Written By Lizzy Place
Sophomore, Augustine Academy – Guest Author
I’m not sure what I expected.
To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about it.
I’d agreed to see the movie Unplanned under the expectation that I would later write a something-or-other about it, a sort of “movie review.” The day rather snuck up on me. It was on my calendar; a circle with the title “Unplanned movie, Community Spirit,” but I barely remembered. It was the third quarter of my sophomore year in high school, and I was swimming in homework, social drama, and the endless concerns of a sixteen-year-old.
My dad had warned me a few days earlier to accept the request to write about Unplanned with solemnity and to be ready to watch that kind of movie. I wasn’t concerned. I’d written movie reviews before, anyway. Again, I’m not sure what I expected. A saccharine movie about babies, reeking of the Christian message, and full of cliché one-liners, maybe. I am, after all, an infant Christian, and shaking off the pride of my Atheist stubbornness is difficult. I knew about the heat surrounding abortion, and I’d felt it, even in a tiny, Christian high school, but there were more important things in my life.
Of course, I’d thought about it, to some extent, and decided I was tentatively pro-life. I loved babies, and I hated the thought of killing one, but I didn’t have the foggiest idea if a fetus was a ‘baby’ in the first place, and besides, I had better things to think about. If I could do the last bit of my homework before class started, if that one friend had figured things out with her boyfriend, if “you-know-who” had noticed my waiting precariously long until the only chair in the lunchroom left was the one at his table, you name it. Besides, it wasn’t cool to be “pro-life.”
How wrong I was. To some extent, I was right about Unplanned. It did ‘reek’ of the Christian message, and the occasional scene would grow a bit painful with the awkwardness of the entire group of male actors, but despite the things my pride stubbornly clings to, nothing could hide that message. It left me with only one thought.
“Why didn’t we know?”
Before I started this, I thought for a long time about what exactly to say. This is not an easy subject, and I don’t pretend to have experience standing up for the right thing. I was encouraged to write what was on my heart. Throw the ‘movie review’ nonsense out the window. I’m not sure if I’m ready to do that. I’m not sure if I’m ready to be honest. I’m a high schooler, after all, and a member of the part of the population most devoted to petty pleasure. I was devoted to petty pleasure. I was devoted to doing what I wanted, to saying what I thought would get a laugh, and most of all, to being accepted. Maybe we don’t know we are sleeping until we wake up.
The theatre emptied around me after the movie finished. Suddenly, everything I cared the most about seemed ridiculously small. And I sobbed, while people staunchly pretended they didn’t see me–for tact’s sake, I suppose. I’ve never cried like that. The things I could have done. The lives I could have tried to save. The people I could have talked to, and the things I could have stood up for. It all came crashing down around my ears, leaving my perfectly normal, planned high school life in shambles. And then, one person approached me. She asked what I was thinking, so I told her. I poured out the wrestling I’d been dealing with, and the way the movie had torn me apart. She prayed over me, tears streaming down both of our faces. In that moment, I have never been surer of the presence of God, settling with almost tangible physicality around us. I felt him change my mind.
I have no doubt why I went to that theatre. After returning home, I realized the dozens of steps that had led to that point. All the people I had ‘accidentally’ bumped into, all of the thoughts that happened to pop into my head, and all the books and articles I’d picked up at random were leading to that night in the darkened theatre, to that stirring in my heart. I can’t get it out of my head.
Having just reached the four month anniversary of my salvation, I can’t pretend to know how God works. I don’t know how he moves, and how he chooses people. But if I could guess, I’d say that something happened that night that might have changed my life.
I’ve tried to live my convictions. I’ve tried to remain true to what I’ve decided, to take it into my everyday life, to stand up for the thousands of children that I want to save. It’s been difficult. Already, I’m not “cool.” I’ve been labeled and boxed away from the conversations I used to partake in. I’ve already been argued with and shouted at. Answering the hate and anger with love has been easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I’ve never been surer that I’m right where God wants me. I think the worst thing we could do is let the world crowd out our convictions.
I know my fire won’t last. I know things will begin to feel more important, and I’ll let my fervor fade away. But love is a commitment, not a feeling. I’ve made a decision to fight. While the issue is complicated, and there is definitely evil at work, maybe the biggest problem is our silence. For every abortion doctor, there are a thousand people who refuse to speak out, who ‘haven’t thought about it’ that are unwittingly cheering them on. Blatant evil is only half the problem.
Maybe we need to wake up. We may not all be able to stand at the fence of a Planned Parenthood clinic or talk to someone considering abortion directly, but I think we all have a role in this battle. The stakes have never been higher. What if one prayer, one conversation, one smile, could save the life of one child? What if living a life of love and commitment could be all we need to turn the tide? What if the tugging on your heart could be God calling you to the battle for life? What if we lived like that?
It’s hard. It could cost you everything, like it did me. We have to trust. I had to decide what was important to me, and I had to submit to the voice in my heart. And now, I can boldly live, believing that as long as my God holds the world in His hands, there is no such thing as unplanned.