Sunday, April 01, 2012

The Power of Forgiveness

I went to see the movie, "October Baby", with Dad on my day-off.  It was a four o'clock showtime and there were only five people including ourselves in the theater.  I have heard so much about this movie that I was so looking forward to seeing it.  And I was not disappointed.  The story centers on a young woman, Hannah, who was born prematurely after a failed abortion.  She was adopted by a loving couple who decided early on to keep the circumstances of Hannah's birth secret.  Hannah was always a sickly girl, and even nineteen years later, she continued to suffer from multiple medical illnesses.  The movie opened with a dramatic scene of Hannah having a seizure attack while delivering her part in a stage play.  Her hospitalization was the key which opened the secret that was kept from her by her adoptive parents as the doctor tried to connect the dots of her multiple ailments and the failed abortion.  The rest of the story takes the audience to the emotional web of Hannah's search for her biological mother, and the friends who helped her in her search.  The story ended with Hannah's face to face encounter with her real mother, Cindy Hastings, now a prominent  lawyer with a family of her own.  Sadly, the encounter did not end up in a reunion.

The movie was definitely an emotional  powerhouse!  I should have heeded my friends advice to bring a box of kleenex! Fortunately I had my popcorn napkins and they served the purpose!  But the screenplay was far from just being sentimental or a tearjerker.  It weaves for us the real pain and anguish real people go through given the circumstances.  It is well documented from different studies that abortion victimizes not just the unborn baby, but everyone else intimately connected with it.  But the movie, although primarily about the damage abortion does to people's lives, had layers of truths to it.   Weaved into the storyline were the many relationships played out and the moral values they represented.  First, the relationship between Hannah and her adoptive parents.  It was moving to see how love made a difference.  They loved her as much as any biological parents could love a child.   It puts into practice the words of the prophet Isaiah,"Can a mother forget her baby, or a mother the child within her womb. Yet, even if they forget, I will never forget my own."  Adoption is better than abortion.  There is a place for everyone in this world if only someone tries enough to care.  Then, there is the relationship between Hannah and her childhood friend, Jason.  It was interesting how a movie could be produced without the sex factor to lure people, and still convey a sweetness and strength of love which was defined by respect for each other, fidelity and loyalty.  True love transcends the physical.  True love is more than sex.  True love waits.  Then, there was the relationship of nurse to her patients.  Another climax to the story was when Hannah actually met the nurse who assisted in the failed abortion.  In the course of the nurse re-telling the story, she remembered how she felt that she was the only friend that these women seeking abortion had.  She remembered how afraid and confused they were.  She remembered how they were looking for someone to trust, someone to hold their hand.  It was a powerful testament for me as a Nurse of how much difference we can make.  It is also an invitation for all of us not to cast a stone.  The woman loses not only the child but herself as well.

In the end, it was the power of forgiveness that set Hannah free.  It was forgiveness that set her biological mother free from the guilt she carried all those years.  It was forgiveness that set the adoptive parents free from the secret they hid from Hannah all those years.  And in the final analysis, it was forgiveness that set Hannah free.  Forgiveness heals.

During this Holy Week, we are reminded again that we are a people forgiven and redeemed.  The sacrifice and death of Jesus obtained for us the mercy we so badly need.  "For by His wounds, we are healed."

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