Updated: Sep 6, 2020
While sporadically watching both political conventions in the last couple of weeks, I heard a speech that stopped me in my tracks. It was given by Sister Diedre Byrne, M.D., an army surgeon who became a nun in order to "serve the poor and the sick." Here's the quote that pricked my heart:
"As a physician, I can say without hesitation: Life begins at conception. While what I have to say may be difficult for some to hear, I am saying it because I am not just pro-life, I am pro-eternal life. I want all of us to end up in heaven together someday."
Those of you who really know me will acknowledge that I stay away from the fray of politics -- on this blog, on Facebook, on Instagram, etc. I have dear friends whose political opinions differ widely from mine, and I respect and appreciate all of them. You know that I'm a Christian and a conservative, Southern, white woman. Nothing I'm about to type will surprise you. I have no intention of telling you how to vote, but after I heard the Army surgeon/nun speak, I felt compelled to list for myself, if for no other reason, the things I am FOR. The Pros of Connie Pearson, if you will. Two of my Pros are the same as Sister Byrne's, so I'll start with those.
1. I am Pro -- ETERNAL LIFE. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to provide salvation by dying on the cross for my sins. I believe I will spend eternity with Him in heaven, and I want all of you to be there, too.
2. I am Pro -- LIFE. With 15 grandchildren, surely you do not think I would be anything other than pro-life. But, I am also pro- ALL PEOPLE -- "red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight." With a black granddaughter, you'd better believe that Birti's life matters to me, but so does Baby Sarah Ruth, who is yet to be born. My life is much richer as a result of those two, along with Allie, Luke, Nathan, Seth, Margaret, Megan, Penelope, Rosemary, Samuel, Bethany, Silas, Enoch and Beatrix.
3. I am Pro -- MARRIAGE and FAMILY. One woman + one man committed to each other until death parts them. I am so excited that Steve and I will celebrate our 50th anniversary next March. What a gift he is to me.
In terms of family, I am the result of a wonderful heritage filled with great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, nieces, nephews, and it is my goal to pass down a similar gift to my children and grandchildren. Having dinner together, building traditions, keeping in touch -- whatever it takes. My three children know that if we ever have a serious conflict, they will find me camped out in their driveway until we work things out. I love them fiercely and unconditionally.
4. I am Pro -- TRUTH. And I believe the ultimate Truth is found in the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16 -- "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" and Psalm 119:60 -- "The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting."
5. I am Pro -- PATRIOTISM. Or, as grandson Sam called it during Cousins Camp -- "patrioticism." I love the United States of America. Having visited and lived in other countries, I completely acknowledge how fortunate I am to have been born in this great country. When I was teaching elementary and middle school music, my favorite programs each year were filled with students wearing red, white, and blue, waving flags and singing songs like "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Fifty Nifty United States," "God Bless America," and everything in between.
6. I am Pro -- LAUGHTER. Even if I am the butt of the jokes, I want to hear laughter and join in loudly. There is so much darkness in the world, I believe it is necessary to lift those clouds with happiness and pure joy. I love laughing until I can't catch my breath and tears run down my face. I believe laughter has healing powers, so I want to laugh often. One of my biggest wishes, and if you attend I hope you'll see that my children fulfilled it, is for my funeral to be full of funny stories and laughter, along with a clear presentation of the Gospel.
7. I am Pro -- GRATITUDE. My parents taught me to say "thank you," and I taught our children. (I sure hope they're still saying those words). I need to say thank you to Steve more often, that's for sure. I believe that a heart filled with gratitude will have much less room for hate, or criticism, or bitterness, or regret. I try to start my prayers with "Thank You, Dear Father, for__" And from there, I could literally go on for days.
8. I am Pro -- MUSIC. During my years of piano study, I listened to and played pieces from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary periods. All wonderful. I learned the hymns of my faith from early childhood, and I still cherish them. In Ecuador, Steve and I saw the benefit of uninhibited worship with freedom of expression and came to truly love many of the more contemporary praise and worship songs. Whatever brings a person closer to God is useful, worthy, and valuable -- in my opinion. Truthfully, I also love soft jazz, Broadway show tunes and the romantic ballads of the 60's and 70's. Music can bring tears to my eyes quicker than anything else. Good tears, you understand.
9. I am Pro -- LEARNING. My parents sacrificed a LOT to provide a college education for me. Steve and I made it a savings priority in our early years so our children could attend a college or university after high school. We paid for their bachelor's degrees, bolstered by their scholarships and part-time jobs. They went on to add 3 master's degrees and 1 doctorate degree that they paid for themselves. We trust that they are saving to provide similar opportunities for all the grandchildren.
One of my favorite bosses during my teaching years was Jeremy Jones. He constantly stressed the importance of making lifelong learners out of our students and being lifelong learners ourselves. I think of that often and am committed to having that mindset.
10. I am Pro -- ADVENTURE. One of my personal "Thou shalt nots" is "Thou shalt not be boring." I have no intention of sitting down and saying "I'm done" before the very end of my life. There's too much world yet to see, people to meet, stories to hear, food to taste, folks who need to hear about Jesus. I never want my children to think, "Poor Mom. I'd better go check on her." Instead, I want them to think, "I wonder what Mom's up to today." Travel writing and blogging is the perfect excuse to stay on this road.
Some of my favorite marching orders from the Bible are found in Psalms 37:4-5:
"Delight yourself in the Lord, And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it."
Thank you for allowing me to clearly state my convictions. If your views are different from mine, I can assure you we are still friends.
P.S. If you haven't discovered the blog of Sean Dietrich, called "Sean of the South," I believe you'd like it. His words have caused me unrestrained laughter more times than I can count, plus he's a musician and describes himself as "a recovering Southern Baptist." :) Here's a recent post as an example -- https://seandietrich.com/how-sweet-the-sound/
P.P.S. As I continue to ponder this subject, I can think of more of my PROS -- FRIENDS, the CHURCH (the one Jesus founded and called His Bride), BEAUTY (in nature, in people, in table settings, in food presentations), etc. etc. But, those will be subjects for another post.