Photo by Mark Walz
Most people remember the starfish story. I did some digging on the internet to find out more. It was written by Loren Eisley. The summary of the story is a whole school of starfish washed up onto the beach and lay dying. One kid on the beach stood throwing as many as possible back into the ocean. An adult watching the child said, “You will never get all of them.” to which the kid agrees. It’s not possible, there are too many to save them all. However, as the kid points out, “It makes a difference to this one.” and continues tossing them back.
The relegating of abortion back to the states will result in a patchwork quilt of policy across the nation that reflects the political alliances of the location more than anything else. That being said, there are the starfish that will be throw back into the ocean because of it. We will need to be more active, not less because of this ruling. Life is hard, make no mistake. Anyone who says differently is selling something. Anyone who professes themselves to be Catholic or Christian had best look to their left and their right, and discern, whose cross am I helping to carry? Who’s cross should I be helping to carry? If there isn’t a name and a face attached to that question immediately, they need to find one.
Being a person who is pro-life, we are called to accompany, and to serve, and to wash feet. The difference between the story of the starfish and people, is, it will make a difference to more than the one served –and that’s where the reality of being leaven to the dough, salt to the Earth, and light to the world is lived. Families will change because of this, and there will be more people who need us present, and our failure to serve if we fail to serve, will also be more visible. “Lord, Lord, when did we see you hungry?” If we didn’t before, we’d better now.
Power is not the means to salvation or to saving any of the starfish, or the families affected by the ruling this past Friday. It means, we need to get to the work of picking up the starfish if we weren’t already.
To those who believe the only reasonable answer is that everyone has the option to split the baby, no amount of self sacrifice by those who agree with yesterday’s ruling will be sufficient to satisfy because not everyone will do the work, not everyone will be reached. That does not mean one shouldn’t try to do what has been asked –to make it as unthinkable and unneeded as we can by how we live, and how we treat people, and what we ask our country to do for those facing pregnancy.
Jesus is explicit about this part of the mission of being His disciples: “if anyone wants to sue you and take your [ag]tunic, let him have your [ah]cloak also. 41Whoever [ai]forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow.” MT5:40-42.
However, we never can solve any injustice of the world by creating a new injustice, or by legal fiat –we ought to know that from our country’s long history of trying –law reveals values and power structures –community reveals the truth of who we value and why. Who do we sit with? Who do we eat with? Who do we walk two miles for?
My Facebook page friends who have walked the walk, their witness reveals they remember the two miles people walked with them when they did not think they could manage one. Walk the two miles means it is always about the present and future needs, not the past. This is the essential lament of those who argue in favor of choice –that too many of those of us who argue for the child’s life, do not walk beyond the call to others to sacrifice out of love. They see many of us as knowing all the commandments but going away sad when asked to sell everything. Christ walked with and met with each person He encountered, even those He knew would betray Him, would abandon Him, would deny Him. He ate and offered His mercy, His wisdom, His love to those who came asking healing, and to those who growled because He did.
My daughter came downstairs. She left something at the pool yesterday. I’m not interested in going to the pool, but will make a trip back to fetch the shorts –or attempt it. I sat thinking about the sluggish response I gave to my child asking something reasonable. Ugh. Two miles Lord?
I had resisted her simple request. Not my best mom moment –and I can say, it’s Saturday, we just got up, I’m not yet fully ready to start the day, I was reading, all that jazz, but it what it does mean is…I missed an opportunity to be present. So I walked the stairs, and the smile she gave at even the belated “Yes.” was the answer –yes, two miles Sherry. You can do that.
Driving back to the pool won’t help the rest of my day, but it makes a difference to this one whether or not we find what she lost. We cannot help carry every cross -that’s Christ’s mission, but we can help carry the one that’s visible, the ones presented to us. So let’s hit the beaches if we haven’t already started, because the only way we make life better, lighter, more luminous, God more visible, is if we get to the business of walking those two miles. It will not mean we get to every starfish, but it will make a difference to every one we do.
Going to find my purse and drive out the two miles to see if I can find her stuff. Love you Starfish.
Keys photo by Brett Jordan