"It hurt like Hell." Those were her words as we left the clinic that day. Not much was said after that, we just drove in silence.
I was in my early 30's. I had moved to New Orleans from Baton Rouge, Louisiana where I had worked as an electrician. The plan was to leave the construction field and begin a new career helping my mother and father with their "swamp tour" business. Well, things don't always go as planned, and after awhile, it was decided that I should move on. So I went back to the trade I was familiar with, and found a job here in New Orleans.
My Baton Rouge years were filled with late nights and carousing with students from LSU. The wild ride only continued when I moved to New Orleans with it's reputation of non-stop revelry. It was here that I met a single mom who had just relocated from Hoover, Alabama. We soon developed a relationship.
Her and I's relationship was a lot of fun at first. I liked to party, she liked to party. That is what we did regularly, and it was all good. Yet with a relationship built on frivolity and not much else, it would soon begin to deteriorate. Little arguments would arise, and we started to see less of each other. One night she called asking me to come over. I asked if everything was alright, noticing a somberness in her voice. She said, "just come over please." I got dressed, drove over and knocked on the door. She answered and immediately stepped out closing the door behind her. I said, "So what's up?" She said, "I'm pregnant." You can probably already imagine what I said next, "Is it mine?" Of course I knew it was, and the sideways look she gave me told the whole story. "Alright, alright" I said. I asked what did she want to do and she replied she "just couldn't have another child out of wedlock." At this point marriage was not an option for us since we were on "the outs" anyway. We agreed she would have an abortion.
Everything was going to be okay, this wasn't a big deal. Abortions were commonplace and she'd asked that I only pay for half, to which I agreed. Simple! Now mind you I didn't know much about abortion, but I always felt it was wrong. But if you live in darkness long enough, you can become comfortable in it, and I had been living in darkness for years now. From my upbringing, I knew sex outside of marriage was wrong, hence I would now suffer the consequences. So, she called the clinic and set it up.
The day arrived and I drove her there. We were told that it wouldn't take long, so I decided to remain in the waiting room till the "procedure" was complete. A nurse then escorted her to the rear of the building, and I found a seat. I had waited in doctor's offices and/or clinics before, and this one seemed no different. There was a TV hanging on the wall in the corner, popular magazines scattered on the tables, nothing out of the ordinary. No one talked with each other much, although I did ask one man who was waiting there (with a couple of his kids mind you), if he had ever been here before. He replied, "Oh yes, 3 or 4 times." He was so casual in his response that it kinda set me at ease. I reached over, grabbed a sports magazine and began thumbing through the pages as I waited.
Now mind you I was clueless as far as the procedure is concerned--not knowing what to expect or what was really going on in there. It was just a procedure that would terminate her pregnancy. Abortion was just something people did when they didn't want to have a baby or couldn't afford it. I had never thought of researching it or finding out what was really taking place.
After a while (I forget how long it was) the door opened and she came out. She appeared downcast and her face was a bit pale. I got up to help her. Walking gingerly, she spoke not a word. I was somewhat puzzled. I cautiously lead her out of the clinic to the passenger seat of her little Ford Ranger pickup. With her face grimacing a bit, she maneuvered her way into a comfortable position and we drove off. I was now telling myself, "something bad must have happened in there." As I began to drive, I noticed that she kept wiping away tears. "It hurt like Hell" was all that she said, and it remained a quiet ride back home.
Our relationship would never be rekindled. I honestly can't recall if we ever saw each other again after that. I know I called a few times to check on her, but that was about it. I remember that when I did call, we didn't have much to say to one another. So, I went back to my reckless lifestyle and I suppose she did the same.
Within a year of our breakup, I met the Lord. It was a supernatural, radical 180 degree turn in the opposite direction. I was born again and a bonafide Jesus freak and I let everyone know! I had been forgiven of all my sins and I was a new person, no question about it. But with the new life, I also had a newfound conviction. And what I had done with "her" in the past continued to bother me. I was only a few months into my walk and it still seemed fresh to me. I felt the need to call her, and with a bit of trepidation, I did. I told her of my new life in Christ and the total transformation that had taken place in me. She said that was great (from her tone she didn't care much at all) and hoped that I was happy. I told her of my repentance, and the conviction I now had concerning what her and I had done. I recall saying very bluntly that "what we had done was wrong." She listened and then responded with a contemptuous "okay Jerry" followed by a quick goodbye.
Please understand, I hadn't called to condemn her or try and "make her feel guilty" or any such thing. I was convicted of my sin, and whether or not she would acknowledge her sin, was between her and God. For my part, I just needed to call and confess, and that I did.
A couple of years later I would meet someone who was to be by my side the rest of my life, my wife. Since then, her and I have had 3 children.
My hope is that my fellow brothers and sisters would gain a better understanding of just one of the many differing mindsets of the unregenerate. While the public at large may now have a fuller understanding of what actually occurs during an abortion, believe you me, there are many out there that still remain as ignorant and as clueless as I was.
I also desire that my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ understand that many believers might still retain scars from things done in the past--of being a "murderer." The rhetoric from folks on both sides of the issue is disconcerting. It's the "age of contempt." I urge the church to be cautious in its counsel, or more appropriately, Christ-like. Try an empathize with others and be compassionate. Don't render "evil for evil."
"Abortion: A Man's Tale" has been difficult for me to write about. It is written with my wife's approval, with I knowing that my children would see this as well. I have cried countless tears over the sins of my past. I know that I am blessed, healed and delivered, and yet I have not forgotten that day. I've had to dry my eyes and take numerous breaks to let my stomach settle from writing this. But God's grace is sufficient, and I am what I am because of Him.
"The child may not be able to come to me, but one day I will go to the child." Amen.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!