Archive for November, 2018

The Silence of Adam in the Garden of Choice

Friday, November 30th, 2018

by Kevin Burke, LSW

[The following is an excerpt from the book Tears of the Fisherman.]

You have probably heard the creation story from Genesis about Adam and Eve, the snake and the apple. Our enlightened society tends to dismiss the account as a whimsical myth.

The Genesis creation drama, if we take the time to unpack the deeper meaning in the story, reveals fundamental truths about the human person, the relationship of man and woman to God, and the timeless mystery of sin and evil.

As you will see, it is very much a contemporary story.

Medieval art work depicts the familiar construct of this story where Eve is tricked by the clever snake hanging from a branch in a tree as she eats the shiny apple of forbidden fruit.   But a superficial understanding of the text can serve to trivialize the encounter and minimize the frightening nature of Adam and Eve’s deceiver.

Scripture Scholar Scott Hahn suggests that the word used in Genesis to depict the tempter (nahash in Hebrew) can be better translated as serpent or dragon (rather than snake):

So [Eve] is being confronted and brutally intimidated by a dragon that is intent upon producing disobedience…[1]

Hahn then poses the question that psychologist Larry Crabb also asked in his book The Silence of Adam: [2]

The question, then, as you read through this narrative is…where the heck is Adam in all this? By the end of the narrative you discover that he’s right by the woman because she just turns and gives him the fruit to eat…[3]

We often focus on the deception of the woman in this account and fail to look more closely on what Adam’s silence tells us about this couple. She was not facing just a clever snake. Eve was confronted with a cunning and diabolical force that was taking advantage of her vulnerability, without the support and protection of her partner who was passive and silent in the face of the serpent’s attack.

The Garden of Choice

Meet a modern day Eve and Adam, Syrah London and her partner Mark. Syrah shares about the appointment to schedule her abortion:

 I remember calling Mark after the appointment, and telling him I was going through with the procedure.

His sigh of relief broke my heart. I desperately wanted him to tell me not to do it.

But that never came…I spoke with Mark the night before the appointment, and he told me he was leaving town. Already feeling agony and defeat, his words killed any spirit I had left him, telling me to be strong. That was it.

I got out of bed, sat on the bathroom floor and wept. I wept for this baby, I wept for what I was about to do and I wept because my world was crashing.  I knew that after that day, my life would never be the same. [4]

The decision to abort is often a type of reenactment of the fall of our first parents in the Garden. As we learn of the vulnerability of women facing unplanned conception we can see the power of the male response to the developing pregnancy.

The Anguish of Adam

Some women and men who have been through abortion healing programs feel called to publicly share their experience of pain and recovery through an organization called the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. [5]

Listen to the voices of these men of Silent No More as they share about their role in their partner or wife’s abortion:

I realized how small of a man I was cause if I had gone with her her that day, I probably would have realized what had happened, I would have seen how upset how broken she was, and taken her by the hand and said let’s get out of this place.  -Steve

I didn’t defend the life of my own daughter based on misinformation, selfishness, fear, and shame. I let her die to an abortionist knife and I died the same day.  – Scott

I wonder what my son or daughter would look like today if I would have stood up and be a man and fight for the life of my child.  – Miguel

The anguish of Steve, Scott and Miguel touches on a core aspect of their male identity as defenders and protectors of their offspring:

I didn’t defend the life of my daughter

– I didn’t stand up and be a man

– I was weak and passive as a man while she went to have the abortion.

Their voices echo the suffering of Adam.   Imagine Adam’s anguish when he came to understand the extent of the damage unleashed by his passivity in the Garden as Eve faced the serpent’s temptation.  Men who come to honestly assess their role in abortion decisions understand Adam’s pain.

There is hope and healing for men suffering after abortion loss. Read more about the impact of abortion on men and the rewarding path to recovery in Tears of the Fisherman.

Looking Back

I wrote and perform the following song, and created this video from my experience as a counselor in Rachel’s Vineyard.   It reveals what some men may experience when part of abortion decisions and accompany the child’s mother to abortion centers – and the aftermath years after the procedure.   [Music produced by Henry Gennaria.]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofseJhGIyMA

 

[1] Hahn, Scott. Mary Holy Mother. Catholic Pages.  http://www.catholic-pages.com/bvm/hahn.asp

[2] Crabb, Lawrence J., Don Hudson, and Al Andrews. The Silence of Adam: Becoming Men of Courage in a World of Chaos. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1995.

