01 October 2008

Musings...Changes

Life is full of peaks and valleys. I can see it in friendships. I can see it in my kids. I can see it in my faith. I have been a practicing Catholic my entire life, and am very happy to be one. I love my faith. I am saddened to see anyone, especially people I love, fall away from that faith. I have seen family members and friends leave the Church, sometimes very vocally, sometimes not, but when they leave, it fills me with sadness.



I notice in my life that my faith will hit these points where it is like I am hitting a wall. I get these reminders that I am not doing enough. I feel like I am getting that message with my blog. Slowly, but surely, I feel like I am being asked to do more. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy writing about my family and about the general rants and ravings I have going on, and those won't stop, but I feel like I am being called to write more things of substance. My faith and my beliefs are such an important part of who I am, and I feel like I need to write about that.



I think what worries me is that I feel like I have made friends out here in the blogosphere, but by cutting off this part of me, I am not being honest about myself. That is my fear. I can see it when I post about political or pro-life issues. I don't have as many comments. The silence speaks volumes. That being said, I feel that I need to share these things from time to time.



This is one of those times. I want to share a post I wrote last December. It speaks about me and it speaks about the pro-life issue. The reason I am re-posting this is because we are in another election year, and this is an important issue. Here it is:

Quite often I am pegged in the six pack (I admit sometimes I am the one who does the pegging) as the misfit, as the conservative one, the one who doesn't think the way everyone else does. I decided it is time to do some musings on what makes me, well, me.

When we decided to do some writing and see what we came up with, I did give some thought to how it is that the six of us have remained friends for so long when, quite often, in many ways, we are drastically different. I have always said that women are their own worst enemy. I truly believe this to be the case. Women are critical about everything: how we look, what we believe in, working mom vs. stay-at-home mom, breast-feeder vs. bottle-feeder just to name a few. I had never really thought I was so different as a female growing up, even in those difficult teen years. It was when I had just graduated from college that I really began to feel the pressure of how different we, as women, can be...

The year was 1992. I had just graduated from the University of Dallas, a very conservative Catholic school. I had spent most of my college years involved being involved in college politics. I was a member of College Republicans, Crusaders for Life, as well as co-chair of Young Conservatives of Texas, UD chapter. I went out praying in front of abortion clinics, even marched at the pro-life rally in D.C. in 1991 on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It was an incredible experience, and I was surrounded by people, including many strong women who felt just like me. Then I came home after graduation and reconnected with my high school friends, and I discovered how it feels when people, particularly women, don't believe in what you do.

1992 was an election year. Bush (41) was up for re-election. A relative unknown named Bill Clinton was seeking the presidency as well. I was at dinner with friends, and the election came up. I said I was voting for Bush. It never occurred to me that these women I had known for so many years (8 at the time) could possibly vote any differently. "How can you not be voting pro-life?" I asked. (I do realize that this is not the only issue, but this was and is still a big one for me) "You're a woman! How can you not be pro-choice?" was the response I received. I was absolutely dumbfounded...how could this be? Why don't they think the way I do? How can I change their mind? How can they be my friends?

You see, I used to take politics very personally. I used to feel slighted if someone didn't feel the way I do. I came to realize that I would live a very anxiety ridden life if I continued to feel this way. I do, at this point in my life, feel both compelled and not at all apologetic for my beliefs. So, it is at this point that I can explain why I am not pro-abortion, but instead 100% pro-life. I am putting it all here in black and white for you to read. Not to start an argument, but to help explain who I am and what I believe.

I do believe that life begins at conception, that God gives each of us a soul from the moment that little sperm hooks up with an egg. That is the core of my belief, and because of it I feel there is no possible reason to end that life. There is always another option. There have been many experiences in my life that have solidified this thought for me.

When I was in college, I was diagnosed as rupturing ovarian cysts. This was very painful, but the more important issue was that there was a possibility that I could not have children due to the scarring that would occur from this. I would stand outside of abortion clinics on Saturday mornings praying the rosary for the women who would go there that day that they would have a change of heart. I knew that there were other women who definitely could not have children and would love the opportunity to adopt the baby they were carrying.

