Monthly Archives: December 2008

The Sarcastic Shirt

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2008 01:34 PM, CDT

We were out with Isaac the other day. He was playing and I was feeling lonely for him that Peter was not there to join in the fun. Just then, a girl about 8 years old walked by in a T-shirt that read, “Brother for Sale. No price too low.” I wanted to cry.

I know that people who allow their children to wear such clothing are “just kidding”. But I was tempted to take Brad’s half-serious suggestion to actually offer to buy their kid. “Hi. My son is a really good brother, but both his siblings died before they were old enough to play with him. If you don’t want your son, I would gladly give you the balance of my son’s estate account for him!”

It reminds me of a news story a few months after Peter died. Another baby found in a dumpster. If only that desperate woman had known how many other families would be overjoyed to care for her baby! A girl’s sarcastic shirt is not infanticide, I know. But they both have roots in the culture of death. A cheapening of life. Taking people for granted.

I wish I could say that my grief has taken away all my sin and bad habits in this area. It has not! It has started to grow in me more appreciation, though, for my loved ones.

Since Gianna’s death, several people have told us that they have been taking stock of their own lives, asking why such tragedy has not touched them. What a blessing. In no way do we want anyone to feel guilty that their own children are healthy (isn’t it our desire that all children would be?). But it honors Peter and Gianna when other families listen a little more closely, face late night feedings with a little more patience, or hug a little tighter and longer. Just as cheapening of life deepens our grief, so does the cherishing of life lighten it.

We pray that our little baby saints would help mommy and daddy be the first to live in appreciation for the people we have been given.

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Elephant in the Living Room

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2008 07:42 PM, CDT

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.

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A new “home”

Well, for those of you who have been encouraging me to move up to a blog, you have been heard.  Now I have a blog.  I feel like I’ve moved, though, and am scrambling through boxes trying to find my can opener.  Considering I couldn’t find my can opener even in my well-settled homestead, though, it may take me a little while to figure out how to make my new “home” do what I want it to do.

Anyway, I am excited for this new format to allow me to share thoughts on more than just grief and suffering (though who can get enough of that??).  Thanks for your patience and prayers and encouragement!

The “about” section has some stuff on it, too, including the reference to the name of the blog.


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