As published originally on LifeNews on June 17, 2013
One by one, abortion clinics across the U.S. are closing. (Insert applause here). I was blessed to take part in a memorial service on Saturday, June 15th at one such clinic, The American Family Planning (AFP) Clinic in Dearborn, Michigan.
For any pro-lifer, standing outside of a clinic that has been closed is, as Dr. Monica Miller, Director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, called it, ‘bittersweet.’ Sweet, because we know that no more lives will be lost in that clinic and no more lives will be traumatically impacted by it. Bitter, of course, because we recognize that thousands of children have lost their lives within it and that thousands of lives were forever changed as a result of that loss.
Well over fifty individuals gathered together on the blacktop parking lot of AFP, singing hymns, praying, and listening to speakers ranging from area clergy to sidewalk counselors like those from Guadalupe Partners, who co-sponsored the service with Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, from faithful prayer warriors to women who ultimately chose life for their children as a result of their efforts. I was truly blessed to be a part of this service that honored the children who lost their lives to abortion over the past twenty years at AFP.
As I laid my hand on the peeled white paint of the run-down building on Schaefer Road during the service, I was deeply impacted by the realization that thousands of children had lost their lives in that now-deserted building, and that my fate should have been just as theirs. I know that I can never truly communicate what it feels like to be the survivor of a failed abortion, but as I stood there with the bright light of the sun bearing down on me, my hand plastered to the wall of AFP, prayers crossing my lips and tears blinding my eyes, if you had happened to be there, I think that you could have gotten a glimpse of what it feels like to be me. It feels humbling and surreal. It feels both excruciatingly painful and yet full of purpose and yes, joy. My joy comes from simply being alive.
If I could sum up what it felt like to be at this memorial service honoring the lives of my pre-born brothers and sisters, who suffered a fate far worse than me, it would be with these two words: Humbling and surreal.
If I could sum up what it felt like to be in the presence of individuals and organizations who faithfully prayed and counseled outside of AFP over the past two decades, including one faithful counselor, Chris, who had been present outside of the clinic EVERY DAY, rain or shine, snow or extreme heat, for the past ELEVEN YEARS, (ELEVEN!!) it would be with those two words: Humbling and surreal. If I could sum up what it felt like to look at the CLOSED sign on the door, the spot next to the building where the dumpster used to sit, that now lies empty, it would be with these two words: Humbling and surreal.As humbling and surreal, even as painful as it was for me to take part in this memorial service because of how close all of it hits home for me as a survivor (because it always does, and it always will, no matter how many times I do this), I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have taken part in it.
I needed to take part in it, and dare I say, I believe that you do, too, should the opportunity arise. I am not one to take life for granted, but I’ll be honest. I have some days where I wish that the cross that I have to bear as a survivor wasn’t quite so heavy. One touch of my hand on the brick of the American Family Clinic, however, reminded me that my cross to bear is light in comparison to that of many, and that God has asked me to pick up this cross and carry it for millions of children who depend upon me, on earth and in Heaven. As my hand rested upon the clinic during the service, it felt as if my purpose was magnified.
As Pastor Claude Maye shared during the memorial, each of us has a responsibility for life with the life that we are given. I look forward to the news each day of more abortion clinics closing, for the sake of children, for the sake of women, for the sake of families and ultimately our communities and world. But I also look forward to these closings for the opportunities that it will provide you in honoring those whose lives have been lost, those whose lives have been forever changed, those whose lives have thankfully been spared, and in praying for those whose lives have yet to experience repentance, including abortionists, clinic workers and those who have taken part in an abortion decision being made. Just as my purpose was magnified by taking part in the service, and my heart was widened with all that I
experienced with the pro-life community in Dearborn, I have no doubt that given the opportunity, you will experience likewise.
And dare I say, you deserve it, too.