can never “make up” for an abortion.  You never get over it, and for me, there’s the idea that I don’t deserve to get over it.  I deserve every feeling of discomfort and uneasiness.  There’s also the guilty feeling that there’s no way I deserve to have the 4 wonderful children I have.  How does a man who kills his baby deserve to have children who don’t rebel against him, or reject him, or butt heads with him?  How does God say, “Hey, I know you killed the first one I sent to you, but here are 4 more that will be the greatest blessing you’ll ever have.”  Thinking of how good they are to their old father makes me think that I have no business being happy or receiving their love and devotion.  I deserve nothing but pain and rejection due to the pain and rejection I inflicted on the person that would have been – was – my first child.  How do you reconcile the good father that I am, by everyone’s estimation, with what I know the truth to be?  Sure I’m a good father, but not because I’m a good person.  I believe that I’m a good father because each one of my kids has been a gift from God and an opportunity to “offset” the horror of the abortion.  

Do I deserve to “get over” it?  I don’t think so.  It’s almost like it’s my cross to carry around or my own thorn to suffer through.    Lay my sin at the foot of the Cross, you say?  What business do I have dropping my sin off on Him and walking away with peace of mind?  I know that many of us deal with this issue in different ways; some can find a bit of peace, although I know you don’t actually “get over” it.  I feel that in keeping my “thorn,”  it keeps me closer to Him.  Whatever “suffering” I have over this is what I can offer Him until my time on Earth is through. 

I am really and truly horrible at prayer, but I keep trying, but I will ask for my readers' help in prayers for this man, a beloved child of God, who so desperately needs to seek out and bask in His love and mercy.

I pray that he seek out good counsel to wade through all of his pain and sorrow to find what exists on the other side. I pray that counseling will allow him to chip away at the memories and bring to the surface anything that needs to be talked about and brought into the light from the darkness where it has resided for so long - too long. I pray that he be able to finally grieve for his lost child in a way that he hasn't ever been able to so that healing may begin.  I pray that he comes to understand and accept responsibility for what he is responsible for and not carry guilt for things that weren't and aren't his responsibility.  I pray that if he does come to share his pain with his wife that she be loving and understanding and fulfill her vows to love, honor, and cherish him. I pray that this beloved son of the Father comes to realize that he is so much more than this one thing, this abortion, and that You want so much more from him than sorrow and despair and that you have showered the blessings you have upon him because in Your eyes he is a precious creation made in Your image. I pray that he find his way to You in confession if that is Your Will and that the Good Father to whom he may appear speaks your words with patience and love. And finally, Lord, I pray that this wounded son of Yours finds your love and mercy so fulfilling, joyful, and awesome, that he abandons all of the self punishment and feelings of unworthiness and chooses, instead, to live joyfully and peacefully.

Finally, Dear Lord, I pray, that he come to know his child who now resides with You and that he come to know that neither You nor his child want to see him continue to suffer in pain.

I welcome any of my readers to comment here and speak to my guest writer or if you email me any messages, I will forward them on to him. Finally, I will be pestering my guest writer with any and all information and resources that I can find, the first being the link to Rachel's Vineyard who ministers to Fathers who have lost a child to abortion - The Rachel's Vineyard Men's Page.