Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Last Amen

She returned to me on Friday. She looked less agitated than she had a few days before. I put down my work, composed myself for a serious exchange, and turned to face her.

"I can't make up my mind," she said.

I nodded. "I can only imagine how hard it must be."

"I want to know something," she said. "Did you always hold your current opinions?"

"About abortion, you mean? No, I didn't. They started to change about twenty years ago."

"Why?" she said.

I thought about it for a moment.

"If I were to say that it was a conclusion logically arrived at, I'd be lying to you. I think my current convictions are logically defensible, but only on the strength of a premise a lot of people reject."

She frowned. "What premise?"

"That conception produces a unique human being with a right to life."

"Oh." She smirked. "That's really the issue, isn't it?"

"Of course. People don't get worked up over demonstrable facts. They quarrel over things that can't be proved or disproved. When was the last time you saw a public demonstration about the Sun rising in the East?"

Her mouth fell open. I got that little thrill that says you've opened a new avenue of thought for someone else.

"Well," she said, "what about clones?"

I chuckled. "Let's wait until someone succeeds in cloning a human being to tackle that one."

"Okay," she said. "But I still can't make up my mind. Wait." She held up a hand. "You said you didn't arrive at your opinions that way."

I nodded.

"Well? How did you get there?"

I shrugged. "Conscience. The still, small voice."

"Oh." She sat back, looking satisfied. "Religion."

I shook my head. "No, conscience. Everyone has one. Perhaps our ability to hear them differs. But I imagine that you're thinking that my Catholicism has more to do with it."

"Doesn't it?" she said.

"Only in this sense," I said. "When I came to believe that abortion is morally wrong was when I first became qualified to become a Catholic. The order is important."

"Oh." She grimaced. "I'm not religious."

I did not reply.

Presently she said, "What's the point of it, anyway?"

"Of religion, or being a Catholic?"

"Either or both."

"That's a very long conversation, dear. If you're really interested, we should have it outside of work. Care to join me for lunch? My treat."

"Uh, not today. Next week sometime, maybe?"

I smiled. "Just let me know."

We are not given to know all the ripples our words and deeds might produce. In this as in all things, God is good. What man could bear to live with the knowledge that his lightest utterances would disrupt the entire future of Man? It's for the best that we deem ourselves, and our effects, finite. I wouldn't want to be able to see too far ahead; it would distract me from what I must do today.

But in reflecting on the above exchange, and the one before it, it occurs to me that the one and only predictable thing in life is its end: we shall all die. At the Particular Judgment, when I must answer to God for my deeds in life, a verdict will be rendered from which there is no appeal. It will be clear to me from the absolute self-knowledge conferred by one's entrance to eternity that it could be no other way, and all I will be able to say is So it is.

May God bless and keep you all.


Anonymous said...

If you believe in King Yeshua he will speak for you before the throne of the Divine Father.

pdwalker said...

That's a heavy burden placed upon you.

It's like reading one of your short stories, but this time it's real.

MTF said...

The beauty of savings grace.
Thanks for the nice words Mr. Porretto

Tom Kratman said...

A question to ask her, Fran: "Do you want and intend to have children someday?" This is an important question because if she does so intend, when she does actually have one, she is going to think back to the one she destroyed, if she does, and she is probably going to suffer quite a bit at what might have been. A LOT of women do.

furball said...

I'm not a woman, so I can never know her. Then again, I'm not ANYBODY else, so I can never know them.

But, unless I want to be all alone, sooner or later, I have to join with SOMEbody.

SOMEbody shares food, or SOMEbody looks me in the eye as I try to raise a child or SOMEbody sits with me at the fire as I cower through the long dark night.

SOMEbody nods at me as I get off my ass and til a field or work out a computational thingy and get a day's pay for a day's work.

A gun and a horde of stuff doesn't make anyone agree with my "outlook," though it might keep me alive for another month or two.

Sooner or later, I need to find someone OUT THERE who shares some sort of values with me, no matter how weak we might be. . . not just so that we can survive. But so that we can BELIEVE WE DESERVE TO SURVIVE.

It is absolutely insane that in 2013 white people, conservatives, old people, or ANYONE should feel that America seems antithetical to their values.

Out of 330 million people, some percentage of them must believe they have a right to survive, no?

Of the couple of hundred thousand black slaves who were brought here more than two hundred years ago, ok.

Forget the slavery all over the world and how the people of Africa freely chose to trade in human misery.

As for the "Founding Fathers," go ahead and get upset at their hypocrisy.


Am I safe? Are YOU safe? I don't care one bit if you are black, white, Muslim, Jewish, Italian, weird, gothic, punk, gay or generic "OTHER". . .


Now, what caused that? Old white guys? Slavery? Chance?

And what is making America LESS of a good place? What is making America the land of NSA, TSA and a political IRS?

It's not white people. It's not old people. It's not "knee-jerk Conservatives."

When the lights go out, when the food gets hard to come by, when we're all afraid - AGAIN - of our neighbors, who was it who spread that fear and sowed that difference?

If you're black, if you're a woman, if you're a God-fearing person, if you're just a scared person like me. . . if you're a homosexual, if you're alone in the dark, if you want to TRY to make things better. . . I GUARANTEE you want to get to know the people you think are right-wing gun nuts.

Our current liberal class - Deb Schultz, Ed Schultz, Pelosi, Rachel Maddow, Alec Baldwin, etc., will turn over and expose their tummies before they would ever stand up for whatever it is they believe.

Nobody is gonna read this and realize it doesn't matter that Obama is black or socialist or inept or anti-American.

Or that 52% of Americans forgot their legacy.

We're gonna be in the dark and have to find out - again - what really matters.

Francis W. Porretto said...

You know, Tom, I've been kicking myself for having forgotten that. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Nice job. Her conscience is troubling her and she is seeking permission from a moral authority before she can kill this small person. I will pray for both of you.

Xealot said...

It's easy to become a dedicated cynic in these degenerate times. But, sometimes it is possible to reach people, if only for a moment. Such moments are all the more valuable for their rarity.

Thanks for the words of wisdom.