This morning was my first Friday back after many weeks of non-routine events. Our family was in California for my wonderful father-in-law’s funeral and last week I was in prison all weekend doing ministry. So after two weeks of schedule disruption, it was nice to settle back into our family routine. And that included my normal Friday routine downtown.
Wayside was uneventful and I spent the time serving breakfast, greeting folks and catching up with Dr John (the other Friday morning volunteer there who is a fixture he has been there so long). And in front of the abortion clinic it was similar. I spoke with Donna, Dave and Ed and met Jonathan, Hannah, Brian and Keith — some younger folks who were there to join us. It is so nice to see younger people of faith get involved in issues and events outside of themselves. These youth are the next generation of mission workers, youth ministers and kingdom harvesters.
There is one clinic escort who is particularly interesting. She is older and “hardened”. She never bats an eye if I say good morning to her and she loathes anyone not in an orange vest or entering the clinic. From her behavior and her eyes, I see a lot of pain and bitterness. Consequently, I pray for her. I mostly pray for her heart to be softened. Note that I did not pray for her to be converted or for her to see the other side — just that her heart be softened. God can do a lot with that.
So this morning I prayed for that and had moved along in my prayers when I heard a commotion and opened my eyes. I did not see what happened but saw this older lady escort out on the sidewalk on her back. It appeared she had fallen. Several of those praying immediately rushed to her side and offered comfort and assistance. They held her head and put arms around her for support. After a minute or two they helped her to her feet. At one point she was an orange vest surrounded by 3 or 4 plain clothes people. The other orange vests didn’t really like that “the enemy” was loving on their co-worker so they engaged, sloughed off the offer of help and retreated her to the other side of the property line beyond the reach of any of us. One of the young men had run next door to A Woman’s Choice and retrieved a first aid kit. He offered it up and held it out which was flatly refused by one of the orange vests managing the old lady victim. I found it interesting that, in spite of the obvious need, they were willing to forgo aid because of the hand that was holding it. The young man then laid it on the clinic side of the property line where they then took it and opened it looking for helpful materials. I found the first aid kit scene reminiscent of a hiker wanting to feed a wild deer or squirrel holding out food, but the animal not taking it. Only when the food is laid down does the animal eat. While I understand the lack of trust the deer/squirrel/orange vest has for the one offering up something good for it, I have a higher expectation of those who have cognitive reasoning to put aside mistrust for their greater need. All I could think of is that there must be a lot of hate, bitterness, anger, and loathing to not take something that is offered up to fulfill a true need.
What I saw in that fall was unconditional love on a human being in need. The issues temporarily evaporated (but not for long) and folks of different and opposite viewpoints were just trying to love and help their neighbor — that is all. And isn’t that what we are called to do? Love our neighbor. Love our enemies.
I can only hope that through the pain of the fall and what she was going through that she felt the love of those she loathes. I pray a seed was planted and some day her heart will be softened.
It did get me wondering — what would happen if one of our old ladies fell and hurt themselves in front of them?
…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net