If you are pro-life minded like I am, there has been something heavy hanging in the air ever since Barack Obama became our president elect. It feels like some sort of doomsday on the abortion front is about to occur, and it's hard to go about life with this knowledge. One of the worst discoveries I've made as an adult is that the cliche 'ignorance is bliss' is 100% true. Back in 2001 I went to Calcutta, India for a few weeks on a mission trip, and seriously, I was depressed for an entire year afterward because of what I saw there. After seeing countless families stretched out on the sidewalks to sleep at night and after carrying skeletal patients at Mother Teresa's home for the dying, I felt completely disillusioned with the American lifestyle. I also felt utterly powerless. When tragedy becomes personal--when a real starving child is standing in front of you vs. staring out of a magazine photograph-- there's really two options: try to make peace with the knowledge of despair while working for change, or shove it to the back of the mind and forget about it.
After Obama was elected I felt angry, fed up, and just plain sad for a few weeks before I felt like something had to give. Overwhelmed with the intensity of my disgust for the lack of care with which far too many people treat the abortion issue, I decided to try the 'oh well, what can I do?' approach. Maybe having a rabidly pro-abortion president wouldn't be such a big deal after all. And so, I haven't read anything about Obama by choice for the past few months because it can be so disheartening. But I'm not sure it's working for me. Well, I know it's not working. I've almost stopped praying for an end to abortion and I've barely thought about getting connected to the Pittsburgh pro-lifers who I know are out there. It's tempting to become one of the persons I say I don't understand anymore; someone who is bothered by the fact that abortion is legal in all 50 states up to the moment of birth, but not bothered enough to do something about it. I know that shutting up about abortion would be a major failing because I am certain that God has called me to stand against this particular evil. It just would be so much easier not to.
I don't have many answers at this point as to how to carry on. I'm still at a loss over how to live with the knowledge that the simple task of just staying alive is such a struggle for so many people. I'd like to ask some wise folks who confront serious evil and ugliness every day how they maintain some form of happiness. Is that even possible? I have some vague ideas; massive devotion to prayer and the Eucharist top the list. Maybe that's enough. Another cliche comes to mind, 'no way through it but to do it'...I'm just hoping for a better answer down the line.