Wednesday, September 7, 2011

ON FAMILY ~ Choices...

At the age of 45, writer Regina Brett wrote a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer listing 45 lessons that life had taught her thus far. As a breast cancer survivor, many of those lessons were learned the hard way. Five years later she added five more lessons rounding her list up to 50 and turned her popular list into a book called God Never Blinks. I found her list to be entertaining, inspiring and thought provoking. I thought I would go through each of her lessons learned and write about how that lesson has or has not come up in my own life, now that I am 40 and feel old enough to have finally learned something.

"Always choose life."
~ LESSON #27

I'm not sure if Regina's lesson above is a Pro Life statement or the mantra of a cancer survivor. It could be applied in either way, and probably in many others. I was thinking about the abortion side of things just yesterday. I saw a bumper sticker that said "Smile. Your mother chose life." I got to thinking how that might not necessarily be true for some children of my generation since pregnant women prior to 1973 did not truly have a choice. Abortion was illegal and having one carried a big health risk to the woman, not to mention the societal implications involved.

I have always been supportive of a woman's right to choose. And I have also been a big admirer of adoptive parents and the emotional challenge the world of adoption creates for all involved. It has always made me wonder why a birth defect would be reason to give up on a pregnancy, since the sweetest person I know is mentally retarded and thriving in this world, bringing joy to everyone she meets. I don't think that I personally could go through with an abortion, but understand that there are situations where others could feel differently and they have the right to make a different decision.

Having brought a little person into this world recently, I am filled with excitement and wonder over the person he will grow to be. I look into those eyes pictured above - those bright shining pools of love - and think that he will see and accomplish great things. I didn't choose life - it was never an option for me. He was wanted and hoped for, for a very long time. As far as I can tell, life chose me in this situation.

As for those facing their own death, I have known some who gave in. I wouldn't say that they gave up. People diagnosed with terminal diseases are fighters. They don't give up, they fight. But sometimes that fight wears them down. And it has been so long and painful - for them and for their loved ones - that they give in to the fight believing that their loved ones will be better off, or that their soul will find peace. I have also known some who dipped into wells of energy and determination that I didn't know were possible. They have seen their loved ones as motivation or inspiration. They beat the odds; survived their sentence. They chose to live and used that desire to aid in their return to wellness.

Life is precious. There is no doubt about that. That is why so many see suicide as selfish. I know that is not true. Mental illness, extreme pain, abandonment, addiction - these things can create a world of pain that souls live with alone in their heads. They don't feel there is a choice. Life is excruciating. They are looking for a solution. Death appears to be the only option. Suicide is a great tragedy to me. Those who need help the most are silent in life and the rest of us only learn of the depths of their inner despair until it is too late.

I will always choose life. For myself - by making healthy choices, by following a safer path, by acknowledging moments where I need the help of others to get me through. For those whose lives I am able to protect - by raising my son, by caring for my friends, my family, and of course my kitty. I value life and celebrate the gift that it is. I try to be productive with mine. Choosing life is a powerful decision. Living a good life honors that choice.


McGillicutty said...

nice post.. and congrats on becoming a mother. I like to think I'm a life chooser too... I mean really live it, do good deeds and make the most of it, death is so final.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

OMG, those eyes! What lucky parents you are to have such a little doll!

Kathleen said...

Well first of all, your son is so cute it hurts! Secondly, you are so right about these things. I choose life too and that means making the best of what life deals me and controlling my destiny when and how I can. I love these post Molly. They are always incredibly thought-provoking and I always share them with others.

kayerj said...

ahh . . . I love those little Sammy eyes (I'm sure your looking through eyes that are pools of love as well)

what a powerful post--my mom recently had a stroke and the doctor told us she wouldn't live through the weekend. My mom surprised him and chose life. she is gaining strength every day.

Sandy Nawrot said...

These are the eyes that will convince you to buy him a Kit Kat at the grocery store, another video game for being a good boy, or letting him stay up an extra half hour to watch the finale of American Idol. This post was precious Molly. You are such a grounded person. Sammy is so lucky to have you, and you are lucky to have him.

Lin said...

Oh my gosh--that kid is so darn CUTE!

While I "choose life" most days, I think it okay to accept death too.

I'm totally pro-choice, but I don't want to discuss or debate that issue--it is just my stance for personal reasons. And whether I agree with it or not shouldn't be imposed on others--nor their bodies.

Life is tough--especially after you've bore children. There is this part of you that wants then, to help the little bird who has fallen from a nest, or the little worm who is stuck on the sidewalk. It is me protecting my frogs from heron or my fish from raccoon. I think you respect life much more after you have created it inside of you---it is very weird.

That said, I think it is okay to quit fighting and accept death when you are tired of life too.

Give that sweet baby a big smoochie for me!

Heather G. said...

Inspiring post. Thank you! My 2-year-old and I found a little baby bird that had fallen out of its nest and we tried really hard to figure out a way to get it back in! We did it. It was an exhilarating moment for me. And my son, every time we passed by the nest, said save bird?

Life is amazing. Thanks for this.

And your son is such a cutie!

Kristi said...

Oh I just want to squeeze his little precious body. He's so cute!!!!!

Anonymous said...

What a perfect picture and a perfect face! He is so precious. I think his eyes are definitely telling you he on to a big and important life.

A great post. I know I could never have an abortion, but hesitate to pass that judgement on to someone else. There are many circumstances that I can't comprehend or pretend to understand.

Susan said...

Molly, I don't think that age-old argument has ever been given a better treatment than you have done. A beautiful piece, my friend. And Sammy looks as if he has the wisdom of the world in those piercing eyes. He's so sweet. Kiss the back of his neck for me. :)