One Life Lost

They say that statistically forty percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. I’ve cognitively known those numbers for a long time, but the funny thing about such statistics is that you never truly think you’ll be a part of them until you are.

When my wife found out she was pregnant with our second child, she sprung the news on me by sending me into the bathroom to fix some plumbing problem with the pregnancy test conspicuously displayed on the counter. Like a guy, I didn’t notice the pregnancy test until she pointed it out because I was trying to fix the problem.

That evening I hugged my wife and our daughter, Lizzy, and said, “We’re a family of four now.”

Unlike our first pregnancy, this one wasn’t a surprise. Since we got married, Abigail and I had wrestled with how the Bible persistently and overwhelmingly describes children as a blessing—“the heritage of the Lord,” as one psalmist penned it. Meanwhile, our society doesn’t.

Our society is paradoxically obsessed with sex and fixated on preventing its natural consequences. We celebrate almost every form of sexual interaction and invest our money in pills and latex. In true American style, we want pleasure on credit—all the fun now with no investment. Meanwhile a major part of the cost of our lack of self-control is abortion, an inherently selfish institution that places our desires over the needs of the next human generation.

Around the time my wife got pregnant, the series of videos detailing how Planned Parenthood was selling aborted baby parts were being released. Just the year before (2014) a similar incriminating secret recording of the NBA Clippers owner Donald Sterling—outing him as racist—resulted in him swiftly being banned from the NBA. However, the videos of Planned Parenthood staff discussing and laughing about the sale of fetal tissue accomplished almost nothing.

As my wife and I listened and read and mourned, we pondered over what we should do. We decided that we wanted our family to stand against the culture, that we wanted to show that children matter by living that example out. As a result, Abigail and I stopped trying to prevent conception, even though we had a six month old.

Three days after the positive pregnancy test and six weeks into the pregnancy, Abigail started bleeding. She went to bed, and we made a doctor’s appointment for the next day. When the doctor asked if Abigail wanted to see the sonogram, she answered, “Not really.” I don’t know of a feeling of loss that can equal the premature vacancy of a womb that held life.

For weeks I didn’t know what I felt or how to help my wife recover. As I held her, I told her I loved her.

“That’s the fifth time you’ve said that this morning,” she said.

I didn’t know what else to say. Much as I love words, they have their limits.

It’s no surprise to me that the greatest distraction and source of joy in the midst of the loss was my daughter. At six months, all her waking hours were dedicated to discovering the world. The world was vast, and her curiosities were simple—can I reach it, how does it feel, what does it taste like? It’s a peaceful simplicity; life in the moment and nothing else.

Even as I watched her puzzle out the world, I remembered how she was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and body. I’m grateful for the medical team on hand that day, grateful that we got to keep her.

I woke each morning the week after the miscarriage numb at the thought of one lost life, and I couldn’t begin to comprehend the loss that legally permeates our country and our world. I’ve never quite gotten over the realization that humans abort their offspring more frequently than they kill their enemies.

The math is shockingly simple really. Approximations of wartime casualties run between 150 million and 1 billion.[i] Meanwhile, the number of abortions worldwide are estimated to be beyond 1.7 billion.[ii] Human are more likely to kill their children in the womb than their enemies.

A few days before Abigail took that pregnancy test, I set my alarm to ring at five o’clock every afternoon. It’s a simple reminder to pray for the rights of the unborn and the social mindsets that allow us to ignore them and embrace their murder. Five years, three cellphones, and three children later, that alarm is still ringing every day at 5:00 p.m.

Meanwhile the abortion count rises as the voiceless and defenseless die—unheard, discarded, and forgotten.


[i] https://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/books/chapters/what-every-person-should-know-about-war.html

[ii] https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/1.72-billion-abortions-worldwide-in-the-last-40-years

The Working Artist

One of the life realities for the vast majority of writers is that you still have to pay the bills somehow, and even the small fraction of writers who become financially successful typically aren’t successful until later in their life. Unless you want to do the hardcore starving artist thing, most writers have a separate career, even many famous authors.

