What Rachel Taught Me

The other day I was standing on the corner of the street protesting Planned Parenthood. I was given exactly the response I expected…the occasional rude glance, some angry shouts…the encouraging grin or even some pro-life wisdom. I proceeded to stand there doing my thing and praying silently.

I had quite the regular day protesting on that street corner…until Rachel walked by. She passed once without a glance. I noticed her pass by a second time with a quizzical look starting to take shape on her brow. The third time she passed I was starting to worry (what if this girl starts to make a scene…?/Should I run away…?/etc…etc…)

Finally, she approached me and asked, “What’re you doing?” But…she asked it without malice or awe in her tone. She seemed to simply want to know. So…I told her outright, “I’m praying for the women in there and the potential life.” Her only response was an intrigued, “Why?” My hour was almost up, but I decided this conversation might be worth staying a couple extra minutes, and so I answered.

Our debate lasted for 2 hours…but when I say debate…here is what I mean:

Rachel: “I hope you don’t mind if I ask, but if you are pro-life why do you oppose birth control and things? Also…Planned Parenthood provides other important women’s healthcare.”

Me: “That is a very good point. I am not sure how I feel about birth control. I am personally not allowed to use it because my body can’t handle hormones. However, I do not know how I feel on the legality scale. All I know is that they perform abortions in there and I believe that every life has the same rights I do no matter where it is located.”

Rachel: “Fair enough.”…and so on and so forth. 

You see, Rachel goes to  American University and she (like me) studies Politics. She comes from a good Irish home, and she has seen about as much as the world as I have. She loves to travel and loves to eat at iHop (I am so obsessed with their red velvet pancakes). One of our only prominent differences: she is pro-choice and I am pro-life. It is that simple. 

I am still friends with Rachel. She is still someone I chat with from time to time. We used each other to truly learn and experience other viewpoints and to sharpen and tweak our own. We respected each other under the code of common human courtesy and love, and were able to part ways without shouting or hating one other. 

We learned as children that hitting and kicking our siblings is not the way we move past stolen toy trucks…but rather sighing past our wounding pride and talking it out was more efficient and less dirty. I was always taught to stand firm but to do so with the respect I would wish from my “opponent” (if that is even the right word). I assume that if vulgarity and ignorance impedes progress in such small matters…larger ones need even more precise care. This, I believe is the only way America will ever get anywhere. So…let’s start talking it out.

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