Two Exceptional Women and One Extremely Fortunate Son – page 2

 

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From the Summer 2018 issue of Knowing & Doing:

Two Exceptional Women and
One Extremely Fortunate Son

by Stan Wallace
President & CEO, Global Scholars

 
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  Instead, she decided to go through with her unwanted pregnancy. I can’t imagine the courage it took. But Jean was a woman who understood well what she must do, no matter how hard and no matter the consequences. It was just the right thing to do.
  That is what courage is: doing what is right and necessary, even when — and especially when — it is hard. I can’t imagine how hard it was for this young, scared, high school senior. I will be eternally grateful to Jean for her courage during those decisive months in the spring and summer of 1962. She and I have visited by phone and in person now, and it was an honor and a joy to be able to express this to her in person. She is a model and encouragement for me to likewise stand up for others who are in need and use my power in courageous and redemptive ways.

The “Messiness” of Unconditional Love

  The details of Jean’s time with me growing inside her womb paint an excellent picture of what unconditional love looks like. It is easy for us to talk about loving “unconditionally.” But we often fail to follow through when we realize just what this will mean and what it will cost us. My and Jean’s short time together illustrates this for me in new and nuanced ways.
  As we have talked, I’ve learned much about what her pregnancy in 1962 meant. Her mother made her leave her hometown and live in a home for unwed mothers about an hour away until she gave birth. Moving to that facility meant leaving all she knew during this emotionally heart-wrenching season. Her parents were not there for her to help her process the experience. She could not be with or talk to her friends. She no longer had the comfort of familiar surroundings and routines or a sense of stability. Was it still worth it? Jean believed so. She knew this is what unconditional love looks like. No matter what, she was committed to put my need to grow in her womb above any need she felt for safety, comfort, or well-being.
  During those long days and nights, I’m sure she thought often that after my birth she could not continue to provide the nurturing environment I needed to flourish. She had not finished high school, had no job, and would be living with her parents. In the early 1960s, there were few services and support systems for an unwed mother with a young child. She knew the most loving thing to do, after giving me life, would be to give me away.

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