Pioneers Who Light Our Way

I was a high school junior in 1972 when she sat on the stage of our local high school. She wasn’t the speaker for the assembly that day. But she had arranged for the speaker to come.

The speaker was a woman who’d survived the Holocaust. She spoke about how it all began with abortion. It was abortion that devalued human life enough that other ways of killing the perceived-to-be-less-than-us became thinkable, then doable.

Remember, that was 1972. That was before Roe v. Wade (and Doe v. Bolton) legalized abortion in the US until birth.

I don’t remember the name of the speaker on stage. But several years later I would meet the woman who’d recruited the speaker and arranged for the assembly.

And she would become a lifelong friend and mentor.

In 1979, as the mother of two toddlers, I decided to go to the March for Life. I called a phone number within an announcement scrolling across my television screen about buses for the event.

It was the woman who’d sat on that stage when I was a schoolgirl who answered the phone.

She was the mother of eight–the oldest were teens. Her youngest a bit older than my firstborn. She became a kindly sort of aunt to my children.

I still quote her to people. As I was having a minorly uncomfortable medical test recently, I told the technician something my friend first said to me decades ago: “If you eat a frog for breakfast, nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Yes, it’s a silly saying. But silly sayings are sometimes a good way to put discomforts and inconveniences into perspective. The best way to discern the inconveniences from actual life problems. The best way to discipline yourself to put the unpleasant task first.

And in such ways, friends give their wisdom to us for us to pass on to others. I’ve repeated the saying to students many times.

When I struggled with my growing family, she encouraged me with her humility. I asked her once how she managed her family, her job as a nurse, and her ministry for life.

She replied, “Well, sometimes not very well.”

As I write, I’ve just come home from a fundraising dinner for our local crisis pregnancy center. My friend was always among the last to leave this yearly event. She was the first to receive an award from the organization for being a champion for life. But I like to think of her as a pioneer. For few trumpeted warnings about what would follow 1972. She was one of the few.

She can no longer attend such gatherings. She’s now widowed and in a home. Because of COVID, I am unable to visit her.

She didn’t live a perfect life. None of us ever does. But I remember the kind spirit, the love, the devotion to truth and right.

Pioneers blaze the trail for those who follow after them. It’s up to us who follow to carry on.

And only hope to do as well.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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13 Replies to “Pioneers Who Light Our Way”

  1. What a great post and a great mentor for you. I pray you can visit with her again in the near future. And I pray for all of us to have/be such examples for others.

  2. What a blessing to have such a mentor—humble, supportive, transparent! I’m sure she made an enormous difference in your life. Thank you for boldly speaking of abortion’s impact on our world, our viewpoints, and our futures. Your strong and honest voice is the voice of a prophet.

    1. Thank you, Melinda. My mother died a few years before I met my friend. She seemed like God’s way of giving me a new mom. May my voice reflect hers. God bless!

  3. Abortion was legal in several states prior to Roe and across the United States prior to 1900. Overturning Roe would simply revert the decision back to the states, and it is here- locally- that landmark decisions for life have made the biggest impact. In addition to local laws restricting abortion to certain times in pregnancy, access to education, birth control, and services (and compassion) to women in unplanned pregnancies cause numbers to dwindle. We can all make a difference in this Holocaust featuring sweet unborn babes; thank you, Nancy, for regularly using your blog to stand up for those who have no voice.

    1. Abortion was legal before 1900 because there had been no laws regarding it. It was the feminist movement–along with medical progress that made abortion illegal in every state by 1900. Where it became legal in the 1960s, it was not unregulated until birth. There were limits. You are correct, Candice, that the numbers are dwindling. We can make a difference. Thanks for your comments. God bless!

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