[3] Ibid

[4]London, Syrah.  The Timeline of What It’s Like to Go through an Abortion.  Elite Daily.  October 12 2015. http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/timeline-abortion-girls/1205632/

[5] www.silentnomoreawareness.org

Primal Fear: The Impact of Abortion on Adult Children of Divorce

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

By Kevin Burke, LSW

When we think of the impact of divorce on children, there is often the assumption that if the parents work together in good faith, and do not place the children in the middle of their conflicts and relational drama, then in time the children will adjust and be fine.

Leila Miller is the editor of “Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak.”  Miller shares in an article entitled, The Adult Children of Divorce Find Their Voice, that as she began the process of compiling research for her book she was shocked at the level of pain she encountered:

“… I started asking adult children of divorce about their experiences. I eventually wrote up a brief questionnaire, appealing on social media for volunteers… I learned that not only does the pain of divorce continue into adulthood, but the suffering is not lessened even if the child experienced a “good divorce.”

…A 50-year-old wife and mother whose parents shared custody and got along well after their divorce told me:

I was devastated as a child when my dad drove away, and I will never forget standing in our front yard literally screaming, ‘Come back!’ I didn’t understand what was happening, and my three-year-old sister certainly didn’t understand…I would honestly say I ‘survived’ the divorce, but the fall-out wasn’t pretty: Lots of acting out and ‘unsettled’ behavior. It really skewed the way I looked at guys and what I thought ‘love’ was. If marriage wasn’t forever, why should anything else be?”

A 55 yr old woman shares her emotional experience of divorce:

I believe [the divorce] instilled a fear of abandonment in me with regard to all of my relationships. I developed problems trusting people to be there for me, believing that when the going got rough, people would leave me. I never learned any skills for solving conflict in relationships. As much as I desperately craved intimacy and love, the closer someone came to me, the more terrified I was of getting hurt, or worse—abandoned. I unconsciously sabotaged relationships, as I didn’t know how to receive and accept real love…”

Abortion and Adult Children of Divorce

I have worked as a counselor for the last 20 years with women and men who later regret their participation in abortion, and are looking for healing and peace. On our weekend abortion recovery program, Rachel’s Vineyard, Saturday morning participants share their abortion story.  But they are encouraged to share that abortion event in the context of their overall life experiences.

Their stories reveal that some children from divorced families can be overwhelmed by their emotions when facing an unplanned pregnancy, and in the after math of the abortion procedure.

Divorce can be such a seismic emotional event for some kids, that when faced with an unplanned pregnancy later in life, they may panic and try to establish some sense of control as soon as possible – control they did not have as children.

They may have deep ambivalence about becoming a parent and terrified of losing their partner. While these feelings are common to others facing an unplanned pregnancy, with children of divorce, the level of anxiety and panic can be even more intense.

The aftermath of the abortion event is a complicated grief for the children of divorce. It seems that there is a complex emotional dynamic at work here that touches on both the divorce and abortion event.  It may be helpful to look at abortion and divorce in the context of of being both victim and perpetrator.

The experience of divorce can be like an emotional abortion.   A child can have the sense of being violently separated from what was previously thought to be a stable and lifelong family unit. A child who was traumatized by the experience of divorce and later participates in the death of their unborn child magnifies an already deep and complex wound.

The adult child of divorce has the experience of being both innocent victim of and later a type of perpetrator by participating in the abuse/death of their innocent unborn child.  In other cases a woman or man may feel pressured to have the abortion, overwhelmed by their emotions, or have no voice or say in the matter.  These feelings of anxiety, panic and powerlessness can reenact the emotional devastation of the divorce event.

The abortion experience may connect in a very toxic way with that wounded inner child resulting in depression, anxiety, anger issues, sleep disturbance, increased drug and alcohol use, and acting out this complicated grief leading to problems in intimate relationships.

Building A Foundation of Healing and Peace

Abortion recovery programs like Rachel’s Vineyard can create a foundation of peace and healing at the heart of this deep and complex wound.  As women and men find healthy ways to process their abortion related pain, and grieve in healthy ways, they are reconnected in love with their aborted children.

As they reconcile with God, loved ones and their unborn children they have the opportunity to also grieve other losses in their lives. They have a safe place to share their childhood wounds, and allow their own inner child to have a voice, to be consoled and move toward healing and peace.

Women and men who have experienced divorce and abortion will benefit from developing a relationship with a counselor so they can continue to build on that foundation of healing in their lives.

Evermore

Our childhood wounds need not sentence us to endless reenactments of our trauma, paralyzed by our inability to trust and find the intimacy and love we so deeply desire and need.  Reach out for the help you need.

I wrote and performed the following song (produced by Henry Gennaria) and created this music video that I dedicate to adult children of divorce, and in a special way for those that suffered both divorce and later abortion loss in their lives. It affirms the loss and pain of divorce, but ends with a message of hope and healing.

Evermore Music Video