Once precious Polly and I return from our morning walk, I make us breakfast. While I am eating my breakfast, I read a daily devotional from The Word in Season, published by Augsburg Fortress.
Each day’s entry consists of one main Bible scripture, followed by a short homily, a prayer, a prayer concern, and two or three additional related scriptures.
Today’s scripture was Psalm 23 with particular attention to verse 5:
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Pastor Jennifer M. Ginn wrote:
Imagine a lavish table set just for you, with gleaming dinnerware and luscious food. You feel blessed! But wait, you’ve got company! Your enemies have watched this table being prepared. Before you pick up your fork, you look them in the face, remembering how dangerous it can be to turn your back on enemies. Psalm 23, beloved across the church, has always comforted but never before challenged me. Now it does, as I am reminded every day that my table is set by the Lord.
Little did I know how relevant this would be to me when I signed onto Facebook later in the morning.
I came across a meme on a friend’s page that stated the following:
If it (pro-life) was about babies, we’d have excellent and free universal maternal care. You wouldn’t be charged a cent to give birth, no matter how complicated your delivery was. If it was about babies, we’d have months and months of parental leave, for everyone.
If it was about babies, we’d have free lactation consultants, free diapers, free formula. If it was about babies, we’d have free and excellent childcare from newborns on. If it was about babies, we’d have universal preschool and pre-k and guaranteed after school placements. (Posted by Leila Cohan @leilachoan)
On another day, I had seen this post while scrolling through my newsfeed but had some second thoughts about sharing it on my FB page.
This time I added my heart emoji to the collection of ‘likes’ and ‘loves’ it had already received. As I scrolled down the short list of comments, I came across the following:
“It’s about babies getting a chance at life. Period.”
Seconds turned into minutes as I sat staring at that comment … heart pounding.
Is this what Pastor Ginn meant? Is this person my enemy? I do not even know the commentor. Up to this point, all I know of this person is that we share a mutual friend on FB. Do I respond? If so, how? What could I possibly say that would make an impression, let alone change this person’s mind and/or heart?
While doing some research for another blog I was going to write, I came across an Insider article with the headline: Homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant women in the United States, a new study found
… a very startling article to read!
You guessed it … I copied and pasted the link to the article as my reply to this person.
And this person’s response: “I’m sorry, your point is?”
… was almost my response. I confess I did get a little snarky and replied: “You just made it.” To which this person stated: “so clever.”
With Pastor Ginn’s devotional percolating in my spirit and soul, I wrote the following to my “enemy:”
“If I have offended you with my words or my pro-choice beliefs, I sincerely apologize. For me Pro-life should mean to be pro-Love and I just don’t see legislating away the autonomy a woman has over her own body as a loving action–which I believe is part–or possibly the whole–point of the posted meme and my response–both article and above comment. And I’m sure you don’t see abortion as a loving action. On this issue, we will have to agree to disagree.”
Here’s the thing, I doubt there is anything I could say that would change this person’s rigid, hard-line beliefs, but is this person really my enemy? As a pro-choice advocate myself, are pro-life proponents my enemy? As a progressive socialist democrat, are MAGA republicans my enemy? Since I am a white, cisgender, heterosexual woman, are the BLM and/or LGBTQIA folks my enemy? Who is my enemy? Or am I the enemy?
Perhaps this is the point of Psalm 23 verse five, that when we look at anyone as “other,” we become the enemy. Getting stuck in the mire of otherness is to believe in the belief of separation—that any one of us is separate from God or each other. There is no ‘other’ because there is no separation from the Divine.
This wonderfully diverse universe–everyone and everything–is woven together with and in God’s truth, beauty and love which, much like the net that held the 153 fish (see John 21), cannot be torn.
Lastly, you may think a post-menopausal woman has no stake in the abortion issue. You would be wrong!
As of this writing, I have three beautiful granddaughters and I cannot even begin to imagine the trauma they would endure if they were forced to give birth to an unwanted child, especially if the pregnancy had been due to rape and/or would endanger their health in any way.
“Your mother. Your daughter. Your sister. Her choice.” (“Grandfathers for Yes” campaign of Ireland)
To that end, I offer the following unsolicited wisdom to my grandchildren:
My dear grandsons, when a woman says no, she means NO! Take a cold shower!
My dear granddaughters, if a man will not take NO for an answer, kick him in the fucking* nuts!
*If my use of profanity has offended you, then you obviously do not know the sweet contextual ecstasy of using expletives correctly.