Intentionality is the name of the game. People who know me on a deeply personal level know I hate abortion. It’s not this heightened, emotionally charged hate that gets misconstrued; it’s more focused by nature. It affects more people than many realize, and it’s not something that can be reset as much as it seems it can. It’s something that can haunt you closer than what is presumed as ghosts because you’re killing off a part of you.
I’m directly and indirectly affected by the act of abortion, and my hope is you’ll stick around and read the story that follows.
Father and son
I’m not married, nor do I have any kids, so I don’t know what it means to be a father. However, I know what it means to be a son. From my experience and observations, I find that fathers do not have to do anything to be their child’s hero, be it male or female, over time that can fall apart because of the environment and actions in how people are treated. The best barometer and gift of a father is how he treats his wife, their mother. Most boys are naturally protective, especially of the first woman they get to know, typically their mother. Many people have come to similar conclusions before me with that, so I guess it’s an important principle to hold.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to go far to find my role model and hero growing up. My dad is a local legend in the sports arena by his peers in multiple sports (basketball, baseball, and football). He was ordained as a pastor in 2002 when I was nine years old. I’m named after him, which is unique by itself. Many people would assume that he’s my hero because of those things, and they’re partially right, but it has more to do with the relationship that was cultivated and the transparency my father shared with me. He never projected to be perfect or have all the answers and was forthcoming with his faults and failures. Though he and my mother pointed me to the ultimate hero, that being Jesus Christ.
The Trip for “The Talk”
November of 2005, my dad and his parents and I go to a timeshare in Orlando, Florida for a week with a purpose. My grandparents were there to hang out and relax, while my dad and I were more intentional for this trip. We were down to have the talk, which was orchestrated by Passport 2 Purity program by FamilyLife. It was designed for a weekend trip, but we stretched it to week.
Every morning, we would go through a lesson, and for the rest of the day, we would just hang out and go do some recreational activities. During that time frame, I was getting ready for basketball season, and I was working on the fundamentals of my jump shot at the time, trying to add more arch to my shot. We went to Seaworld during this week as well, and we were having a good time.
Now in 2005, I was 12, and my body starting to go through some changes. Getting more definition in your muscles, some things begin to drop 😏. Your voice does not know if it wants to be a tenor or a bass, so it continually switches octaves, in mid-conversation at that. You thought you’ve outgrown bedwetting, but then find out that it’s totally different and natural. Things pop-up in situations you don’t expect them to, making situations more awkward when you’re conversing about food. Last, girls are not as weird as you anticipated.
I’m not going to lie to you; I don’t remember much of the Passport 2 Purity lessons. It’s a great resource, but a lot of the stuff in it was almost a refresher from other conversations I had in the past with my parents and grandparents. The lesson asked the parent leader to share a testimony with their child, and that happened on that Wednesday of that week.
I almost exclusively go by A.J., and for people who know my dad, assume the J stands for junior since I’m named after him. However, my first name is Alonzo, and my middle name is Justin, and that’s where A.J. comes from. I tell people I’m a second (II), and this story is the primary reason.
Now my dad has given me permission to tell this story. He’s told it from the pulpit before as well, and a lot of people from our extended family gave him a rough time for telling me this story.
So, my dad’s on the couch while I’m sitting on the floor, and my dad starts to tell me a story when he was a senior in H.S. He and his then-girlfriend at the time had gotten pregnant. Both of them were in this state of the unknown and uncertainty and definitely, a life-changing and world-altering event. My dad is becoming distraught in the middle of recounting the story. Some tears are starting to fall, his cadence becomes more deliberate, and there are more pauses and deep breaths. When people say it’s up to them, they don’t really know what is said to them in these situations. Her mother gave them an ultimatum, where if you keep the baby, there would be no more college for her.
So, ultimately they aborted the child, who would have been a boy. My father said, “Your name is Alonzo Justin Ouzts II, and not junior because I murdered Junior. I paid to kill my son. You’re the second because you’re the second chance I get to raise a son.”
You can’t tell me it doesn’t affect the father. You can’t tell me it doesn’t affect the mother. You’re killing a part of yourself and your legacy. That decision affects more people than you anticipate. Those lonely times when you’re alone with your own thoughts or you see kids playing, you’ll remember what you gave up. It may not be immediate, but it’ll come back to your thought.
Major reason why my dad shared this account with me is because of principle we use in our house:
Let my experience be your best teacher.
This isn’t supposed to apply to all situations. It’s a principle of learning from others and their mistakes in order to protect one from a world of hurt. To learn from others’ mistakes protect from major pitfalls that can derail one’s life.
I’m eternally grateful to my father for sharing his darkest shame with me, which has protected me from making world-shattering mistakes and hurting others in the process. A principle I want to express here comes from a verse in John.
9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?
I relate to what Christ said when he said, if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen my earthly father. People will indirectly know my dad and mom through the testimony of my life because I’ve spent so much time with the two. I’m still uniquely A.J., but I apply and will continue to use the principles instilled in the house and church that shaped me.
My name and life are marked with the innocent blood of the brother I never got to meet. I think of my brother periodically, and one of the main reasons I choose to live the way I do is almost as if I’m living a life for two people. He didn’t get the chance to live, and a part of me wishes that he was here in some shape or form and not just in thought. I have confident hope I’ll get to see him, thanks to David’s account with the child that passed with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:21-24).
God has a lot to say on the shedding of innocent blood, and you can’t get any innocent than the womb.
Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways. The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace.
One of my favorite stories comes from a manga/anime series called Monster by Naoki Urasawa. It’s a great story on the psychology of humanity and has one of the greatest(my personal fav) villains of all time, in the character of Johan Liebert, who is supposed to be groomed to be the next Hitler. I reference it as an animated Godfather.
One of the most chilling lines he has in the whole story is:
“There’s nothing special about being born. Not a thing. Most of the universe is just death, nothing more. In this universe of ours, the birth of a new life on some corner of our planet is nothing but a tiny, insignificant flash. Death is a normal thing. So why live?” ― Johan Liebert
That’s a depressing thought, and he’s constantly referred to as the essence of evil throughout the story. However, how many people engage in similar thoughts to him? I personally see abortion as the genocide of the womb and waging war on your own self and legacy.
Children are a gift, and like all gifts, they come built-in with responsibilities. The greater the gift, the greater the responsibility.
I believe you should plan out your parenthood instead of having to go to Planned Parenthood. Be intentional about your life.
As you can see, I have skin in the game, and it affects many.
Originally Posted on the Enigmatic Growth blog here: