A young woman walks slowly towards the pregnancy resource center. Tomorrow she has an abortion scheduled. She knows she doesn’t want to end the life of her own child. She hesitates on the sidewalk, wanting to enter the center, but fearful at the same time. She convinces herself that perhaps these people won’t be like the others who tell her abortion is the right choice. Perhaps they will help her do the right thing for this child she carries.
The man stands on the street corner. His coat is meant for October, not January. Snow is blowing around him and he stands there, leaning against the building, watching those passing by with silent pleading.
A little girl lies in a crib. Fifteen pounds and six years old, she can’t even uncurl her own hands. Each breath is hard for her to take. Sometimes she cries hoarsely into the emptiness. Sometimes she lies silent for hours on end, staring with her blind eyes at the ceiling. She waits. She has waited for years.
The boy lives in a rundown house with garbage tossed all over the yard. He always wears dirty clothes and talks about crazy things that no one can really relate to. He wants a friend so badly, but who would want to be associated with him?
Now say that young woman gets to the door of the pregnancy resource center and a tiny orange “Closed” sign dangles from a peg…she will be off to get an abortion. Desperate for help, but unable to find any. But if you had been there, volunteering to keep the place open, she would have agreed to have her baby. You would have saved a life simply by turning a closed sign over.
If no one offers to give that man a coat, an empty room to stay in, or a handful of twenty-dollar bills, he will freeze to death that very night. Just because neither you nor anyone else will show love to a cold and hungry stranger.
If you console yourself with the fact that someone else will be friends with that boy, you will go away with the guilt lifted off your own heart, but the loneliness will still drown his. He needs someone to show him how to strive for something bigger and better, however no one wants to stoop low enough to do so. All he needs is one friend to let him know that he is worth it. Only you might quietly refuse to be that friend.
If you see the little girl crying in her crib, but shake your head at the task of helping her to be rescued, if you leave the place and bury her in the back of your mind, the place of forced forgetfulness, she will continue laying there for the rest of her short life.
Only one of these stories have a real person in them…the person who taught me the lesson that anybody can change another’s life forever. The one who taught me that if you don’t do what you should do, there will usually be no one to step up behind you and do it. Katia, the little girl in the crib. If you refuse to do it, nobody else will—I realized this when I found a family for Katia, and her adoptive mother told me, “Had we arrived there two weeks later, I don’t think she would have been alive.”
No one else would have gotten her story out. It was my job. If I had thrown the memory of Katia away and went on with my life, she wouldn’t have went on with hers.
We all make a difference. If we are willing.
If you were meant to be there, there is a large chance no one else will take your place if you run off. Know that you will change lives, you will save lives…if you stay.
If you don’t gather the courage to tell your friend about God now, they might never believe in Him. If you don’t love that child who admires you, they might never have anyone to look up to. If you don’t send that letter, that person may think no one cares. If you refuse to cry out for those who need help, they may remain abandoned, afraid, alone. If you won’t do it, why would anyone else? No, your place, the work you were meant to do, will not be taken over by another.
No one who makes a difference is amazing. They simply did what we all should do. Look at the people starting orphanages overseas, the organizations holding mission trips that bring hundreds to Christ, the number of babies saved at one pregnancy resource center. It all started with, “I’ll do it, God.”
Today say, “I’ll do it, God.”
And do it.
McKennaugh, age 17, has never been in a classroom and she’s proud of it. Homeschooled in the mountains of rural Pennsylvania, you can often find her following an ovenbird that’s slipping among the trees, leaping into the freezing water of Rock Run, or stowed away in a corner with her typewriter as she records her adventures, imagination, and beliefs. You can contact her at email@example.com or let her know what you think about her work for Homeschooling Teen by leaving a comment at homeschoolingteen.com/category/laughter-tears-and-our-teen-years.