Like much of the world recently, I was deeply saddened to see the great Notre Dame Cathedral burning. It is sad to see destruction of anything historical or culturally and religiously significant, especially something that has stood as a symbol for Centuries.
Some thoughts, or rather questions, came to me while seeing these reports. Could God have prevented this fire? Could God rebuild this great building? Then followed the greater question: Would God rebuild this building? Not the question of His ability, but Why? What would be the purpose?
Destruction of Human Creations
I have read this week, the words of our Savior about the Temple in Jerusalem being destroyed and raised again the 3rd day. (See John 2:18-21; Matthew 26:61, 27:40; Mark 14:58) We of course, know that he was not talking about the physical temple, but His own physical temple, His body.
Those who heard him however, expressed disbelief that such as magnificent structure that had taken so long to build could so easily be destroyed. We have heard other similar reactions to prophesy about destruction of great cities. History has shown us that, yes the great Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed after all.
The reality is that anything man creates out of the elements of this temporal world is impermanent and can be destroyed. As much as we, with scientific knowledge and technical skill, try to create buildings to be able to withstand earthquakes, floods, fire and wind, some still are destroyed.
The building of physical buildings and creating material objects is the work of humans. At times God has commanded His people to build Temples and other structures. Whether He could create them Himself is not the point – after all He created the mountains which served as temples. The purpose and function of a building is more important than design or beauty. Part of that purpose being the obedience and sacrifice and offerings from us mortals to create something in His name.
While living His mortal life, Jesus the carpenter built things with His hands just like we do. Jesus didn’t use His power to create material things. Instead, His mortal work dealt with individuals. He healed bodies and ministered to souls. People were the subjects of His great power, glory and love. That should be a testimony to us that we, His children, are His priority.
That morning when Jesus rose from the tomb, gives perspective to our mortal experience – to creation and destruction, to life and death.
Through His resurrection bodies and spirits can be reunited and resurrected to a perfect immortal form. Through Him broken hearts are rebuilt and damaged souls healed. Through Him we can be restored to a sinless, pure, innocent state, able to live in His presence.
Ultimately, as significant as magnificent human creations may be to us, we are more important than buildings or objects to Him – the Creator of all things.
Abortion has become a hot topic. I remember 1973 and Roe v Wade. I remember well the promise of “safe, legal and rare.” Though still legal – and I doubt that will change – the promises of “safe” and “rare” have all but disappeared entirely.
As I begin, I want to first make it clear that I have no intent, and have never had any intent, to judge or condemn any individual who has had an abortion. I feel bad for anyone who finds herself in a position to even need to consider it. It makes me sad to think any woman would feel that she had no choice. I know nothing of anyone’s individual circumstances. I will leave the matter of judgement between her and God.
My feelings are directed toward those who promote abortion – the industry and the supporting political platform. I talk of Democrats as the Political Party, not intending to judge any individuals. So, before any who identify as Democrat get all offended, know that I respect your right to your own opinion supported by whatever reasoning you accept. I am not judging or attacking you personally. But I also have a right to express my opinion and feelings and explain my position.
The numbers alone are evidence that abortion is not a rare occurrence. Sixty million babies have been aborted in the United States alone. That is staggering. There is no way that all of these were for reasons of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
Supposedly abortion is a necessary thing to help women who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances. But we all know that abortions are performed for just about any reason. Does a woman even have to provide a reason? It is her choice, after all.
In the really rare situation when a mother’s life is in danger, the solution is simply to remove the baby. This can be done through induced labor or if a real critical danger, through emergency C-Section. There is no need to poison the baby before removal or tear the baby apart in the process. If it is too soon for the baby to be viable, it will not survive. If it is viable, then a living baby is delivered and the mother’s life is saved. This was the supposed goal anyway.
If the mother’s life is truly in danger, she should be in a hospital with an operating room, trained staff, and life saving equipment. Women whose lives are in danger have no place in a clinic in a strip-mall.
The reason abortion is not rare, but rather expanding is because of it’s potential for profit and power. Conspiring women and men learned early on that legalized abortion was a huge business opportunity. It has gone from being an occasional medical procedure to a booming industry. There are profits to be made – and ways to maximize profits. Expanding circumstances in which it is allowed means more abortions and more money. Promoting it, even with lies and misconceptions convinces vulnerable women that it is the best option.
The abortion industry also found a way to make money off the “by products” by selling body parts for research. When you are dealing with an industry built on the desperation of women and the taking of innocent lives, why is it even surprising that this would not also include bending the law to maximize profits?