In my senior year of college, I decided to look at the abortion issue from another dimension. I was a psychology major and had to write a thesis on a given topic. I set out to study the psychological effect abortion has on a woman. This was a year long project that involved interviewing women who had had an abortion. These women suffered for years with the guilt of what they had done. Many turned to drugs and alcohol and hit rock bottom. It wasn't until they had gone through intensive counseling that they could deal with their pain. To me, this is one of the biggest disservices that the women's movement has done. They tell you it is your body, your choice, but they don't tell you you're going to feel like crap emotionally for a very long time, if not forever. A couple of years ago, I actually had a friend tell me about her abortion 20 years after she had it and about how bad she still felt. In the end, I never felt it was her choice, but one her parents and boyfriend foisted upon her.

Last, and probably most importantly, I think that becoming a mother made me pro-life in a way that no other experience could. I love these new commercials by the Veritas Society with the very early pictures of babies in the womb. I don't think I can begin to describe in words how carrying a baby makes me feel, but I will try. I, as a woman, as a mother, have been given such a special privilege to not only create life (with the help of God and my husband :) ), but to feel that baby develop and grow inside me. There is nothing like seeing the heart beat at that very early ultrasound, or even better, hearing it! There is nothing like feeling the baby kick for the first time. We are so blessed as women to be able to do this important job of carrying, and developing that new life in-utero. It is so special and so important that I do firmly believe that to end that life is not only detrimental to the baby, but also to the woman. There is always another option!So, ladies, this is where my entry ends. I was finally able to answer the question posed to me 15 years ago.

These are my beliefs, and I am proud of them. I also feel secure enough in myself and in our friendship to be able to explain to you.

10 comments:

Outnumbered2to1 said...

This was a beautifully written post. I agree.

Susie said...

We don't talk about faith and politics because we were there when you were taking these things very personally. So, we have learned that in order to not hurt your feelings we avoid these topics.

Gramma 2 Many said...

Therese, you are an incredible writer. This gives me chills. I am always dumbfounded by people and especially Catholic people (I was raised Catholic) who will vote for the Democratic candidate. Because of what the Democratic Party stands for and what Catholicism once taught. I feel the mainline Catholic church has become so very liberal it is almost an abomination to God. I know and understand that there are scores and scores of praticing Catholics that are still very conservative in their thought, but we do not see them. We see the radical leftist Catholic priests without any souls who claim to represent the Catholic faith. Stay strong in your belief and NEVER apologize for loving the Lord and all that He stands for. I love you so much for it.

Kim H. said...

Found my way to you from "A Wink and a Smile"....

I thought it was a great post - I got to see a glipse of who you really are and I loved it. You are someone who stands up for the littlest and most innocent - and you're not afraid to say what you know is true - life begins at the moment of conception and there are other options. Period.

Girl, I so have that same group of friends. You're meant to be there - only God knows the exact reason why! :)

I'll pop by again soon!
Hugs!

Hope Alexander said...

So sincere and beautiful, just like you!! Hope

Cassie said...

I am so so sorry to say that I used to be pro-choice. That is no longer, but most of my old friends still are. It is very difficult to be the one who has changed and also to watch them not accept the reality of life at conception. Many of my friends have had abortions. I only have one who admits she regrets it and I had the honor of holding her hand before her first time going into the confessional to confess it. She came out with such a weight lifted! What a gift he Lord gives us in Reconciliation. But most of my friends who have done this just have a chip on their shoulder. And, like you, becoming a mother was such an eye opener too. They give you all those charts showing you exactly what's happening and you participte in the whole gift of creation from begining to end. That's one thing I'll never understand. Most of the women I know who still think they have, and had, every right to choose abortion, are mothers now and have experienced the same gift of creation! It's mind boggling. Well, I am rambling, but your post touched me because I related a bit to the feeling of being different. And like you, I started out to do something different with my blog, but have felt called to do more. I think God is gathering in his children and calling out for our witness in this election year. We are on the brink of "change" for sure! Bless you for this beautiful, heartfelt, post!

airingdirtylaundry said...

Amen!

So beautifully written and well-expressed.

Sydney said...

Brava for being yourself, and letting your faith hang out. It's a huge part of who you are, and nothing to be embarrassed or to apologize for.

Shannon said...

I say good for you... this is your blog, you should feel free to write about whatever you want to! This was well-written and you can tell by reading this that this is something you feel passionately about... not something you should hide from!

momto5minnies said...

I am someone who doesn't talk enough about my faith or feels brave enough to speak politically. I think as time has gone by I get just a bit braver.

This was a really good post ... words from the heart!