It's cloudy. The cold keeps biting through my hoodie and i feel my hips shaking with both cold and discomfort.
i'll never get used to praying outside our city's abortion clinic.
i hold up my new sign. My old one, bedraggled with wear has finally gone missing... and so my children helped me make a new one. Carefully, i penned the message that remains on my heart as these months pass, and these vigils come and go... It's the message that Jesus brought when he came to tell a lost world that they could be found, the message is: "You are loved."
On the other side, in bold print, i offered the message that my mother in law sent me when i miscarried our son 16 weeks into my pregnancy... it ministered to my broken heart then, and i pray that it's truth will penetrate the hearts of those bent on death, "Each fragile life is a gift".
My nine year old son and my seven year old daughter stand with me. Nervously, they ask what we should pray - and my son asks if it would be alright to pray Our Father.
So we do.
Soon, their little limbs fidget and they're ready to run to the playground and i smile as they go - and continue to pray and hold the message of love to the city of Calgary.
You are loved... Yes you, little bald man who slows to a near stop, eyes squinted, mouth agape to see the colourful words on my sign. And you, you are loved, angry woman shaking your head "no" as you drive disgustedly away, slamming your hand in frustration on your steering wheel, and you - poor father... i see you slumped over your steering wheel as you wait parked on the side of the road after she walked in those doors, do you know that you too, are loved?
You are loved, little family in the red van - who wonder why a stranger holds up a sign about love on a seemingly random sidewalk; oblivious to my calling, and what you are driving past... and you, gramma with the pixie cut who stares straight ahead with rigid jaw, pretending i don't exist... and neither does that grey building on the other side of the road that boasts, "accredited surgical facility..."
Tiny babies that are hidden beneath clothes, beneath skin and bone - tucked in the secret place - growing and unaware of the possibility of outside interference. You are loved, passenger who cranes your neck to read my message and then rolls down the window to wave it's receipt. You are loved, bus driver - who shocks me by pulling over and thanking me for my prayerful presence. She calls it, "Good Work..." this praying... & work it is... & i know in my heart that she's right.
You are loved, unwanted person, unhealthy person, old person and young. You are loved beautiful person, mocking person, scornful person, confused person, seemingly unlovable person... each one... loved.
Each one of us here, now... has been given this one life by the Creator of the Universe. Each unique life is precious in it's undeniable vulnerability and temporary nature.
i believe that a culture that truly knew God's love... that truly understood that they were loved... that grasped the very core of the reason *all* human life has value - (for God so loved the world...) would be unable to so casually take it away.
You are loved, Calgary.