I wrote this song for a friend in pain one late night. Its my expression of hope and love for all of you that are looking for the real. For real hope, and real love. Hope and love that are actively shared from one soul to another. Me to you.
A Life Worth Living
The kitchen was almost clean when she heard his footsteps in the hall. Almost all of the teenagers who had attended the weekend’s events had said their goodbyes and gone home, some by airplane. Adam’s flight had been significantly delayed, so her husband had brought the student back to the conference hall.
He was sixteen years old, short of stature but strong and fast on his feet. She had not spoken with him during the three days of fun and learning, but she knew his name and had prayed for him frequently over the past two years since she had met him in an online community for creative kids. She knew he was often angry and depressed, and this sometimes spilled over onto the people around him.
Her own baby was seven months along in her belly, kicking and keeping her awake at night. She had spent the week in the kitchen, facilitating the fun and interaction by making the meals and snacks. Her older daughters had helped with the cooking when her feet had swollen from standing too long, but now they were at the airport, saying goodbye to friends. She was wiping the stainless steel island countertop, her belly pressed against it’s rounded edge as she leaned forward to reach the outside edges when Adam walked into the room.
“Hey,” she said, in a friendly voice, smiling at him.
Adam’s eyes darted around the room, ignoring her presence, but after a moment he replied in his deep, quiet voice, “Hey.”
She waited, knowing he was not the kind to “hang out” with an old mama of his own free will. But he was quiet for so long, she finally looked at him again and asked, “Can I get you anything? Most stuff is packed, but if you’re hungry, I could probably—”
“Have you ever had an abortion?” Adam asked abruptly.
Her hands involuntarily circled her belly, hidden beneath the taut, white apron. She searched his face, noting the antagonism mixed with diffidence.
“No, I would never abort a baby—“ she started.
“Why not? It’s not a living human being yet.” He asserted.
“Yes, it is.” She said quietly, looking at him with her full attention. “If he was born right now, this baby would live and breathe just fine. Right now his heart is beating, and he can hear my voice and recognize it. I love him - I love all my kids and I would never, ever, consider aborting a single one of them.”
“What if you knew he was going to grow up and be a bad person and — and hate you?”
Adam’s arms were crossed defiantly over his chest, and his knuckles were white where he gripped his own muscular forearms. As though he realized she was aware of his stress, he purposely relaxed his arms, and moved away from the door frame where he had been leaning. He walked toward her and picked up the cloth she had abandoned and began to fold it carefully.
“Children aren’t born bad,” she answered. “They might be trained to be bad through abuse, hate and neglect - but they aren’t born that way. And even if I did know that this baby was going to grow up and hate me, I would still not abort him. I would pray for him all the more, and love him with all of my attention, in the hope that I could show him—”
“My mom said she wishes she had aborted me.” Adam interrupted, and with careless diffidence he cast the cloth away.
“No!” She cried involuntarily and he looked up at her, startled. Her arms wrapped around her belly, as though to protect her baby from the words he had spoken. “That’s a terrible thing to say! She should want you and love you!”
Adam stared at her, surprised at her vehemence. Then he picked up the discarded cloth and turned away. He pretended to wipe a countertop, his back turned to her distress. Without pausing to second guess her own actions, she walked up behind him, put her arms around his stiffened shoulders and pulled him against her belly, hugging him awkwardly but with strong intention.
“It was wrong of her to say that,” she said, quietly now, to his bowed head. “I would never have said that if you were my baby. I would have wanted you as a son. I do want you, even though you’re not mine.”
“Why?” He asked, his voice sounding constricted. He kept his face turned away and his body unresponsive, except for an almost imperceptible tremble.
“Why!?” She exclaimed, “I’d be so proud of how fast you are on the soccer field! Nobody could catch you, even though most of them had longer legs than you do.”
“All of them.” Adam inserted.
“And you are well on your way to being a brilliant programmer. My husband says you learn faster than he can teach.”
Adam was silent, so she went on. “And I love the way you see the younger kids and help them out. You don’t despise the weak or the disadvantaged, but instead you teach them and try to help them become better.”
“I know what it’s like,” Adam said quietly.
“You know what it’s like,” she echoed, “and you actively try to make the world a better place. Which means without you the world would be a worse place. We need you. I need you. I wish you were mine, so I could tell you that every day.”
Adam’s body relaxed a little and she hugged him tighter. Inside of her belly, her baby kicked against the pressure.
“What the heck?” Adam exclaimed.
“He kicked you,” she laughed and let go as Adam pulled away to turn around and look at her belly with wonder.
“Is he jealous?” Adam asked, half teasing, and half relieved to change the subject. His eyes were not quite dry.
“I doubt it,” she said, smiling. She put one hand on her belly, and with the other, she reached out to squeeze Adam’s shoulder. “Because,” she said, “he knows I love him too.”