*While this is not my personal story, it's one that I have seen played out many times. I'm writing this, not to be controversial, but as a call to examine our hearts and our attitudes toward these women. While I am pro-life, I am more passionately pro-grace. I have never had an abortion, but I will attempt in this post to step into the shoes of a woman who has. I hope that you will read this prayerfully, and without interjecting assumptions or irrelevant political crap. Open your mind, examine your heart.*
|Image by David Hayward|
The door bursts open, almost falling off its hinges as it slams into the wall. The light forces its way in as my eyes struggle to adjust, and my brain grasps for understanding. Two sets of hands grab me and tear me from my bed. Terrified, I sort through the scattered images of the night before but come up with nothing. What have I done, who are these men? The ground scrapes across my knees as I'm dragged outside and forced into the backseat of a car. I hear my voice pleading for answers, yet I feel no connection to it. It's as though I'm outside of my body. Their silence panics me, and I begin to gasp for air.
The car slows to a stop.
A crowd is gathered.
Are they here for me?
The hands grab me again.
I try to scream but fear clenches my vocal chords. Resisting in vain my body is jerked from the car and carried through the crowd. I hang my head as low as I can, too afraid to look up and risk seeing familiar eyes, but I cannot free my arms in order to shield my ears. It begins as a murmur, but soon the handful of voices are joined by the masses, and the crowd begins to roar.
Each lashing from their tongues cuts through my flesh like a whip. How did I get here, I wonder. Just then a shower of earth is kicked into my face, and I remember the first domino. That desperate hour when hope was just a pipe dream, and options were a thing of the past. As I watched it tilt and fall, I knew even then that the reaction was inevitable, as would be the final outcome. If I went down that road, if I took that first step, there would be no turning back.
I am brought back to reality when the hands release me and my body collides with the dusty ground. Pulling my knees up under my body, I hunch over until my nose is touching the earth, and will my heart to stop beating. Humiliation is mounting as the case against me begins.
“Teacher, this woman is a whore and a murderer. She killed her own baby last year, and now she’s going to do it again. The law says, ‘An eye for an eye,’ what do you say?"
The burden of guilt crushes me.
The weight almost too much to bear.
My body slumps even lower to the ground.
The pieces come together.
The threats had been coming in for weeks, and now we are at fruition. I don’t dare look up to see His face, though I am suddenly acutely aware of his presence. I recall the stories from the news, and the invitations from friends to go and hear him speak. Oh how I wanted to go, but the shame held me back. At all cost I sought to avoid him, and now here I am, awaiting his inevitable judgement. I wrap my arms around my belly and put my face to the ground, no longer able to hold back the sobs, a pool of remorse forms where my tears fall.
My baby. Fear suffocates me as the words form on my lips. I long for the one I aborted, yet I still see no other choice for this one. “An eye for an eye” seems fair. I quiet my sobs and await my sentence, but hear nothing. From the corner of my eye I see that the Man has knelt down beside me. Just his nearness exudes warmth. I realize that he is writing something in the dust. I can’t make out the words, but I feel their significance as the gasps ripple through the crowd.
Standing to his feet I hear Him say, “This woman has sinned. Whichever of you has not, step forward and be her judge.”
Something floods through me. Fear? No, that’s too familiar, this is something new. My body somehow feels lighter. And then I hear it. One by one the gavels drop. I hear footsteps retreating. Whispers cease. The ground shudders under the weight of their conviction, and relief begins to flow through me. Still, my posture doesn’t change, until I see them.
Two feet standing right in front of me. I am overwhelmed with a need to touch them. Hesitantly I reach out my hands, first one and then the other, and grasp the tops of the weathered feet. And for the first time since that door burst open, I exhale. Kneeling down in front of me, He places his hands on my shoulders and lifts me up so I am looking at his face.
His eyes smile at me and he asks, “Where did everybody go? Is there no one left to judge you?” I shake my head slowly and whisper, “No, Lord, they all left.” Unable to hold his gaze I look back to the ground, remembering my shame, I become my own judge. But he quickly lifts my chin, and when he does I realize what this new feeling is. It isn't fear or desperation. It is hope. I have hope!
It is in his eyes, in his words, and in his touch. It surges through me and all panic and uncertainty disappear. Suddenly He reaches over and places his hand on my belly, and says, “Go, and sin no more.” Right then I feel something leap inside me.
“My baby!” I gasp. It is the first time I have let the words come past my lips, and tears fill my eyes at the sound. For the first time since I started down this road I think: It is not too late for me. He helps me to my feet, and with his words now planted in my heart, I take the first step down a new road.
A road paved, not with desperation, or fear, or shame, but with grace.