Walk with me? Okay great.
You live in New York City. You’re speed walking home from a long day at work. You see the yellow taxi cabs racing by, the fashion forward locals running past you, and all you’re thinking is, “Just one more block and I’m in out of the cold.” You’re at the home stretch, you go to cross the street but you see something. Someone. You catch their eye and you can see their heart. And it hurts. You stop in your tracks. Words cannot describe the suffering you see. You look around for answers, and you see the building they’re standing in front of. And all the painstaking puzzle pieces slowly come together. And you can’t look away.
I couldn’t look away.
The NYC FOCUS Missionaries live on Bleecker St. And we share a wall with Plan Parenthood’s headquarters.
Before my reversion, I remembered Plan Parenthood as the place all of my friends got their birth control. It was the place that promoted “safe sex”. It was the place that “gave you options”. As if controlling the birth of a human person, was your option. But for some reason back then, I didn’t question it. I didn’t think about it too much.
I walk past Plan Parenthood every day. At the beginning, it was just another building to me. I’d been pro life for a while by then, but for some reason, I’d just say a quick prayer as I passed. I didn’t get it. I wouldn’t let myself “go there”. I didn’t think about it too much.
After about three months, I saw a girl come out for the first time. I cannot put into words the look on her face. As an actor, I observe people. I thought I’d seen every expression in the book. But that day, her face destroyed everything I thought I knew. It destroyed every moment I was worried about offending someone by taking a stance. It destroyed every moment I let that worry keep me silent and on my own way. I have experienced pain, but nothing like this. Nothing like the tears rolling down her face. And “not thinking” about her tears, will never keep them from falling.
A month later, something different caught my eye. Three boys stood outside the Plan Parenthood. Waiting. I had experienced what the pain looked like after it was over, and that day I was about to see what the pain looked like in the midst of it all. Part of me wanted to glare at God. As if to say, “I can’t take anymore of this!” But this wasn’t from God. Pain like this could never be from God.
Those boys were from all walks of life, but they had one thing in common. Their faces were empty. The first, as if he’d given up. The second, as if he’d won a worthless war. And the third, as if he wasn’t even allowed to fight. Together, they looked as if they were waiting for what was the FARTHEST from freedom. The farthest from pro choice. The farthest from fully alive. As terrible as it sounds, it looked like they were waiting for death. And to be honest, I stopped still in my tracks. I couldn’t look away. Abortion is real, and it has to do with women AND men. I felt like yelling. I wanted to tell them to go stop it! To go get her! To love! I wanted them to know that they were more than this. But I’ve found recently, that sometimes, turning to the Lord in prayer is the loudest we could ever scream.
I started praying and remembered that it was the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn. Wow. That day became very real for me. Our Lady (Mary) appeared to Juan Diego while she was pregnant. She brought hope. A hope that even in her youth, in her unmarried state, in her suffering, and in her uncertainty of the future, she could trust in the Lord. She could trust in the beauty within her.
A close friend of mine had an abortion, and she said that coming to know the love of God was truly what brought her to life again. She told me to share that it is never too late to run to Him. You are still worthy of love. “You’ve got to believe that.” she said.
Ya know, a few years ago, I didn’t understand the reality of this whole “pro life/pro choice” argument. I had no idea. I was uninformed and frankly, selfish. If it wasn’t something that impacted me directly, I’d just swing with the majority. And back then “It’s my body and I do what I WANT with it” was SUPER hip.
But those days are over. I’m taking the honesty and truth I strive for on stage, to life.
Those three men… those three men were real. Their pain was something even the most influential pro choice advocate could not deny. I’m not about arguing or making people angry due to differing opinions, but the honest truth is something I will stand behind. Those men were the truth. That woman was the truth. And this world is pushing them towards a lie. I thank God that I am no longer “pro whatever”. I am for people. I am for life.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us