She was beautiful.
Actually, I’m not sure she was a “she.” She was technically an embryo and it was too early for a gender reveal. But “it” feels dehumanizing for a creature as lovely as she. And she was definitely human.
I met her on an ultrasound screen. In my position as a Client Advocate at our local pregnancy center I’ve been privileged to witness hundreds of ultrasounds. But this one was special.
Her body reminded me of a warm cocoon, cradling her beating heart as it flickered like an emerging butterfly. Her yolk sac floated above her head, a translucent, heart-shaped balloon. The dark gestational sac provided contrast to her bright form.
The nurse and I hushed in her holy presence. We beheld her beauty. Imago Dei.
Sadly, she is no longer with us, her life cut short by a mother who viewed her but did not value her. Blind to her beautiful brilliance, deaf to her unborn child’s voice.
I grieved the loss of this brief life. Her ultrasound image, etched into my memory and her essence, impressed into my heart. She was a living being, skillfully created. Now she’s gone.
In the midst of my sorrow, I stumbled upon something which helped me understand my emotional response to her passing. It was a definition of agape, one of the many Greek words for “love”:
“Agape occurs when an individual sees, recognizes, understands, or appreciates the value of an object or a person, causing the viewer to behold this object or person in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder, and sincere appreciation. Such great respect is awakened in the heart of the observer for the person or object he is beholding that he is compelled to love it...Agape is the highest form of love–a self-sacrificial type of love that moves the lover to action for the sake of the beloved.” (Rick Renner)*
I realized I was grieving because I had loved. As I marveled at the Master’s workmanship, I had been moved to love, just as He loves. The presence of grief proves there was love.
My coworkers and I loved this little one. We admired her beauty. We mourn her loss.
Even when her own mother could not. The sacrifices love required of her were simply too great for her to bear. So we bear them.
God loves this young woman, too. Beautiful, she also reflects Divine Image. He weeps over the choices she has made. He waits patiently for her to turn and receive His merciful touch. He will lovingly embrace her, just as He welcomed her little butterfly when she winged her way heavenward.
For He is the Lover of our Souls. He fastened His gaze upon us, the undeserving objects of His love, and decided we were worth the sacrifice. His love compelled, then propelled Him all the way to the cross, where He laid down His life so we might live–and love.
“Then Jesus wept. The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” (John 11:35-36, NLT)
*From “Sparkling Gems from the Greek,” Volume II by Rick Renner.
An Important Note: If you or someone you love has experienced the pain of abortion, please know there is forgiveness and healing to be found. Most pregnancy centers offer post-abortion support in a caring, confidential and non-judgmental atmosphere. You will be loved.