Carnations in white, as well as in many pastel colors, stems soaking in huge buckets of water, gaily filled our church vestibule this morning. Proceeds from the flower sale will help support women facing crisis pregnancies.
Today is Grandparents Day.
Knowing the cause for which the carnations were being sold, I couldn’t help connecting the flowers with the grandparents, particularly the grandmothers. As I thought about all the grandmothers throughout the day who, like me, would leave the church clutching the carnations, I couldn’t help imagining…
Surely, some grandmothers will wholeheartedly rejoice, grateful recipients of the flowers, given by loving children and grandchildren, in tribute of their special day.
Just as surely, some grandmothers, sadly, will receive the flowers, too, as those at gravesides do. Their hearts broken by memories of grandchildren, whose birthdays, holidays, and other milestones they once celebrated. Grandchildren, still unbelievably—no matter for how long—have been deceased, so “unnaturally,”—before their grandparents.
And then, I supposed, there will be among those whose eyes will moisten in contemplation of the cause behind the carnation sale, those grandmothers who remember aborting children long ago, when Women Rights first championed their right-to-choose cause. Just unwanted “tissue”—not a child– is what they were told was being removed from inside their bodies.
Also among the grandmothers who will accept or purchase carnations, I imagined, will be those who are, in fact, unaware mothers. When various birth control pills came into popularity they were called “contraceptives”—literally implying that no conception could take place. Decades later, that nomenclature was revealed, at worse to have been a blatant lie; at best to have been inadvertently misleading. Conception was not prevented; no; only implantation after conception was prevented. Implantation does not initiate a new life; conception does.
Other women–mothers, I suspected, will purchase the carnations on Grandparents Day, never imagining, not knowing, that they themselves are grandmothers. Grandmothers unaware…whose sons or daughters, wittingly or unwittingly, had cooperated with God to bring new life into being, even if that child was never born, but secretly was aborted.
And this grandmother, whose grandchildren-birthstone-pin has three jewels, treasures in a most special way the second of those three. The one for a grandson spontaneously aborted from his mother’s womb at thirteen weeks’ gestation. And this grandson, never seen, never held, is the most precious to me, baptized as he was with my tears from the moment the doctors assessed that not even the most skilled surgeon, not even the most advanced surgical procedure, could save him.
And so, as I left church clutching the long-stemmed carnations I bought, I thanked God for the children and grandchildren I have seen and held, as well as those I haven’t. God is merciful. At the end of my life, as at the end of all the grandmothers’ lives, we all, grandmothers and mothers, aware and unaware, will be reunited with–or will be introduced to–the grandchildren and the children who have predeceased us—some of them, as total surprises to us.
And what a glorious surprise each conceived, but unborn, child will be!. .For once with God, there is no animosity on the part of our children. Only gratitude for our participation in the initiation of their lives for all eternity. No matter what happened, even if they lived only a nanosecond after conception, they were privileged to be with God forever—to live eternally, whether we knew their conception had taken place or not, whether we prevented them from being born, or whether we miscarried them–without ever knowing we were even carrying them! God is so good to all His children. (You know they say, apropos of this day, that God, our Loving Father, has only children, not grandchildren! We are all directly, His first generation. He knows, and loves, and saves each one of us, individually, as one of His precious children.)
And while I clutched the carnations, I prayed, also, that the young women in crisis pregnancies would receive the help and strength to give their babies life on Earth, to know the joy—albeit also the struggles and pain—of raising their children. I prayed that they, too, one day would celebrate Grandparents Day. And maybe even buy a carnation or two to help other women, as they once were helped, when facing crisis pregnancies.
Till heaven, dear grandchildren, already with God—now fully mature in him.
Till the unceasing, everlasting joy–never a tear to be shed again–yes!, by God’s Grace, we will join you, please God, in heaven.
How many children and grandchildren will run to embrace you, do you think, when at last you are with them and God in heaven?
(Thanks to our loving, merciful Father, whatever the circumstances, particularly those requiring His forgiveness, with the help of His Grace, I’m humbly, gratefully open to His revelation of many blessed surprises in heaven!)