Tensions Part 2: Birth and Death

I am amazed by life cycles. Within the expanse of time, a person's life amounts to a mere fraction of a fraction of influence, yet each life - no matter the status - has made an impact in this world and thus a celebration of that life should be appropriated. The writer of Ecclesiastes recognized that our lives, in comparison to this expanse, ends almost as soon as it begins. It has been said that once we are born, we start to die; however, in the limited time we have on this earth, we can make a profound impact, so people with nihilistic tendencies should remember that life is not meaningless, but filled with purpose - even if that purpose cannot be quantified with concrete data.

I am under the distinct belief that every life matters. From the homeless woman under a bridge to the CEO of a major conglomerate to the factory welder earning merely enough to pay his bills, I am convinced that every one of these people has value. Unfortunately, we have grown suspicious - if not violent - to people living outside of our status. Those born into money are often hated by those who weren't. Those born with nothing are often labeled as inferior to those who were born with everything. Liberals hate conservatives and vice versa. Racists hate people outside of their own skin tone (And yes, there are bigots in every race). And if you watch any source of news, you might interpret all media outlets as hating everything. We've grown impassioned towards outsiders with the rage of our own insecurities.

Life is far too limited to spend it depreciating the value of others. The birth of all individuals - white, black, poor, rich - is a cause for great rejoicing, not only the potential of the human being, but the sheer existence of that human being. Historical figure, Margaret Sanger, thought it was up to her best discretion to target minorities and kill them off before they ever had a chance to see the light outside of the womb. She apparently determined she was the foremost authority on racial superiority and used abortion not as as means of family planning, but as mass eugenics. Through her efforts, birth and death became one joint entity and a rather common occurrence.

But as the Ecclesiastical writer said, "There is nothing new under heaven." Sanger was not the first one to drive the cause of killing babies and she will obviously not be the last. She is merely an example of our callous disregard of life, our desensitization of death, and our utter lack of joy that ALL humans are born with certain inalienable rights - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No one has a right to interfere with those rights in another's existence unless that existence is trying to hinder it in someone else.

It's perfectly acceptable to celebrate life, even if the conception of that life did not happen in favorable terms. It's also perfectly acceptable to grieve the loss of a life even if the person being mourned lived a selfish or seemingly wasteful one.

I did not have any relationship with my Dad from the time I was four until I was nineteen. And it wasn't until I was twenty-eight that I actually started to talk to him without the sting of unforgiveness dictating my thoughts. When he died only months before my thirtieth birthday, I did not hold against him the disappointing way he lived out his years. He was still my Dad regardless of what he did wrong and I legitimately grieved his passing. I accept that even though he did many things wrong to my family and me, he was still a human being whose existence had value.

If we are honest with ourselves, there are many people we have killed in our hearts. Though we are not pulling the trigger or the plug, we have already disregarded their lives, written them off as worthless and not deserving of a single thought. Our own souls have devalued them. Forgiveness is the weapon by which we cancel the spirit of death in our lives and make way for a new birth of joy, therefore resurrecting not only our future, but that of those around us.

I will end with a strong admonition in the Lord from Deuteronomy 30:19 " Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!"

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