…..all I do is fret over my job options…..so tonight I am not going to talk about it.
Instead, I am going to talk about things that will anger some readers, but stick with me, I live in the trenches of a war and I am telling you what I see.
I’m living the teenage dream in adolescent clinic (a hated rotation amongst baby loving pediatricians). I went to planned parenthood last week. ( That should be enough for potential dismissal from my potential employers.) I saw a pap smear in a lady older than I. That was it. But it came oddly after a week of strange events. The first was a sermon on Exodus 1. I love Exodus! Its rich in metaphor and is a beautiful tale of grace, God’s Faithfulness and his master plan. The sermon was centered around the Midwives named in Chapter 1, remembered for their courage in SAYING no to infanticide in the face of great personal danger, they also sort of saved the world in the process or at least the Israelites and the lineage of Jesus. This led to a blessedly brief but slightly theologically misplaced rant on abortion. I shifted uncomfortably…because while I see some heads nodding in the crowd, I want to put my head in my hands and weep…weep for the little girls…all the little girls growing up in the inner city who have stolen my heart. What about them? Who will be brave for them? While we stand here and shake our heads in our self-righteousness, who stands up for stolen childhoods of these children…
I have been passing out contraception to sexually active teenagers for two straight weeks like its a trick-a-treat event. I have had timid, petite straight A students tell me they had sex for the first time three days ago and I have had defiant 17 yo boys brag about their exploits. I had tearful young women tell me about their abuse, I had scared young men in prison scrubs tell me that they are afraid to go home and get hit and its better to be in jail. Still another straight -A student has developed arthritis due to caring for a bed bound parent, still another is in a homeless shelter, still another has dropped out of school so her single grandmother and her can eat with her fast food money….There are so few parents involved, I sometimes forget that these children have parents and aren’t orphans….the parents are in jail or don’t have custody or have no idea their kid is asking me for contraception because affection in sex is the only granteed affection they have… The drugs…OH THE DRUGS….the violence…so much violence and they have been watching it their whole lives… Today I had a middle schooler ask me for birth control, she got raped last year…Her middle school friends are taking condoms to school dances……
…the worse moment by far was last Tuesday, in my OWN clinic (not in adolescent clinic), a high school freshmen came in for a sports physical. She had sex for the first time two weeks ago (ok for love, labor day weekend…she is like the fourth kid this month who debuted on that weekend…) and wants to start contraception. As I am writing her prescriptions, my nurse comes up to me and whispers…..She is pregnant…. My heart falls. I find a box of Kleenex, I walk into the room and tell her. Her face falls, she can’t believe it. I stroke her hand, I hold her for a few moments. I offer to tell her Mom for her. She nods and asks me to do it outside the room. I find her Mother in the waiting room, i find an empty exam room. The mother wails for her only child who as of today is no longer a child.
I find myself teary eyed. Sad for everyone in the room. Wanted and Unwanted. Child and Not Child. Where do we begin? Where do we go from here?
Two days later I am sitting in small group next to my friend and comrade in arms in adolescent clinic (fellow resident and believer) who is also 36 weeks pregnant. As our discussion of the sermon reached the brief rant. We pour our hearts out, so desperate to tell people the truth about our kids, our friends are intimidated by our outpouring of grief but compassionate. We end in prayer and both my friend and I find tears on our faces, clinging to one another silently weeping for the little girls. Oh the little girls and the boys.
I am not saying they are not making poor choices but lets remember that there are so many things that they never had a choice in particularly in their fragile early childhoods….
Inner city teenagers do not look as pretty on glossy magazine covers as ultrasounds and babies….but they are dying too.
It has many forms.
But let us not be so quick to fail to understand
that not everyone gets to make choices
not all children get to be loved
and supported and fed
do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belong to such as these…
I don’t know what that looks like
But it doesn’t look like this.
Let’s be brave.