“People give their lives away when they fall in love. They surrender their schedules, their finances, even their bodies for the chance to be with the other.” _Jon Tyson, Beautiful Resistance: The Joy of Conviction in a Culture of Compromise
With everything from wearing face masks to trying to cultivate a healthy self-image to advocating the right to have an abortion, it is not uncommon to hear people stating “My Body, My Choice” as the logic behind their actions.
I get it.
The desire for personal autonomy is one of the most basic desires in the human heart. Even in the best of homes it doesn’t take long for this desire to manifest and by the time the teenage years are coming to end everyone in the family is ready to introduce their teenagers to the world in order for them to carve out their own path.
I can especially see why this slogan is a rallying cry for women who want the right to control whether or when they will pursue motherhood.
Having observed six world-class mothers up close (my mom, wife, mother-in-law, a daughter and daughter-in-law) I get it. Motherhood is tough! Just the process of giving birth whacks a women’s body big time. (My daughter gave birth to her last child “naturally” at home using a midwife. It was one of the most traumatic things I’ve ever witnessed. I can’t imagine how traumatic it was for her!)
And that is just the beginning. Once a woman chooses to become a mother she gives up personal autonomy at a level that is unprecedented. You don’t get to unplug children or flip an off switch. You’re not allowed to put them on a shelf and bring them out when the fancy suits you. Children are a 24/7 responsibility. They make messes, walk on your feet, and later on your heart. They fill up your calendar, drain your energy, and can clean out a pantry and refrigerator faster than a gold medalist can run a mile. They push back, rebel, resist, and yet they have those moments where their love and vulnerability melts a mother’s heart.
Bottom line, the choice to become a mother means the potential mom chooses to lay down her body (and life) for her children. This is the price of motherhood, there are no shortcuts.
This is true for anything of value. Whether it is marriage, business, a solder defending their country, being a teacher…whatever… to experience the best and to truly succeed means you will have to lay down your life and serve others.
“My body” is so limiting. It is such a narrow perspective. Making personal autonomy the benchmark and lens through which we view life eventually sucks us into a black hole that leave little room for anything else.
I remember hearing the story about a woman who had devoted her life to serving lepers at a leper colony. On one occasion a tourist was there observing her cleaning the oozing sores and disfigured bodies. The smell and atmosphere was overwhelming. The tourist remarked to the lady, “I wouldn’t do what you’re doing for a million dollars!” The lady looked up and quietly replied, “I wouldn’t either.”
THE ONE THING for today:
It saddens me how the world is so torn right now. I certainly don’t have all the answers. But this I know, the answers will include laying down our lives to serve a cause greater than our own little me-universe.