Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
July 5, 2010
Couple shares tears of love, tears of regret
Major American right to life groups politicians, heartily resonate with Pickup's life-affirming message
My Glass is Half Full
By MARK PICKUP
My wife LaRee and I have been asked to give the keynote address to the 2010 United States Right to Life Prayer Breakfast this year in Pittsburgh. The title of our address is Tears of Regret - Tears of Love: A Couple's Perspective in Learning to Value Life.
Why would America's largest pro-life organization invite an ordinary couple from a small Canadian Prairie town to give the keynote speech at a main feature of their annual convention? It's hard to say, but whatever their reason, we've been informed the prayer breakfast is sold out.
Perhaps the U.S. National Right to Life Committee invited us to speak precisely because we are an ordinary couple whose lives just happen to have been touched by major life issues of our time.
Many years ago, when we were teenagers, LaRee became pregnant with our baby. We chose to abort our child and regretted that decision for decades.
Many years later I developed multiple sclerosis. The disease was aggressive and I sank into a clinical depression. My grief was so profound and my heartache so sharp, that I might have become suicidal if I had not been surrounded by people who loved me.
Yes, I need to know that somebody loved me and held up my natural human dignity - even when I lost sight of it. I found that someone in LaRee, yet she was grieving too.
The intervening years between aborting our baby and my becoming chronically ill proved to be fertile ground for learning to value human life. Our 39-year journey has been long and painful but spiritually illuminating.
LaRee said this about our journey: "Occasionally I reflect on what began with abortion - the denial of life and love's potential to blossom (both human and divine). It started a pilgrimage to regain the meaning of life and love."
She commented further: "It was on the foundation of a broken and contrite spirit, first with the abortion and later with a serious and crippling disease, that the Saviour began to teach us the purpose of life and love. Out of the tear-soaked soil of regret and sorrow grew spiritual understanding. We are loved and forgiven."
At the end of her address, she concluded with these thoughts: "I am convinced that the Lord has allowed Mark's MS to continue so that we grow spiritually and learn to depend upon God completely. And I have also become convinced that divine love is the only thing that matters. To abide in Christ's love, and reflect his love to a lost and hurting world, . . . that is where the real meaning of life is to be found."
STRUCK A CHORD
Her words seemed to strike a chord with the audience. Her reflections on spiritual growth and understanding resonated not only with U.S. National Right to Life organization but also the American politicians, state Right to Life organizations from across the United States, as well as the many religious and community leaders in attendance.
Her first-hand experience and perspective about critical life issues carried an indisputable authority.
There are terrible human and spiritual poverties in the circumstances that drive people to consider abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide. To reject unwanted or inconvenient human life is to reject the Giver of Life. There can be no peace where there is violence or the taking of life.
VOICE OF CONSCIENCE
We see evidence of this truism in the social upheaval and angst that persists regarding abortion, decades after it was legalized in Canada and America. As long as there are voices of conscience, the same will happen if euthanasia and assisted suicide are legalized. (I don't even want to contemplate a world where voices motivated by conscience are no longer heard or have been silenced.) This must not happen.
Jesus told us to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5.13-16). We must not lose our cultural saltiness or cease to let our Christian light shine in a dark time such as this.
If Christians cease to stand for the sanctity of human life, who will?
LaRee is the executive director of the Alberta Pro-Life Association and is willing to take her message to Albertans. Church groups and schools can book LaRee to speak about life issues through Alberta Pro-Life at 780-421-7747.
In August we will give a joint address to a prayer breakfast hosted by Edmonton's Catholic charismatic renewal group. It will be similar to the address given to the U.S. National Right to Life Prayer Breakfast in Pittsburgh.
Anyone wishing to hear our message should contact Gerry at 780-455-4470 to purchase tickets.
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