Categories
Me Too truth

The Truth Will Set You Free

A view to the Llyn Peninsular taken on a day out with my daughter July 2022

I cried when I heard the result of the RoevWade outcome. How could a country that calls itself civilised take such a backward step? Not only is it saying that women cannot choose but that it is saying women are not able to choose. Then I hear our government saying that abortion doesn’t need to be on The Bill of Rights! Again a major step backwards.

There is that big argument that the child that is aborted could grow up to change the world. Well what if they don’t? What if the child that does not get aborted is brought up in a household on a low income with many different partners in the mother’s life? What if the child is brought up and hated because of what the mother could not do? One cannot talk of “what ifs” when one does not talk about choice.

Did you know it is only recently that Christians believe a person did not become a living being until God breathed life into them at that moment of birth

“I think we know that prior to the Lord putting breath of life into Adam he had a heart, he had a brain with vessels, and these vessels and heart were filled with blood just as the vessels and heart of a fetus are filled with blood. However, Adam did not become a living soul until after the Lord breathed into him the breath of life.

—Robert L. Pettus Jr., MD, As I See Sex Through the Bible, 1973

And “Rabbis have long written that the soul enters the body at birth, with the first breath. For breath is the gift of life from the one who created us. From the God who is both our origin and our destination.”

I know medical science can now keep a baby alive from very early in gestation. I have had friends who have been blessed by this new technology. But that was their choice and that choice has effected their lives since.

I have just read a great article by Nadia Bolz-Weber entitled Stories>Opinions [basically our stories are greater than someone’s opinions] In it she tells her own story of her own abortion, which is very similar to mine, except that she did have a partner with her and friends supporting her. For me, I was in an odd place, sleeping around and did not know who had fathered my child. I was, like Nadia, on a low income and also not in a place to have a child. [I once told this story in a Christian youth group and got cross questioned by the young people, which actually was great because it made me think about what I had done, and I know I did the right thing at that moment in time] Would I have been a good mother then? Who knows. But I chose not to be a mother then.

Later I got my life a bit more sorted and have since had two amazing children. Children that actually I would not have had if I had not aborted the earlier one. Strange that. As someone in my writing group once told me “each choice we make determines where we are today.”

Jon Kuhrt wrote a blog piece a while back on Francis Spufford’s book “Perpetual Light”, which is a story about the children that died in a WWII bomb on a Woolworth’s in London, and what their lives would have been like if they had lived. This got me thinking about what my life would have been like if my first child had lived. I don’t know but I know it would be very different and I know I would not have the children I have now, or the husband I have now, or the life I have now. It would have been different.

When people say about the life of the aborted child they never seem to talk about the life of the mother who has that child, or the father who has to decide what he will do. Also too often the mother is seen as the enemy, as a bad person, who isn’t really thinking properly. I do not know of anyone who did not think through their decisions carefully and how it would impact them and their unborn child. It is not a decision to be taken lightly. But then I did not take it lightly to keep my next two babies. But having an abortion is a taboo subject very rarely talked about in Christian circles openly. Why is that? God knows what I’ve done and still thinks I am amazing. I know this because my first God encounter was of being covered in what felt like a warm, visceral glittery substance and being told I was loved just as I was – unmarried mum who’d had an abortion. I’m not sure what my church would have thought of me if they’d known. I wonder if I will now be asked to stop helping with the youth group that I volunteer at now?

Please can we stop being ashamed of what we’ve done. Please can we start being open about every part of our lives and not just keep God for the clean and tidy bits and pieces. God is the God of the whole of my life – the good and the bad, the times I’ve got it right and the times I’ve got it wrong – and I am loved by God no matter what. That is totally amazing.

And now let us stand together and support those who have had an abortion, who are thinking of having abortions, and also those who think the whole this is an anathema. We are all made in the image of God no matter what we’ve done or what we think. And are loved because of and in spite of all that.

Categories
peace Transition

Transition

Photograph of Pensarn beach taken one warm evening by Diane Woodrow
The shoreline is always a place of transition. Taken by myself May 2022

I’ve just read this great article from Godspace about Transition and creating healthy boundaries for it. Whilst reading it I got a bit grumpy about how easy it is to create these boundaries when you are in control of the transition – which is not what the article says but what my brain decided to put in to wind me up because there had just been a transition within our family that I had not been brought into the discussion about and which, though not out of the blue, had wobbled me a bit. Only a bit.

But then actually if one reads the article without that grumpy, poor me attitude then it is about having things in place for when transitions come so one doesn’t get wobbled by them. I won’t go through each one but to say that it was the last one Transitions cannot be rushed that really got to me. But once I had calmed down – which involved taking the dog for a walk in the rain. And I do think there is nothing quite like North Wales drizzle to sort one’s mood out. Or at least it always works for me.

I came back realizing that even though the family members appeared to be rushing the decision they had probably been talking about it for a while. Just because my counsel had not been sort for whatever reason – and that is another thing – don’t go second guessing other people’s reasoning for asking or not asking for you counsel. That is very much a “grow up and get over it” that we have to say to ourselves and our attitudes when it comes to our children, I think.

Another aside – why is that often we find it so hard to see that our children have grown up and don’t need us to ‘parent’ them any more? Thoughts for another post one day maybe!!!

Anyway just because someone else is transitioning doesn’t mean that I have to go so fast. I can sit and ponder their decisions, their transitions, and I can slowly allow their changes to seep into my consciousness. And also though their lives are changing mine is staying the same and slowly but surely as I adjust to their changes I can allow their transition to become my transition.

