Jessica Long: Not Easy, but Amazing

By Danielle Pitzer
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Not easy, but amazing
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When is something not easy, but still amazing? Jessica Long's story is inspiring for us all.

Even a lukewarm football fan like myself, is a drawn to the game, otherwise known as the Super Bowl. Not only is this a showdown between two of the season’s top-performing football teams, but there are also the commercials. During the Super Bowl, the commercials have become like a new art form. Several hours of brand-new television is anticipated and enjoyed. And we want to be there for each moment. We want to go into the office or talk to our neighbor and say, “Did you see…?”

This past Sunday, the commercials were odd and funny, but the Toyota commercial , well, it was stunning. After it finished, there was silence in our house because we were all so taken in by the encapsulated story of swimmer and gold medalist Jessica Long. We see Jessica swimming as a couple receives a call asking if they want to consider adopting a little girl. However, they add a piece of information that stops all of us, “her life, it won’t be easy.” We find out this baby girl has a rare genetic condition that will cause the double amputation of her legs.

Jessica Long’s life is not easy, but amazing

And then we all hold our breath. What will the parents say? How will this adoptive mother answer? Indeed, knowingly taking on such a responsibility, such a challenge, is unwise—right? There will be heartache and suffering in this little girl’s future. Why would an adoptive parent sign up for that?
The mom pauses for a moment and then answers. “It might not be easy, but it will be amazing.”
We all let out our breath as the swimmer stops and smiles at this woman, this man, her adoptive parents. They said, “yes!” We sit in stunned silence as the world of football and commercials move on. “It might not be easy, but it will be amazing” rings in our ears.

Why don’t we hear that message more often? Why, when a woman finds herself in an unexpected and unplanned pregnancy, do so many say, abort. Get rid of the baby. It is too hard. Why can’t we say it might not be easy, but it will be amazing?

Real life inspiring stories

First, the rhetoric goes to the mom and the dad. You are not prepared. Being a parent in this time of your life is too hard. You are too young, too poor, too–fill in the blank. It will ruin your life. It will waste all of your future potential. Nothing good can come of this. But is that really true?

There are so many stories of women who chose not to abort. Whether they raised the baby, like our friend Kourtney, or worked through an open adoption like another friend and birth mother, Lindsey, or even have a closed adoption like Deland McCullough . There are so many stories of what seemed impossible at the moment; what seemed so hard–turned out amazing. We hear from mom, dads, and the children that are thankful for life. A son’s letter to his father who chooses life will bring a tear to the eye. It is so beautiful how this brave dad chose the hard things over the easy thing.

Why do we insist that hard things are bad? Even a mother who conceived from rape shares what a beautiful ending she witnessed after choosing life for her baby. And the crazy thing is, she says she is not brave or special for doing so. Like her, many women choose life even after the devastation of rape and don’t regret it. In contrast, many who choose abortion often do. And we marvel at this, how can it be? Because hard can be good. Even though it is not easy, it can be beautiful and life-changing in a meaningful way.

Another amazing story

Second, the story continues with disabilities. Often women are told to abort a baby because the baby will have special needs. The doctor starts with, “I’m sorry but …” and shares some sort of diagnosis that the baby is not compatible with life. And in a flash, a couple feels obligated, even pressured, to abort a child identified with special needs.

Yet, so many families share that even if their child has special needs, imagining life without their child is unthinkable. They claim that their family is richer for being blessed with that unique child. We see real-life examples in the joy of Emily and Max. Even with the autism that affects Max and his ability to engage with others, he inspires others by being a bright spot. Max creates and places heart signs on people’s yards to encourage others during COVID. Then there’s Will, a man with down syndrome, who helps put people at ease in uncomfortable situations. And the story of Dr. Tyler Sexton, who became a pediatrician doctor, working through his cerebral palsy, serves others so well not in spite of his handicap but through and because of his handicap. These inspiring stories reveal truth to us, that even though it is not easy, it is amazing.

Not easy, but amazing

It baffles me the hubris needed to say who has a quality life and who does not. They are too needy or too handicapped. Really? When we have so many examples of overcomers in our world and our nation. How can we say something is too hard? Why can’t we fight to help others be brave? See the everyday heroes that each day say it is hard, but it is worth it. Focus on inspiring stories like Jessica’s and choose what is challenging over what is comfortable. Why? Because, “It might not be easy, but… it will be amazing.”

© 2021 by Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. First published on FocusOnTheFamily.com in February.

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