Today was a somber day on the sidewalk.
My friend and I showed up late because we wanted to watch Hillary Clinton’s concession speech; we wanted to see the unfolding of history that had begun the night before in its continuation.
We sat together in my office, taking in every word of a woman who tried very hard, but according to the electorate vote, did not quite reach the White House she so sought. I felt she did a gracious job in her concession speech. It was good to hear her words inviting America to come together — a call for healing.
My husband and I stayed up late watching the monumental turnaround of the Trump campaign. Though I’ve been reluctant about Trump, in the end, when it came down to what the Republicans and Democrats stand for in terms of life, I had to hedge my bets on a man who, though he exhibits more pride than I feel comfortable with and has made some wrong turns along the way, I’m ready to stand behind, with his party, pray for, and be hopeful about.
For me, this election really came down to the cause of life — from conception to natural death. And it went beyond Donald Trump. I won’t argue my points now; there will be plenty of time for that. But I will say that for eight years, I’ve felt our pro-life voices shut down. Now, it seems, there might be an opening for what we have been so diligently trying to illumine for so long.
It’s not a time to gloat. We in the pro-life movement understand the sting of disappointment, and we know that many hurdles lie ahead. But do we feel our prayers have been answered in part? Yes, a resounding yes.
I cannot avoid writing about this as I share about what happened on the sidewalk today, because the two are entwined. Today, the escorts of our state’s lone abortion facility were in mourning. As new ones arrived to take up their post, there were hugs, long and felt, tears, and words of condolence. It was not a happy day for those who support abortion, for those whose voices have been loud and chalk drawings bold. Emotions were evident, behind the seething facial expressions, and sometimes, in watery eyes.
But the escorts were not the only ones grieving today. Each week, those of us who see life as sacred shed quiet tears. Each week, women whose babies are forever separated from them by a grave act weep behind closed doors. And if they don’t cry immediately, eventually, the emotions come. I’ve talked to enough of these women to know their pain goes deep.
So perhaps you could say that in some ways, we were all united today; the escorts’ tears over disappointing election results mixed with our tears over the fact that the scourge of abortion even exists. And all of us, in some ways, let our tears drop down over the abuse, relationship breaches, soul scars, poverty and addiction which often go hand in hand with abortion.
Abortion is a sign that something is very wrong, that we have lost our way. It is not an indication that something has gone right. It is something to mourn not celebrate. As such, our time on the sidewalk praying is not in protest of the women, but of the ills that have infected us to such a degree that we’ve come to lie to ourselves that this is a choice.
On Tuesday afternoon of Election Day, a friend of mine, predicting a Hillary win, said that though we may not agree on the candidates, it was going to be a great day for women and girls. I didn’t respond, knowing she fully expected a Clinton presidency, and that it was too early to say. But now that the results are in, I can agree that yes, it was not only a great day for women and girls, but children of both genders who will now have a better chance of being recognized as valuable, not just because of their gender, but because they exist at all.
There is a feeling of elation mixed with bitterness in the air. Though many celebrate, many others are hurt over last night’s election outcome. I am not about to taunt them. They feel as deeply about abortion as a choice as we pro-lifers do about promoting life. I understand passionate feelings, and I understand what it feels like for hopes to be dashed. I understand fighting for a cause and then feeling it slip away.
I hope, however, that this might be a small beginning of a renewed attempt to talk to one another and try to understand, and come together, as Hillary Clinton has made an appeal for. I don’t see any other way through the divisiveness of this nation than to pray and hope for unity.
On some level, we all have good reason to be sad today, even if for different reasons. We all have hearts that are breaking, because we are human together. “May our tears be turned into dancing” someday soon, “for the Lord, our light and our love, can turn the night into day.” And I feel ever more confident now that he will.
Peace be with you, as always…