If Days Could Speak (January 22, 1973)
Do the days soak up the joy of weddings, births, and victories that take place during their hours?
Do they bend and bow under the weight of heaviness, weeping over deaths, losses, and tragedies?
Does September shudder every time the 11th rolls by, as it recalls the horror of human carnage and the blood that now stains the beginning of fall?
Will December 14th forever strain under the weight of sadness, remembering the children gunned down in the innocence of youth?
There are days that remain with us, carving out a space in the calendar, forcing us to rethink life in terms of before and after.
And then there are days whose sadness spreads. Quiet events that bring monumental changes. Effects felt not on the first day, but on the second, the third, the hundredth, the thousandth.
More than fourteen thousand days have passed since a quiet winter day in January, when the rights of an entire class of human beings were denied with a stroke of a pen, when the most powerful nation in the world determined to withhold protection from its most defenseless.
If January 22 could speak, what would it say?
Unlike other tragic days, this one comes and goes each year with little fanfare. If January 22 could speak, it would tell us of the ignobility of being ignored.
The tears of those affected are unseen, because they never had the chance to cry. Their suffering is silent, captured only in ultrasound images that show them scurrying away from the intruding instruments determined to destroy and dismember their fragile bodies.
The cries of January 22 are drowned out by partisan powers of politics, the clanging of coins and cash, the frightful sight of moms and dads marching for the right to end the lives of their children, as if a baby were only a burden and not a blessing.
Oh, the injustice of those who profit financially from the business of snuffing out of the weakest among us!
Oh, the scandal of politicians more concerned about protecting the rights of doctors seeking to kill than the rights of babies struggling to breathe!
Oh, the tragedy of a society that exercises its freedom in the willful choice to close their eyes to the ultrasound images, to close their minds to miracle of life blossoming in the womb!
But not forever.
One day, January 22 will not be shrouded in sadness.
A new generation is rising. We refuse to make unborn children invisible. We are unafraid to stand up to the entrenched interests of those who would deny a class of humans their right to live.
We envision a more beautiful world – a world where all are welcomed into existence, where our love for life overcomes our desire for convenience, where we rely on each other as we choose life rather than revel in our freedom to choose death.
Forty years have passed, and so have 50 million little ones.
But the message of a day can change.
January 22 might break under the unbearable weight of its tragic significance if not for another day on the calendar. If that day could speak, it would tell us of the darkness of death and the coldness of a tomb whose stillness was shattered when the stopped, silent heart of a crucified man suddenly began beating again.
Days can change. That day gives January 22 hope.