I found this all very exciting. Sometimes though I do wish I didn’t have to have a grump beforehand. Though, and I know I keep pushing it, since I’ve been doing the QEC work around my issues, hurts and past traumas so I have found the grumpy times are getting shorter, the wise voice is coming in sooner and the peace is deeper.

So now as I process this transition – among the many other transitions that have gone on in these last couple of years – I feel a profound sense of peace. It is not my decision to decide someone else’s lifestyle choice, whether they are family or friends, and that really does give me enormous peace.

Jesus said “my peace I give to you” and as Naked Pastor said about love so I think is true about peace. It is all around us and there for anyone but we do just have to open ourselves to it. And being grumpy does stop that peace.

So as I transition into my family transition so I lean into that love, take it slowly and all that “peace that transcends all understand “to guide my heart and mind [Philippians 4:7]

Categories
change everyday words

Neglected?

View of sky, sand and sea with awesome lines and colours photographed by Diane Woodrow
View on my dog walk this morning

The prompt for Day 9 of Everyday Words 30 days of prompts is from Alison Brackenbury’s Mr Hill and Me

Interesting things stood out for me. The first was the line about how the school ‘knew no one they might ring‘ back in 1959 when this poem was set and she has to walk home alone with measles. It made me think of how we take this constant communication for granted. We all, or at least most of us, have mobile phones constantly on us. And those who don’t are seen as odd. In fact you cannot get on to your bank or pay by Paypal or other such things without a text from your bank. We are constantly in communication – texting, phoning, social mediaing, Instagraming, Whatsapping, blogging our thoughts :). It is hard to imagine a time without being able to contact someone in an instant.

I remember when I was about 9 or 10 being in charge of my little sister. My mum worked part time and during school holidays we would go off with our friends for the morning, the older kids keeping an eye on the little ones. We were all primary school age so no one over 11. Not a mobile between us and even if we did have most would have had no one to phone anyway.

But my first thought when I read about her walking home alone and not knowing who was there was that she was neglected, that she had no one to care for her. Because I am putting my 21st century lens on this 1959 time of life.

The next bit that jumped out at me was about Mr Hill. The poem unfolds with her getting weaker and weaker as the illness of the measles takes over and then we have Mr Hill sweeping. Now for some reason I picked up something ominous about Mr Hill. But I think again this is because my 21st century lens has seen and read too much in which the single men, especially older single men, are to be watched out for, that they are going to grab the child – Pedophile? Child catcher? Murderer?

So I read this poem as one of child neglect and was waiting for child abuse but this is not what this poem is about. It is about how life was back in 1959. Men swept the road, parents could not be phone up to pick up their children from school if they were sick, kids were expected to be able to walk back and forth to school.

Was it safe then that it is now? Who knows. Were children back then more neglected than they are now? Who knows. But what I do know, and it is similar to yesterday’s post, is that not everything is as I see it. And also that in 60+ years things have moved on and changed. I need to read things from the perspective they were written. But also to be aware that everything I read, see, and even do is view through the lens of where I sit now and my experiences.

[I haven’t written a poem from this prompt. Only this blog post]

Categories
International Women's Day

International Women’s Day

Found on https://www.wheniscalendars.com/when-is-international-womens-day/

I remember my daughter asking why we had to have “Black History Month” when the history of all nations is interwoven. Well the same, I think, holds true for International Women’s day. Why should we have a special day to celebrate women? Well this article on the BBC helps one to know why – Why misogyny is at the heart of South Korea’s presidential elections

The article goes on to say –

South Korea has one of the worst women’s rights records in the developed world. And yet it is disgruntled young men who have been the focus of this country’s presidential election.

“Nearly 90% of men in their twenties are anti-feminist or do not support feminism,” he tells me.

I am only citing this article today because it was on my newsfeed. Too often in too many countries, even ones that cannot be cited as having bad women’s rights records, women still stand behind men in too many things, even if it is just how they are viewed.

How often do we expect it to be the man who follows a career and the women who stays at home to support him? How often do women change their schedules because a man cannot change his? I heard too often over lockdown and home working that it was the man who got the best room in the house to work and the woman had to juggle her demanding job around childcare. For a women to put herself first it is harder than a man in too many cases.

Though I also know my husband would say that as a man it is hard not to be expected to be the breadwinner and would be frowned on by many in society for not being the top earner.

But with all this going on I want to just honour a few women

  • the young women I have worked with in Youthshedz who can talk about hope when they have walked through some really tough things in their young lives.
  • the friend who has been living with cancer for years and yet is still setting up her own craft business and not giving in
  • the women who stay home to look after their children
  • the women who choose a career
  • the women who support each other’s life choices.

Two women who always come to mind when I have to talk about women are Pam and Betty.

Pam tipped my Christian worldview upside down and opened me up to thinking about my faith rather than just accepting what I was told. This has led to a much deeper and sometimes more controversial walk with God than it could have. Her and her husband welcomed me and my kids into their lives at just the right time, and have made space for my husband now too.

Betty, as well as teaching me how to make gravy with fat from the meat, flour and vegetable juices, which I still think of as “Betty’s gravy” even 35 years on, also opened my eyes to political issues, to relationships, to looking at sex, in a whole different way. Her and her husband also welcomed me into their home, but that was at a time when I was a wee bit crazy.

So I should also add to my list – women who have room in their lives and their families to welcome in others.

So to all of whatever gender help to use today to celebrate the women in your life