The money made through abortion also buys political influence, which keeps the money coming, not only through more abortions because of laws expanding criteria, but also through public heath care dollars going to their clinics.
Legalized abortion was first presented as a solution to “back alley abortions”. The danger of women dying in such horrible situations would be remedied by having abortions performed by licensed medical professionals – by real doctors – in clean, safe facilities.
If safety was a real issue – a primary issue – then abortions would only be performed in hospitals by fully trained and licensed doctors. The recent New York law would now remove the doctor. Gone are the last remaining shreds of the “between a woman and her doctor” myth. Not only can an abortion be performed by someone the woman has never seen before – who knows nothing of her medical history nor has counseled with her about things like options and potential complications – but now that person does not have to be a doctor at all. Some states do not require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital, let alone perform abortions in a hospital. Now in New York, admitting privileges don’t even enter in, if the abortionist is not an MD.
The horrors of Dr. Gosnell are no longer a rare exception, but are now legally sanctioned in New York. Where is this trend headed? Will abortions soon be performed by CNAs or lab technicians? I can almost imagine in the near future the promotion of Full-Service Spas or Salons. You can get a mani pedi, bikini wax, Botox injection, massage and abortion all in the same place.
Yes, that may seem outrageous and facetious, but the direction is key. Rather than moving toward more medical safeguards, it is moving backwards toward the “back alley” situations which legalized abortion was supposed to eliminate.
A Word about Science
I must mention the expansion of scientific knowledge and increased technology since 1973. The lies that abortion clinics have told women about simply removing “clumps of cells” which are, of course, part of “their body” have been exposed. Women can see that this is a baby inside them – with all body parts and a beating heart. DNA testing provides a clear indicator that this baby is a unique person, from conception. This is a separate body, not part of a woman’s body. A separate human being. And science has shown that not only does this unique little person move around, he or she can hear voices and sounds from outside, and can feel pain.
As much as we are told that the Democratic Party is the party of science, they disregard science in this instance, just as they have discarded “safe and rare” in the practice.
The bottom line about abortion at this point is that it is more about political power than anything else. The Democratic Party uses abortion as an indicator and as an extension of it’s political power. They take action to expand abortion rights – even in the face of sound scientific evidence contrary to their previous claims – when and because they can.
Democrats panic at the thought that Republicans and conservative Supreme Court justices might put restrictions on abortion, which they see as a threat to their power. They are making preemptive attacks to counter what they fear might come. I see the cheering after the New York law passed as their way of saying “yeah, Republicans, take that.” Gloating in that power is more important to them than the dead babies and distraught women they are tromping on in the process.
We are experiencing a war. It is a political war, but by seeing it only that way, the actual horrors of destroying human life are often ignored. I am encouraged by the Pro-life affirmations I have seen recently. Laws may not change in the direction we want, but like others, I feel a personal need to share how I see the situation and make clear where I stand.
I am fortunate to live in a place where there are seasons. I would say four, but that may not always be accurate here. Changes of seasons come with memories and feelings and expectations.
The coming of winter would be worse without the expectation of holiday celebrations. The shift from winter to spring is always welcome, especially after a long hard winter. Increased daylight and signs of renewed life bring excitement and hope. Where I live, the transition from spring to summer can vary – even from day to day. Spring often seems too short when we get hot days rather early. But with summer comes vacations, recreational activities, annual celebrations and reunions. So with this transition comes anticipation of enjoyment. Even with some dread of the end of a fun filled summer, the first signs of autumn are often welcome. Cool nights bring relief from the heat.
If I could choose the perfect weather it would be the “sweater weather” of autumn. I don’t enjoy sweating or freezing. I sleep much better on cool nights. We have occasional rainstorms which seem refreshing. Sometimes we have unusually warm days. Walks are much more enjoyable when not so hot. And there is the beauty of the leaves turning colors and painting the landscape. I find the colors of autumn very pleasant and comforting.
Autumn somehow seems an appropriate time to rest or not be so busy. For someone who was raised in a family of “do-ers” instilled with guilt feelings whenever not doing anything, that feeling has been most often suspended during lazy autumn days. Of course, there are those lazy summer vacation days of laying on the beach or sitting around a campfire. But then there is always a feeling of temporariness – a brief calm before returning to the rat race.
