I Was 22, Pregnant and Alone: Adoption Was The Way
In this piece I wrote which was published in this month’s issue of The Mennonite magazine, I took on the call to reflect on a favorite scripture from the Bible. My “Shaped by Scripture” reflection shares how one small part of a well-known story about Jesus plunged my life and plans into the best kind of tailspin.
Here’s how it starts:
The rowing moments: A reflection on Jesus calling the first disciples
“When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.” Luke 5:11
I love the pain found in the story of Jesus calling the first disciples in Luke because it takes me back to my unwanted pregnancy.
I first felt the baby when I was resting during my three-mile walk along the Cedar River in Iowa. The melting snow had caused the river to swell and edge over the banks, flooding the path at one point. The trail that cut around the Cedar River is a path I walked every morning with my sister during my pregnancy. We walked every day because every day I had to face the truth that I was growing a human I did not want. But the morning I felt the baby move I happened to be walking alone.
When I reached the shallows—the part of the river with frequent floods and bordered by houses built on stilts—the walking path was impassable. It lay nestled under water as though a large glassy tabletop had been rolled across the path. I tried skirting the water, but it seemed the river had not actually spilled over the bank but seeped up from the ground to form a lake of sorts.
So the arc I made through the woods was large and added time and lots of barriers for me to climb between, through, around. As I pushed myself over the trunk of a fallen tree and stepped down to the other side, my body front-heavy, I sat down and thought of Simon the fisher. I watched the ducks quake quietly and push around the glassy water tabletop. I heard the rush of the brown river swim with broad strokes. When my heart slowed and I settled into my repose, I felt my baby nudge my stomach as though tapping me awake from a dream. And suddenly there were two people sitting on the tree stump, and I looked around me but found no one else to corroborate that truth. Just me. And the baby.
That movement in my inner waters had me sit a bit straighter and lean my ear toward my core, hoping to hear an answer—the question every moment being, Should I keep you or give you? While I waited for the answer, the ducks seemed content in their new, still water. They didn’t pace around the edge like a cat on a ledge but just walked right in. Were they aware that the water that used to send them shooting downriver was now transformed, stilled and solemn yet the same?
So my baby and I sat at the edge of the floodwaters, and I wondered aloud with an aching anger about what had become of me and that river. Is this what abundant life is, God?
And here’s how it ends…read the full transcript over where it was published on The Mennonite.