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Answers I Wish I Had

6:00:00 AMEvelyn Hildebrand

One night in September, right at the tail end of summer, I was exhausted.  I had woken up before the sun, before my roommate, and before the birds - by 8pm, I was curled up in bed, ready to watch a chick flick, eat fancy sea-salted dark chocolate and end up crying.  Sometimes that carefully buried bottle of tears just needs to be broken before the world can start looking better, you know?  

I did end up crying. But my tears weren't shed in sympathy with Elizabeth Bennett's heartbreak over the enigmatic Mr. Darcy.  Winding down into watching my movie, I started scrolling through facebook and I found a blog: Passionate Perseverance - Courtney’s story. (1) 

Courntey Lenaburg is a twenty-two-year-old blondie with buck teeth who has dealt with severe seizures and a laundry list of health issues from infancy. Her mother, Mary, has chosen to write her daughter's story and share it so that other people can come to know her child. For twenty-two years, Mary has clothed, cared for, cuddled and comforted her precious daughter. Now, after twenty-two years, Courtney is dying. Her body is shutting down. Her weight is dropping day by day. 

I was addicted. Post after post after post, Mary cursed, cried and called on her Lord to keep His Promises. Her honesty is brutal - and beautiful.


I wish I had all the answers - answers for Mary Lenaburg and Courtney.  Answers for so many suffering people. I had spent that September morning outside an abortion clinic, speaking to the women going in and offering them help. If you are pro-choice, roll your eyes, but stay with me for five more lines. Please.

Clinic hurts.  I've heard so many stories - and seen so much suffering I wish I could fix:  the woman whose daughter's boyfriend was a drug addict who'd already gotten her pregnant twice before.  The girl whose friend was 17 and just wanted to finish high school.  The painfully young granddaughter, accompanied by an irate grandmother.   I don’t have all the answers.  I can’t take away all their suffering.  I don’t have an instant your-life-is-going-to-be-better-now-quick-fix.  Damn, I wish I did.  

Life sucks sometimes.  There's no easy way out.

Courtney is not going to get better. She is going to get worse. Her family is going to face incredible heartbreak when she passes. Choosing to love her during her final days is a cross that comes with many, many tears. When a woman chooses to keep her child, her life is not going to get easier. It may very well get harder. Choosing life will require tears and heartache, suffering and uncertainty.

Like I said, sometimes, life just sucks. 

The question becomes, why make a choice that is so difficult? So heartbreaking? So hard? Why does Courtney's family continue to care for her with such tender concern when the know she is not going to get better? Why would a mother chose to back out of an abortion, marketed as such an easy fix?  

Bottom line - human life is a value, and as a value, human life demands a certain response. A response of love. A response that chooses love in the face of the inconvenient, the frustrating and the painful. Hildebrand terms this love a value response. (2)  

In a Star-Wars-esque comparison, human beings are equipped with radar for detecting and responding to the demands of value. This radar - conscience - cannot force us to love because we are free. But if we do not love human persons when it's hard and horrible, we will destroy our souls. Don't take that statement as a threat from a religious fanatic, but a pseudo-scientific fact. Destroy - to break apart. Soul - the deepest part of yourself, the place where conscience resides.

Refuse to respond and the deepest part of yourself will break apart.

Respond and your heart might break, but you will find the wholeness and humanity that Mary describes, the wholeness and humanity that gives and gives from the midst of a broken heart to find that the emptiness is suddenly not so empty.  

(1) Passionate Perseverance,
(2) The Nature of Love, Dietrich Von Hildebrand

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  1. Thank you for your beautiful words ❤️

  2. Beautifully written. I, too, am a card carrying member of the Mary & Courtney Lenaburg Fan Club! They inspire me to want to be a better person.


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