“No matter what we do to someone, we cannot destroy their dignity. We can only disrespect it.” This statement summarizes a lesson that longtime Pro-Life activist Julia Pritchett learned about human dignity while sharing a meal with a young mother.
The girl, Zoe, had been in so many foster homes that the word home could scarcely have real meaning to her at all. To Julia's surprise, Zoe shared that she had never eaten in a restaurant before. “She was seventeen years old. An unconventional beauty of blended ethnicities and a war-torn life story,” shares Pritchett. In one of her foster homes, Zoe was sexually abused, and as a result she carried a nascent Life inside of her.
During the meal, Julia candidly told Zoe that she was beautiful… really beautiful.
“And then without warning fat, full tears began running down her face. She mumbled through her tears, “No one has ever told me I am beautiful before.” I tried to quickly compose myself and responded, “Something doesn’t have to be said in order to be true. Your beauty is a truth.”
Zoe can teach us something about people in general: they may not understand their own dignity, and no one in their lives may have ever acknowledged their dignity, either. But that should never stop us from recognizing each person's dignity and affirming that dignity. Maybe we are the first or only who ever will. Therefore, Pro-Life advocates cannot just self-identify as “Pro-Life.” Action is essential. Because simply being Pro-Life as a self-applied label will not change the culture or reach souls like Zoe's.
“I remember Zoe every single time a scared, young woman crosses my path who clings to that positive pregnancy test as if the world is crashing down forever around her,” Julia says. “Because in that moment, to her, it feels like it is. Because behind her pretty lipstick and Converse sneakers may possibly be a young woman who has endured more suffering than any human ought to ever need endure.”
Julia stresses the importance of looking beyond the surface or material needs of a mother seeking help: “…what most women need goes far beyond a pack of diapers and help filling out government assistance forms. That what she most yearns for is someone to affirm her beauty, delight in her, and believe in her goodness.”