The Magnitude of Life


“Life is short, don’t waste time worrying about what people think of you. Hold on to the ones that care, in the end they will be the only ones there.” Anonymous

It had not been long since she has turned 21. This day was the one she had been dreaming of. The special part of this day was meeting that woman. That morning, she woke up early and got dressed quickly, as she did not even want to waste one single second. All she wanted was to be on time at their meeting spot. Shortly, she rushed to the street to take a taxi. Snow was keeping her from walking ahead. “Oh my God, this must be a joke… I can hardly believe this weather, after all sunshine last week. And now no cabs at all!” Finally, she got a cab and headed downtown. The woman she was meeting was her birth mother. She was supposed to meet her mom for the first time in her life at age 21. Sometimes life shows us its bitter, stinging side. When it does, it feels like we are under a divine test of strength and endurance. Human beings have the ability to overcome the most unthinkable hardship, and Claire Culwell is a prime example. Maybe it’s better to tell the story by her own words at this point:

“I met the woman who gave birth to me. I had always dreamed about the day I would meet her, and it never involved the most significant part of it all; learning that I was an abortion survivor.  She was 13 years old when she became pregnant with me and the only option she knew of (according to her mother) was abortion.  She proceeded to go to an abortion clinic nearby where she had an abortion.  A few weeks later she realized she was still pregnant and decided to go to an out-of-state late-term abortion clinic to have a second abortion. During her examination at the late-term abortion clinic, she was told that she had been pregnant with twins.  One was aborted, and one survived.  She was also told that it was too late to have even a late-term abortion.  She decided to give me up for adoption when I was born two weeks later. Putting me up for adoption (and giving me the best family I can imagine) was a life-changing decision for all of us.”


Because of the abortion, she was born 2 ½ months premature and weighed 3 lbs 2 oz.  She was on life support and had to stay in the hospital for 2 ½ months until she could be brought home.  Her hips were dislocated and her feet were turned (because during the abortion, the sac that held her body together was broken) and when she was brought home she had 2 casts on her feet and a harness. She was put in a body cast for 4 months, and she didn’t walk until she was over 2 years old.  It still affects her even today.

I picked this real life story to boost the truth of how gifted we ordinary humans are. For Claire it was hard to even grasp the fact that she survived, and her twin didn’t. She knows that she’ll never know what she is missing because her twin didn’t make it into this world and what the world is missing because of all the babies that don’t receive the same gift of life that you and I have. Claire says:

” But it shows me the magnitude of life.  Life was not meant to be taken for granted or played around with.  Life is the greatest gift you can receive and give.  The hard part is that so many of us (myself included) just go about our lives not realizing what a GIFT we’ve been given and forgetting about how many babies are not given this gift and opportunity of LIFE.”

This real life story reminds me how superficial my daily worries are. Furthermore, what matters today does not matter tomorrow. Claire’s story reminds me life itself is a miracle, only if we stand on the right side of the hill.

All my adult life, I felt envious of people who achieved a lot in a short span of their lives. They did whatever they wanted to do and nothing or no one prevented them from doing it. Appreciation for the things that truly matter often gets lost in our hectic, everyday routine. An anonymous quote that I like says; “Learn to appreciate what you have, before time makes you appreciate what you had.”

I want to share another real life story with you, that shows the courage of people who know how to appreciate what they have, and cherish the value and importance of friendship:

Horror gripped the heart of the World War I soldier as he saw his lifelong friend fall in battle. Caught in a trench with continuous gunfire whizzing over his head, the soldier asked his lieutenant if he might go out into the “no man’s land” between the trenches to bring his fallen comrade back.

You can go, said the lieutenant, but i don’t think it will be worth it. Your friend is probably dead and you may throw your life away. The soldier went anyway. Miraculously he managed to reach his friend, hoist him onto his shoulder and bring him back to their company’s trench. As the two of them tumbled in together to the bottom of the trench, the officer checked the wounded soldier, and then looked kindly at his friend. I told you it wouldn’t be worth it, he said. Your friend is dead and you are mortally wounded.

It was worth it, though, sir, said the soldier. What do you mean; worth it? responded the Lieutenant. Your friend is dead. Yes, Sir, the private answered. But it was worth it because when I got to him, he was still alive and I had the satisfaction of hearing him saying, Jim.., I knew you’d come. ”