As she spoke to me about her beliefs on abortion, I wanted to stop her, and tell her my story.
I’ve sat with two loved ones as they suffered through the difficult decision and consequences of ending a pregnancy. It was a brutal human experience, and gave me an insight to something I never expected to witness.
In moments like that, “choice” doesn’t seem to be the right word.
So, when she told me they should be arrested for terminating a pregnancy, the familiar burn of disagreement started to fire in me.
There were so many things I wanted to say. I wanted to change her mind, to argue, to disagree. Its a natural response.
But, if my story brought me to my beliefs, then I needed to know how her story brought her to her beliefs.
“When you listen, you may learn something new”
— Dalai Lama
So, I asked:
“Thank you for sharing that. Tell me your story? I’d love to know how you came to this point of view.”
She seemed surprised by my interest.
“Why? It doesn’t matter. Your sign said Free Listening, so I gave you something to listen to.”
“Give me more to listen to.”
“They should be locked up! It’s wrong. It’s not right to go out and sleep with whoever, then just vacuum away the result like it never happened.”
She paused…then inhaled the entire world.
“And it’s not fair. All I’ve ever wanted to be is a mom. My whole life, I knew I was meant to have children. Then, when I was 18—18!—the doctor told me I’d never have children. My ovaries were damaged, or missing...it doesn’t matter which. I kept it a secret, and when my husband found out, he left me. I’m alone, my body doesn’t work, I’m old…who will ever love me…”
I wondered if she could hear my heart breaking.
“…so, I guess I get upset when I see people who can get pregnant, who can have kids, who’s bodies work…who can be moms…and they just choose not to…”
Sometimes, there’s nothing to “disagree” with.
I didn’t need to be right.
I just needed to be there.
She wiped away a few tears, gave me a hug, and thanked me for listening.
She exhaled, and walked back into the RNC circus.
Maybe one day, she’ll hear my story. But today, it was my turn to hear hers.