Stopping the beat of another’s heart can happen on so many different levels. To disregard the reality of another’s presence, looking on their existence with scorn or derision, holding firm to the belief that their being is somehow lesser than our own, and denying them the chance and real possibility of fulfilling the hopes and dreams of every human being is un-Christian, un-Godlike.
That a child should never be murdered is so obvious it need not be vocalized, much less legislated. Yet here we are. And the vitriol is palpable. And as Christians we need to ask ourselves: How can this be? How has it come to this? This glorification of the material accidents of being, and not the beauty of existence for its own sake. Why focus on that which changes rather than on eternal goodness? And even further, we must ask ourselves: Have I in any way contributed to this hatred of hearts that beat?
Stopping the beat of another’s heart can happen on a myriad of levels. How many times have we uttered a discouraging or disparaging remark about another person, discounting their hopes, their dreams? How many reputations have been ruined? How often do we disregard the real needs of those right in front of us every day, and focus only on our own? Even as a mom, I know that sometimes the sharpness of my words and the edge to my voice drains the life from my children’s eyes, and their hearts just crumble.
This stopping of hearts that beat is so commonplace that it shocks me and tempts me to despair. Sins against our neighbors are absolutely the choice to be deaf to the beat of another’s heart. And it’s no wonder that this, in the end, spirals into the horrendous tragedy of abortion.
We are better than this. As Christians, we must be better than this. We have a long history of showing up, of showing out—to comfort, console, nurture, and nourish. Our acts of service are numerous: the meals we have prepared for a family, known to us or not, as they welcomed a new life. The many tears we have wiped dry. Midnight phone calls taken and acted upon. How many times have we stood in the gap while those dear to us have endured the unimaginable? And how many times have we ourselves leaned on the strength of others? Our hearts have been formed by the crucified Christ who shouldered our fallen humanity and glorified it on the cross. Our essence of who we are is this, is him.
Community is built on the shoulders of selflessness, not on derision and contempt. We know this. As moms, this is the mantra of our entire lives. So let us unite to uphold the dignity of life—all life—in all circumstances and age brackets. Uphold it with love and prayer and true, life-giving charity.
With every beat of our hearts.