March 14, 2023

by Pastor Lonie Eatherton

If people were just apples, then each tiny little seed
Could be planted or discarded solely based upon the need.
And each struggling little seedling looking up to see the sky
Could be cultivated nicely or cut off and left to die.

Not a life would be protected, not an apple tree exempt
From the fate that would befall it …
And if someone should attempt
To set parameters for conduct in our dealing with a sprout,
Then the civil rights committee would step in and throw him out!

If people were just apples, then the green and wormy may
Without fear of accusation, quietly be put away.
Any immature or handicapped, the slightest of degrees,
Might be sorted out like apples and discarded as you please.

If people were just apples, then the ones that start to age
Growing old and soft and wrinkled, moving far beyond the stage
Of when the quality of life was fully beautiful and strong,
Would be ushered to their coffins without fear of doing wrong.

If people were just apples, then we’d measure and we’d weigh
Which were good enough to save and all the ones we’d throw away.
And someday soon the refuse pile of life would get its due –
Someone would come along and judge that we should be there, too!

The author, Rev. Lonie Eatherton, sent this poem to Dr. Jean Garton in the 1980s when she was president of Lutherans For Life. It was shared on Dr. Garton’s “Speaking of Life®” radio program and was recently revised and sent to LFL. Rev. Eatherton wrote, “As a teacher and pastor, I would tell my students and catechumens that I believed (prayerfully) that there would come a future day in America when perhaps their own grandchildren would look up at them in disbelief and ask, ‘Was there really a time in America when they killed babies before they were even born?’ We’re still praying for that day when everyone will see, through God’s eyes, how precious each person is.”