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Occupy the Good Life
A farewell gift to a culture looking for something better


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Kathryn Jean Lopez

I met Kortney this summer, during a training weekend for SFLA Wilberforce fellows, named for the British parliamentarian and abolitionist leader. “Fellows” are college students who make a commitment and are given leadership training, mentors, and resources to be campus pro-life leaders. 

Mrs. Mechmann, living to age 86, saw a great deal — including years of cultural tumult. Jon and Kortney are two faces of a generation that I keep encountering throughout the country. They are occupying fully human lives, not forgetting their brothers and sisters, and not letting injustice go unaddressed. Jon and Kortney did not believe what young people of the Woodstock generation did, about radical individualism and wars of the sexes and entitlement. They, and those who survive them, want to live lives of responsibility, gratitude, and service — lives more rooted than endlessly searching. Many of them want God. They at least want to know there is truth. 

Jon didn’t embark on this “abortion abolition” business alone though — Charles is insistent on pointing that out. This gets to the heart of what motivated him and Kortney and others of this generation I’m talking about, and it is also what makes it possible for their family and friends to go on. “When Jon got up out of bed in the morning,” Charles tells me, he prayed. “Even if his body was barely awake, his spirit was pushing forward, drawing strength from his Lord.” The day ended in prayer, as well. 

Charles remembers Jon with the words from John 10:10, in which Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” “He always wanted more,” Charles tells me. “And wherever he went he carried a particular joy in his characteristic half smile, half smirk.”

The long and the short of it is this: Jon’s, Kortney’s, and Mrs. Mechmann’s were three rich lives. We don’t know the day or the hour, but we don’t have to. As we get caught up in the headlines and all our daily challenges, these three lives can be an inspiration to a rededication, to living each coming moment to its fullest, with joy in service to one another. 

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is the editor-at-large of National Review Online. This column is available exclusively through United Media.



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