Dear Mama, I'm 32 Now.
Let's celebrate! It is the 32nd anniversary of your decision to let me live. I know this was not the most popular choice at the time. Terminating a pregnancy was the fad in 1984. If my research is correct, the ratio of abortions to live births was the highest it had ever been that year and that astonishing record has yet to surpass it, at least in the United States. On sheer statistics alone, I shouldn't be able to write these words or any of the other hundreds of thousands of words I've written over this lifetime. But here I am. Today I turn 32.
Long ago, I came to the conclusion that I would never know why - Why did you carry me to term, why did you give me away, or why you deemed me not worth the effort to keep me around. Certainly, the "risk" of my presence was worth the sexual experience you had... You know we have such a low view of sex as Americans, don't we? Its abundance beguiles its preciousness. It is like our view technology - like credit cards, airplanes, and cell phones. The pleasure of sex is a commodity to us. But when the commodity produces the suspected, yet still surprising results, we do what we need to do in order to cope with the rest of our lives. It's ironic. Every form of entertainment compares the sexual experience to the feat of reaching a god-like status, but then upon reaching the pinnacle of deity, we deny the responsibilities in which we have been entrusted. I guess it is just so odd to me.
But I'm supposed to be thankful, right? Thankful that you didn't abort me. I wonder if your grand-daughter will ever be thankful that we didn't abort her? Or is it just human nature to acknowledge mere existence as a right, not a privilege? I'm not so sure anymore. But I do know how much joy she would bring you. She is my blessing and my pride, she sometimes is the only thing that keeps my soul alive. Having her here, with me, is the consequence of our choices. This was a very good consequence.
In case you are wondering, the people that raised me, my parents, are some of the finest people to ever trod this soil. They scraped, sacrificed, and struggled to give me more than I deserved. It's a natural thing, I suppose, to take care of your own flesh and blood. It's a supernatural ability to love something that is not your own as if it was. This single fact convinces more of God's love for sinful humans more than any theological concept, holy text, or puritanical principle. The living hermeneutic of my parents is what convinces me of the truth of the gospel. Hopefully, I will live my life in a similar way.
In the last 32 years, I have pursued many avenues of learning and pleasure. Some have been blessings while others have left scars that no amount of time can erase. Everyday I fight the feelings of worthlessness, emptiness, and loneliness that exist in the place where you should have always been. I can't be angry, because at least I am alive, right?
But this burden just never goes away. But don't worry about me, I am starting to become comfortable with the idea that it will never go away. Indeed, it will probably be the best if it does not. You could have never known this, but your choice to give me away is the single most valuable asset I have in my life. It is my central source of inspiration. It drives me to write, create, and achieve. If this was your master plan all along, then I salute you. You were wiser than I ever gave you credit for.
It seems so plain to say this, but without you Mama, I'm nothing and I would have achieved nothing. But, I'm also not sure you get the credit this verse applies. Its a line said in many acceptance speeches, and I suppose the words need uttered here, in this space. This is my accpetance speech. No award is being bestowed, I'm just finally accepting the reality of your choice.
An ongoing discussion about growing up, passing on, and the ties that bind us together. Following Jesus is a family affair — no matter who you call your family.