You get chatting to someone new at church at the end of a service. To you she seems perfectly fine. She is smiley, she is polite and articulate. She is breezy. Her name is ‘any person’. Church gathered is over and you go home and quickly forget about meeting her.
In private however ‘any person’ is crushed. Life is dark, gloomy and even contemptible to her own eyes. She struggles with feelings of poor self-esteem; she has uncontrollable fits of wailing and tears; she even secretly wishes to end it all.
She’s not brave enough to do it.
That’s not the point. She ended a life in her recent past. She’s only 24, but 4 years ago she terminated a pregnancy at 21 weeks. ‘Any person’ isn’t a married woman. This adds weight to the shame.
It is this episode which clamours all over her senses; her sense of worthiness; her desire for suicide. “How can I live when I’ve not allowed my child to?” she continually asks herself in the night.
Then ‘any person’ makes a friend at church who talks about a past abortion. The raging feeling of dread swells up into every sinew of her body.
Strangely though, this new friend has joy in her eyes. How is this possible?
She talks about how she nervously held the hands of Jesus as he slowly but surely took her to a place of healing. There is forgiveness. There isn’t any guilt in this place either. This place is called ‘new life’.
“Surely this place is made up?” rationalises ‘any person’.
No. It is the most real thing in existence.
New life can open up.
New life is real.
‘Any person’ is probably in your church….
Stuart Weir is the National Director for Care Scotland.
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