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The Legacy of Lennie & Bennie

"What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet;" ~ William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II Scene II

What someone or something is called does not change their innate characteristics or attributes.

My grandparents with their 11 children. Back row from top left: Hurley, LD, Elmer, Robert, Marie, Carrie. Center row: Lonnie and Lennie, pregnant with Freddie, Jimmy, Erma, Joe. My father, Bennie, is lower front and center.

In August 1943, at three months gestation, my father was a preborn person, awaiting his birth day six months later. At age two, he was a mischievous toddler, 10th born in his family with siblings all around. At age nineteen, he was a handsome young man, courting my mother. At age forty, he was a strong adult and family man, a firefighter and father of three. And at 66, he was completely dependent, only remnants of his lovely personality present, dying of brain cancer.

Fetus. Child. Man. Invalid.

From top left, clockwise: Baby Bennie; Bennie and Bonnie; Bennie with Shawn, Jeremy and Heather in Great Smoky Mountains National Park; Poppa with Ashton

At what point in his life was Bennie Ray not valuable or worthy of protection? Was he as valuable unborn as born? Was it his size that made him worth protecting? His location? His "wantedness"? Is his personality what made him valuable?

Thankfully, my smart, sweet, God-fearing, Jesus-loving Grandma Lennie believed that our Creator made her and all her babies and she valued each human life because he/she is made in the image of her/his Creator. She didn’t buy into any bad arguments or fears, like scarcity. She knew that the Lord—who is sovereign—always provides.

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. ~ Psalm 37:25

From top left, clockwise: Grandma Lennie with Bennie, Bonnie and baby Shawn; Glenn and Grandma; Scott, Grandma and Shawn; Uncle Joe, Heather, Shawn and Grandma

Grandma Lennie was an avid reader of the Bible. I don’t think she ever read “Woman and the New Race” by her contemporary, Margaret Sanger, who titled Chapter 5 of that book, “The Wickedness of Creating Large Families”. In it she says:

“The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”

Grandma Lennie’s life was not easy, but she had joy unspeakable and full of glory not based on circumstances, but on her Savior. She was not duped by Sanger’s fear-mongering and immoral thinking, such as:

“Finally we have the problem of how to stop reproduction by those who are recognised as biologically unfit, or who have inheritable diseases.”


“Some method must be devised to eliminate the degenerate and the defective; for these act constantly to impede progress and ever increasingly drag down the human race.”

Grandma Lennie loved her family. She loved her babies, regardless of their size: one baby, eleven babies, preborn and born. She didn’t love her children because of their talent, abilities or potential; she loved them regardless. My father Bennie learned and embraced the same faith and love for God and family that his mother modeled.

The Spry Family at Poppa's Celebration of Life - Fall 2010

Bennie’s life was a hymn of praise to His Creator. He loved his wife and children well. He was blessed to father one biological child and adopt two others who all knew him to be a man of great character. Many siblings, nephews, nieces and friends looked to him as a great role model, as he was quick to love in deed.

Married 46 years, Bennie loved Bonnie sacrificially, like Messiah loves his bride

In 2010, at the age of 66, Bennie was stricken with an aggressive and inoperable brain cancer that rendered him helpless. It affected his personality and his ability to care for himself. Did he cease being valuable, loved or worthy of protection? Of course not! His condition of dependency caused us to care for him more vigilantly. Do we only love others for what they can do for or with us or how they make us feel? Of course not.

Poppa with the Hillary Family at Liam's football game ~ Fall 2010

The unborn are no different in that way from the sick or disabled. They are completely dependent on other people to care for and protect them.

Taking Dad for radiation treatment ~ Fall 2010

What someone or something is called does not change their innate characteristics or attributes.

When a child is conceived and parents are not willing to parent, there are myriad families who are eager and waiting to parent. Adoption is such a huge blessing for everyone. As an adoptee, I know!

When parents receive a devastating prenatal diagnosis, I can fathom the pain. I understand the grief that comes with the loss of hopes, the great sadness of an anticipated untimely death. But ending a child’s life intentionally because of that diagnosis is murder. There are people who have gone through pregnancy and birth with this burden and they are willing to walk alongside you.

All the reasons one can think of to support intentionally aborting/killing a fetus (just one of many words to describe an unborn person--depending on the stage of development), including “bodily autonomy” and “reproductive freedom” never acknowledge the obvious: the unborn is a human person with the right to life, no matter the perceived desirability or quality.

Choose your dinner, your job, your mate. Choosing abortion is always a losing proposition. We all lose out when people are destroyed. Love chooses life. I want to love others selflessly, like my Grandma Lennie and father Bennie who lived and sang “It Is Well With My Soul" because they truly believed it:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.


It is well with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

Even so, it is well with my soul.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." ~ John 10:10

Click HERE to learn more about The SLED Test debunking pro-abortion arguments

Watch this to learn about the SLED Test

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