Today’s 40 Days for Life devotional dealt with the issue of men’s need for healing from past abortions. Rev. Steve (who graciously blessed our mid-point vigil with his music last night) has written the following reflection on todays devotion:
My first child would have been born early in 1976, turning 35 years old this spring. I did not know about the conception, which happened during the summer after I graduated from high school. When I left for college, my girlfriend was concerned about being late, but not really worried.
One day, in my first month at music school, she called me in the evening. “I was pregnant” was her first sentence. Then she said, “I had an abortion.” I was devastated. I said something about “I can’t talk right now” and I remember thinking “I don’t think I can be with the person who killed our baby.” I don’t know if I said that to her, but I hung up. My roommate said “It sounds like congratulations are in order.” I just left the room and went outside to cry.
My home had been in Maryland, “Inside the Beltway” and close to one of the first Planned Parenthood clinics. I guess my child was one of the first million babies aborted after “Roe v. Wade.” I’m not proud of that statistic. In fact, I’ve lived all of those 35 years with the shame of that event. I’ve only begun to shake that shame, and that’s why I’m writing this.
My wife knows. I told her about this before we got married, almost 27 years ago. But I had never told anyone else until this month. I first said it to 2 women from my church earlier this month. We were driving to the 40 Days For Life vigil in Pittsburgh, my first time there. It felt good to say it out loud, not “good” in the sense that I want to do it every day, but I experience some healing in the act of reveal a secret.
I never told anybody during all my years of ministry education. I never told my best friend, a man very active in Operation Rescue, even though I wanted to go with him, back in the 80s. And I certainly never told anybody at church.
I am a chaplain intern now, and coming to realize that everybody has something in their past they don’t want anybody to know. In many cases it forms a barrier to relationships, both here on Earth and with God. It has prevented me from being involved with other people, and in activities where I might need to reveal my past.
I attended my first Pennsylvanians for Human Life meeting last Christmas. I had offered to provide music for retreats for women who survived abortions. But I always explained my offer to help as being motivated by my status as a musician or, more recently, as a minister. When I revealed my past earlier this month, on the way to the prayer vigil, it was a big step in healing for me. When I recently attended a Midterm Meeting for the Pittsburgh 40 Days For Life group, I revealed my past.
As I step up from the miry clay to own my past and step out in ministry, I see lots of people who cannot make eye contact with a sign-wielding minister. I smile, I say “hello” to anybody who makes eye contact, however brief. If they maintain eye contact, I say “God bless you!” In so doing, in some Mysterious way, I am blessing the man I used to be, too ashamed of his past to embrace the ministry in which God obviously wanted my involvement.
Who do you know who won’t make eye contact when you are carrying a sign, or explaining the baby footprints on your lapel, or talking about your last shift in front of the Abortion Clinic? I needed to know I was forgiven for my part in the murder of a baby. I know God forgives me, but I also needed to know that people could forgive me, too. When the ladies from my church chose not to judge me after my “confession” I knew that. I want to give thanks to Pauline and Lori for their part in that healing moment for me.
Who do you know who needs that healing moment? What can you do to open that door? Not everybody gets a written thank you such as this, and you may never know what God chooses to do through your acceptance of one of His children. Take a step forward, and maybe you can be the instrument of healing He chooses to use in somebody’s life, somebody like me.
God bless you! And thank you for taking the time to read this.
Rev. Steve Hubbard