As I mentioned yesterday, on Friday, I was at the Rally for Religious Freedom.
While I was there, watching Baby J toddle in the landscaping, I saw someone I know.
In my head, I was puzzling out, "Do I know her? Could it be her? That lady who works at that place that I go to all the time? That woman who knows all my kids by name?"
I've never seen her in sunglasses and shorts before.
I've never seen her wearing that t-shirt...that says, "I Regret My Abortion."
Oh. My. God.
And it all clicked. I did know this woman. I have known her for years. But I did not KNOW...about her abortion.
That year on the front of her shirt, it must be the year it happened, and that name on the back, must be the name she has given to her little lost baby.
And in those few seconds, I'm afraid that my face betrayed confusion, and puzzlement, and maybe....I'm ashamed to say it...horror.
She saw me, and she walked away.
I don't know anyone who has had an abortion. Or rather, I didn't know that I know someone who has had an abortion.
When they read those petitions at Mass, "For the men and women who struggle with the effects of abortion..." those men and women were faceless to me.
But now, those men and women make me feel ashamed. Ashamed that I had not acknowledged their pain and guilt and suffering and torment, a torment so great that you would give public witness to your sin in order to prevent someone else from making the same choice. Ashamed, that I could ever think that the people I know...that we are not the kind of people who would have done that.
I am such an ass.
One thing I am very talented at is sinning, as evidenced above. I have had a lifetime of
practice, and while my sins are many and great, the thought of putting
the names and dates of my sins on a t-shirt and wearing it in public,
makes me break into a cold sweat.
I'm ashamed that I saw this woman I know, doing this brave, brave thing, and I did not react with a hug, and a "I'm so glad you are here." Or at the very least, a hello and a "It sure is a scorcher today."
This woman, her strength of character, her act of humility, her witness to abortion and the regret she feels many, many years later, I wish I had recognized those things, when I recognized her.
Have mercy on me, Lord, a sinner.