Still Waters: For life

I hadn’t really thought about “pro life” as being a lifelong decision before Rev. Billy Graham’s granddaughter Windsor Bauders talked about it this week during the SLV Life Center (formerly SLV Women’s Resource Center) annual fundraiser.

She said there are a couple of ways to look at “pro life”: the beginning, which is how I always thought about it, promoting the lives of the unborn at risk of abortion; and all the way to the end. She talked about how an illness she now faces in her own life may cause her to think about assisted suicide at some point when her health fails, as there is no cure for her illness yet. She said she hoped she would have the courage to be “pro life” then, as she has had the courage to be “pro life” for each of her pregnancies.

As a 16-year-old she found herself pregnant, with the baby’s father not willing to remain in the picture. After giving that first child, a daughter, up for adoption, she got involved with folks who were not a good influence on her, and she wound up pregnant again. Once again, the baby’s father wanted nothing to do with her or her son, whom she raised as a single mom for seven years.

She now has a wonderful husband, another daughter and another son. Her youngest son was born with some medical difficulties, but even if she had known beforehand he would have problems, she said she would not have chosen abortion. Aside from some continuing medical problems, he is a fine young boy who gives her great joy.

As I mentioned in the story about her talk, Windsor said a cartoon at her high school was crucial in swaying her in the direction of life as a teenage mom. She really was thinking about abortion as an option. She was in a tough spot, and she was kind of messed up and miserable at that point in her life. (Being Billy Graham’s granddaughter didn’t automatically set her on a course to the pearly gates.)

The cartoon showed a man ranting at God, yelling at God, asking God where the cures were for the world’s problems like AIDS and cancer. God responded, “you aborted them all.”

Windsor said that cartoon saved her unborn child’s life. She chose life for her daughter and chose to give that daughter to a wonderful couple who adopted and raised her. It still tears her heart out to think of giving up her daughter, but at the time she knew it was the best thing for her child. She was really only a kid herself and did not have support in raising a child on her own.

What would the world have lost if Windsor had chosen to abort that sweet girl? What would that adoptive couple have lost if they had not had that child to become their own?

Who will be the children who will grow up to find a cure for some of the world’s ills like cancer? Who knows? Maybe it will be Windsor’s daughter.

I appreciated Windsor’s presentation to us. I appreciated that she came all the way from Philadelphia to share her story with us. I could tell she was still nervous in public speaking, and it meant even more to me that she was brave enough to do it anyway, because this subject means so much to her.

I appreciated her honesty. It meant a lot that she was willing to share her fear for the future and her hope she would remain faithful in her stand for life, all the way to the end.

I also appreciated that she spoke about her grandfather and talked about how much it meant to the family that so many people reached out to them when he died. He touched so many lives and led so many people to Jesus that the highways along which his casket traveled were lined with people with tears in their eyes and Bibles in their hands. There were drivers of 18-wheelers standing by their trucks with their hands over their hearts as the nation’s pastor passed by.

Windsor said it was her grandfather’s last and biggest crusade ever.

She shared a story about her grandfather, which I didn’t have space to put in my story about her presentation, that touched me. It was right after 9/11, and President Bush said he really needed “America’s pastor” to be in the nation’s capitol to minister during this trying time. Billy Graham was not able to make the drive, so he was flown in. His was the one plane allowed to fly when everyone else was grounded immediately after 9/11.

That is how much this pastor meant to so many people, including those in the White House who knew that his calming presence was needed in that dark hour of our nation’s history.

His granddaughter is playing her part in another dark hour when so many innocent lives are at stake. She can testify to the value of each of those lives including those she chose to bring into the world.

Who knows but what the next “America’s pastor” is among them?