Life

Bridges that Build a Culture of Life

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Some songs just resonate with us.  That was the case for my teenage self with Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water.  Faithful friendship, self-sacrifice, a reason to hope.  The slow, low start that builds to a bright, buoyant finale, signaling the journey from dark despair to shining dreams in the distance.

When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.  

Throughout high school, I tried to be a bridge for friends in need. But during Thanksgiving break in 1986, everything changed. A college freshman with a positive pregnancy test, I was now drowning in my own troubled waters of fear and uncertainty. Who would be my bridge?  Who would carry me through?

Raised in a religious home, I had an interior trust that God would always be with me.  But did He not need human hands to accomplish His work? 

I’ve had 34 years to reflect on the bridges that carried me to the other side, to a safe shore, to a place not without pain or sacrifice, yet rich in rewards and goodness.

My bridges were many: first and foremost, my then-boyfriend/now husband. Then our parents, siblings, extended families, and friends. None could rescue us from the turbulence we would face during some very difficult years, but all of them in their own way supported our desire to choose life for our child. Their role cannot be overstated. 

But there were others too, many who may not even know how critical they were to our journey toward a new life. 

Like my college roommate, who was a shoulder to cry on, offering wise words and loving support through it all.  She confessed she didn’t know what she’d do in my situation but understood that abortion was not an option for me. My first bridge, she “mothered” me while I was away at school. 

And there was the admissions counselor at my new university, who made my transfer as smooth as possible. I was so grateful that he excused a pregnant me from a gym requirement and that he found a way to have a large academic scholarship transferred to my new school. He was a bridge to a fresh start on my educational path.

Another bridge was the kind couple who provided an apartment over their law office for a very reasonable rent.  Generous and hard-working, they gave us much more than housing, with their own example of marriage, family, and virtue having a great impact on us. They were also a bridge to my husband’s path to law school. 

Many more selfless people carried us through troubled waters, “laying themselves down” in beautiful gestures that mirrored Divine Love itself. For all of these “bridges,” I am thankful every day. 

I pray that I remain open to being a bridge in some way to others in need, especially to women and their pre-born babies.  No woman should ever feel trapped, forced to enter a sea of despair that leads to the death of her own child. 

May we in the pro-life movement continue to be bridges of love and support that carry women and their children safely to the shores of life, where a sense of peace and promise of hope await.

 These are the bridges with which we will build a renewed and shining culture of life. 

Sail on, silver girl
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way

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