Our social media feeds are exploding with it, the news won’t stop talking about it, your friends and your hair stylist and your pastor and your congressperson are abuzz with it, and everyone has an opinion. Nuance is nonexistent, apathy is rare, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about ask literally anyone.
It is not my place to speak on the politics of this issue, except to say that I could fill a room with the number of Christians I respect and love who vote for pro-choice candidates and the number of Christians I respect and love who vote for pro-life candidates, and I think that’s important.
But I’m not talking about abortion legislation right now, I’m not talking about what actually happened or if it should have happened or what should come next. I’m talking about what happened immediately afterward: our responses, the dichotomy of our responses, the intensity of our responses, the utter despair and also the blind elation. And how much everyone has to say about it.
There’s irony here, of course, because even in all the chaos I have something to say, too. But it’s as simple as this: I hope we pause to listen and then I hope we lament.
If what happened this week disappointed you I hope you listen to those who have been fighting for this for years. I hope you see them as people with good intentions, and consider that they might think this is the actual right thing, not just a power grab. I hope you hear them out when they say there’s another way.
If what happened this week made you giddy I hope you listen to those who are distraught. I hope you see them as complex people with real moral frameworks, not as evil or incomprehensible because they have a different perspective from you. I hope you listen to their panic, I hope you try to understand why this all began in the first place, the history and the fear and the motivations and the desires that might not be quite as reprehensible as they seem to you.
And I hope we lament. I hope we lament for how this has so deeply divided us, for how complicated it is to understand how our moral framework should impact our political choices, for how different a pregnancy can feel depending on if you’re married, if you’re financially comfortable, if you’re poor, if you’re alone, if you get paid maternity leave, if you have people to help you care for a child, if you have a serious health condition, if you’ve been abused or have experienced trauma. I hope we can lament for those who maybe really wanted their child but just didn’t see a way forward.
For those of us who are people of faith: yes, we’re sometimes called to speak out on issues we find important. But we’re also called to offer another way, to weep with those who weep and to try to understand those who are different from us, to be gentle, slow to speak, slow to become angry, quick to admit when we’re wrong or when we’re not as sure of an answer as we might wish we were.
And in this complicated moment, I hope we choose to listen and lament.