i didn't feel like going.
i had a million reasons to stay home... "i'll pray here..." i thought to myself... but because i had already put my name on that vigil calendar, i decided to keep my hour long date with my Father on the sidewalk on 5th Ave across from the Kensington abortion clinic.
As i drove that familiar route to the clinic, and pulled around the final corner, i breathed, "Gimme a sign Father... i come here and i go. So often, i don't speak a single word to another human being in the time that i'm here... Can you let me talk to someone today?"
i park my van, noticing two women praying at the corner. They hold the sign that i love that says, "Look at the Ultrasound" - i love it because the majority of women who do see their tiny offspring on that grainy monitor are unable to take it's life...
We pray together before they have to leave and they encourage me by their presence and by our joined prayers. As they walk away, i feel a deep peace, and i know that it doesn't matter who i talk to... as long as i continue to talk with Him.
i'm listening to prayers made into music - and so at first i don't notice the man who has approached me from behind.
"What are you doing here?" he asks, curious.
i pull my earphones out of my ears and turn to face him.
"i'm here because i'm praying for an end to abortion."
"Why do you carry that sign?"
i glance down at the words that are scribbled in markers and crayons every shade of the rainbow... the words reading, "You are Loved".
"i carry this sign, because i want the mamas and the daddies to see that i understand that they're in a moment of crisis and that they see no other way. My prayer is that they will see this sign and soften and have mercy on the little one inside."
"Oh." He pauses, taking in what i've said... and then..."i came this close..." He measures the tiny distance between his thumb and finger... "my wife and i did. We weren't expecting her to get pregnant, but then when she was, we got all wrapped up in our own selves and didn't think about the other life we should have considered. Thank God we made the right decision, and she's now the most beautiful 12 year old girl in the world."
"Yes," i say, "Thank God."
He stays a few moments - offering encouragement as he contemplates me, my sign... and that clinic across the street, and then he tells me he'll be praying for me, and walks away.
He asks me again, "Why are you here?"
i tell him the same thing i told the first man.
"Are you a Christian?" he asks, "i ask because i want to understand these things... What church do you represent here?"
i tell him that i come here - not as a member of my church, but as a follower of God... i come here because i love God. He smiles at this... i tell him that i come because each little one is a tiny person - with value and a soul. He tells me that he is muslim and that they are taught the same thing... "But," he shrugs, "i am not a religious man, so i don't remember exactly when it all happens..."
i explain how science has helped us better understand the beginnings of human life, how a unique individual is created at the moment of conception - and that each little one is precious to their Creator.
"i have seen you here before." He tells me, "i see this sign and i don't understand what you're trying to say... with a sign reading, 'you are loved'. i asked my co-worker and said, 'Should i stop and ask?' and he told me that i should and so today i finally did!"
i smile 'cause there are some things i'm sure of and this is one of them.
"My sign says, 'you are loved' because i really believe deep down in the bottom of my very soul that if the mamas and the daddies knew... if they really knew... that they are loved and precious... If they understood that their lives had value, then they would be unable to take the precious, valuable life of the little one they carry."
He begins to nod slowly, a smile creeping onto the corners of his mouth. He knows i'm right.
He thanks us for being there - and we thank him for stopping - and he lopes away to his vehicle.
We're seen there on the corner... and on this day, i got the chance to share the love of my Father God with two of the million people in our city.