J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were both academics, George Orwell was a police officer, Kurt Vonnegut manager a Saab dealership, and so on. For my part, I’ve spent the last several years working as an automotive detailer, an inglorious but pragmatic trade that has paid the bills for my family.

When people find out I’m an automotive detailer, they almost inevitably want to know the worst vehicles that I’ve detailed. At this point in my detailing career, that’s a little like God asking Abram to count the stars. However, I’m going to try, stretching back more than five years and four thousand vehicles.   

If you have a sensitive stomach, you might want to bail here. This is going to get graphic:

The Book of Job: A Guide in Suffering

Introduction

It was my junior year of college and I was sitting in my Western Civilization Class at the University of Kansas. While I’d already taken Western Civ. at community college, the credit had only been accepted as an elective, so there I was taking Western Civ. for a second time. Admittedly the K.U. rendition was markedly better, despite being taught by a graduate student who was—let’s face it—probably the epitome of what I would have been in his place, reserved, a little disheveled, and somewhat geeky.

The primary attribute that made the K.U. class superior was the amount of time we spent reading primary sources like The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Aeneid. There was still the same anti-Christian attitude that I expected when I chose the attend the University, in this class partially manifested in the way that the course selected one of the more amenable and lucid chapters in the Koran while selecting the book of Job from the Bible for analysis.

I still remember my instructor discussing the story of Job and in essence saying, “The God in this story is no different than the gods in the Epic of Gilgamesh. He is a bully, who toys with the lives of men.” From that moment on, I found myself drawn to the story of Job, determined to understand it—to the extent that the book remains one of my favorite to this day.

What follows includes a number of my thoughts that have helped me to decipher this story and some of the lessons I have learned from it. I will acknowledge up front that I am not a Biblical scholar in the traditional sense, nor do I speak or read Hebrew. I am, however, a passionate student of history and lover of literature. Consequently, I lean hard on literary methods. The beauty of the Bible and how the Holy Spirit works is that God delights in teaching us using the tools we have. Continue reading “The Book of Job: A Guide in Suffering”

The President Deserves Your Respect

Preface:

What follows is something I wrote in 2015 about President Barak Obama. I thought about updating it—transposing Obama with Trump and changing some details—and when the backlash came, bringing out the original version to drive the point home.

That would have been the more artistic route, but I’d rather speak plainly and challenge those who read to do the transposing themselves, hoping that the reader will engage and reflect. It’s easy not to like Donald Trump, but everything I’m about to say is just as true with our current President as with the prior.

President Obama Deserves Our Respect, Even If We Don’t Agree With Him

President Barack Obama recently visited my alma mater, the University of Kansas. When I perused the pictures and articles surrounding the event, I was overwhelmed by the rudeness President Obama’s visit sparked. Even though K.U. is the most liberal school in a state that voted Republican in both elections, I was still surprised by the backlash.

I won’t go into detail on some of the comments; you can find them easily enough if you’re curious. I realize that with President Obama’s final term coming to an end a lot of Republicans are happy to see him go, and many Democrats are disenchanted with what he’s accomplished. Regardless of your feelings about President Obama, the man deserves respect for several reasons. Continue reading “The President Deserves Your Respect”

1. Atlas Shrugged

If six years ago you were to tell me my favorite book would be an epic, philosophical, economic thriller written by an atheist, I would have assumed that you don’t know me. Nonetheless, I went through Atlas Shrugged three years in a row (2015-2017), and each read deepened my affinity for the book.

Atlas Shrugged grabbed my attention immediately with the characters. Because the story is philosophical in nature, many of the characters are idealistic, yet Ayn Rand writes intriguing backstories for these people. I often found that it was my interest in the characters that spurred me onward in the story. Let me introduce just a few of the protagonists: Continue reading “1. Atlas Shrugged”