A week or so ago I was scrolling through Facebook when a video caught my eye. I don’t think I’ve made it a secret that I view parenthood and life as a sacred thing, so it shouldn’t surprise you that the video I was drawn to was about how pro-abortion people were shown a video and then changed to anti-abortion people. As interesting as that video was, a related video popped up that was an interview with Abby Johnson. Abby Johnson was a former director of Planned Parenthood that is now 100% pro-life. In the interview her book was brought up. Me being a bibliophile, I pulled up my local library’s webpage and requested a copy.
I read that book in about 8 hours or less. After reading the book, I hopped on Goodreads and checked the reviews. I’m glad I checked after I had read it, because then my opinion of the book would have been changed before even opening it.
Abby Johnson is not a writer. She is in the sense that she wrote a book, but she isn’t in the sense that her writing is very rough. If you just can’t get passed bad writing and focus on the story, then you may want to pass on this one. If you love a good, emotional, compelling story, then you may want to read this one.
It takes place in Texas. If you’re unfamiliar with Texas: it is in the southern part of the United States. It is a giant state that is predominantly conservative with a high volume of very religious Christians. Ms. Johnson grew up in Texas in a conservative, religious family. While I could focus on all the dark details she reveals about her time working at an abortion clinic or focus on her own personal experience with abortion, I want to focus on some other less discussed ideas of her book.
The first thing she talks a lot about is the fact that she grew up in a Christian home. She went to church every Sunday, she was taught right, wrong, the commandments, and so on. She believed in a lot of these things, but she didn’t live them. She talked a lot about the difference in believing and living it. I think in every religion, Faith, or school of thought, there are people who believe in something, but do not actually live it. In my Faith we call them “Sunday Mormons”. They come to church on Sunday, smile, participate for three hours, but the rest of the week, they’re not remotely “Mormon”. I know that I have had moments in my life where I was a “Sunday Mormon”; the good thing is that the gap between belief and living it can be bridged and change.
I am in no way judging others about this. It pertains to more than just religion. It applies to all different ways of thinking. I think it’s similar to musicians that refuse to play concerts in certain cities or states due to laws, but will play in countries that have far worse views than that one state. It works for many things, but I don’t want to get too political. The thing is, regardless of what school of thought you want to believe in, it is important to remember that actions scream louder than words.
The other thing that Ms. Johnson focused on was being kind to others regardless of their beliefs. She talked a lot about the abortion protestors not screaming or attacking the clients, but sweetly telling them they have other options (I personally love Save the Storks and their methods with this). Their unconditional love towards all people really helped Abby when she needed shelter and guidance.
In the current condition that our country is in, it is hard to express the slightest sentiment of anything without opposition screaming in your face as loud as possible. I have read countless comments from all sides of the political spectrum that make death threats to someone simply because they said something they didn’t agree with. Holy goodness, why do we run to the death threats? Why do we open the drawer of darkness and retaliate with the most venomous snake in there? If you met them on the street would you do the same thing?
I think we need less venom and more love. I know I have been personally working on really listening to the difference in opinion. I want to genuinely remember that that is a person and that person has feelings and reasons for those feelings. I’m far from perfect, but I really want to be better at seeing the worth of others and understand them, even if I don’t agree. I’m sure they would appreciate that treatment rather than me screaming in their faces that they’re wrong and should die. I think that is my greatest take away from this book.
How has reading someone else’s story changed your views on yourself and the world?