Autumn comes with mixed feelings. There is an overwhelming sense of impending change. Some of that may be sadness with the end of summer fun and the seeming death of nature. I have a desire to suspend time in autumn, to hang on to life as it is much as the dying leaves linger on the trees. I don’t want fall to end and with it bring the death that is winter.
I associate Autumn quiet times with grief or loss. The change of season brings memories back to my mind. Many significant people in my life left this earth life during Autumn. At those times, everyday activities and projects seem unimportant and set aside for a time. What is left is time for memories and contemplation, accompanied by cool breezes wafting colorful leaves from trees to the ground. Somehow it seems appropriate to just sit and watch nature slowly changing. There is also a feeling of time standing still – and not wanting to move on – whether that be facing the coming snow storms, or facing life altered forever because of who or what will no longer be there with us.
My Grandmother died in October. One of my fondest memories of her was of an earlier October when I stayed with my grandparents while my parents went somewhere. It was General Conference weekend for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which always seems a little lazy sitting on the couch watching Church for hours. I remember watching Conference with Grandma while she knitted. Then we strolled around their huge yard enjoying the colorful leaves and pretty flower gardens. The family gathered and sat in that yard after her funeral.
My Grandpa died the first Saturday in November 1999. We had one of those rare, long, mild, and beautiful autumns. In September the leaves started turning beautiful colors and somehow we avoided the big winds which usually blew them all off the trees. We made it into November with plenty of red and gold leaves still clinging to branches, though many more blanketed the ground.
I remember that day started as an unusual Saturday void of plans. The soccer season was over and I faced a rare Saturday with nowhere to go. Being the do-er, I got out my scrapbooking supplies. Then I got the phone call, left everything and drove to the hospital.
The rest of the day was slow-motion. After we all left the hospital, we ended up back at Grandpa’s house. My Dad, the do-er, eventually resumed working in Grandpa’s yard, finishing up mowing and raking. I remember mostly sitting on the patio with my Uncle. We just sat quietly for some time, then started mindlessly shelling walnuts that happened to be sitting there. Memories of that yard and house drifted through my mind. It was really strange. I felt no guilt in just sitting and not doing.
Me sitting in Grandpa’s yard after his funeral
My Mom died the day before Thanksgiving in the year 2000. It didn’t snow that year until afterwards, so it still seemed to be Autumn. The shock of her sudden passing left me functioning in slow motion for some time. There was plenty to do with planning the funeral, but still many hours of sitting and remembering.
A New Autumn
So as I reflect on memories of autumns past and enjoy the beauty today, I wonder what lies ahead. This autumn comes with some excited anticipation of new life – a rare birth in our family this time of year. Maybe this will change the colors of the season for me – to associate the season with new life as well as death?
Autumn of My Life
As I have lived through many autumns, I have gained more of a sense that I am in the autumn of my own life. Behind me are many springs and summers – times of anticipation, excitement and enjoyment leaving good memories. Ahead I feel the approaching winter with some apprehension. Not that I dread death so much as the gradual diminishing of living, not just for me but for others I love. I hope I can continue to enjoy the beauty, the pleasant times, and the people in my life as long as my season lingers.
Autumn will inevitably come to an end and bring with it winter. But I have learned through the cycles of the seasons that spring will come again. So all those that I have lost in the autumns of my life will live again. That is something wonderful to anticipate.
Quicken is a rather old-fashioned term. I recall years ago watching the film The Secret Garden and hearing the word “quick” used. The character was pointing out that the trees or plants were not dead, but “quick.”
This spring I thought about that as I watched what had previously appeared to be dead trees begin to again show signs of life – the beginnings of buds, then blossoms, then leaves. I recall my husband panicking sometimes in the early spring, worried that his beloved plants had died during the winter. It just took some time to see that they had not died. They were not dead, just dormant.
I recently watched someone die. I don’t know why I happened to be with her when she took her last breaths, but I was. It happened quietly and quickly and peacefully.
As I have pondered this event, I have recalled some discussions with my University Student daughter earlier this year as she did a research paper on Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. As she began studying, both of us were rather open minded about the subject, especially knowing well this 93 year old family member who had been wishing to die since her beloved husband had passed away last year. I read most of the articles my daughter studied and we discussed issues involved. Through that process we came to a similar conclusion – maybe this is something best left in the hands of God. Continue reading →
Anti-choice, Really? There really is a group officially against choice – in America? The so-called “pro-choice” movement, by claiming the “pro” for themselves and designating their opposition as “anti”, lend the appearance of their being the good guys in this debate. But how accurate are those labels? Continue reading →