Today was a very rainy day at Planned Parenthood; very much the same and yet totally different from that other rainy day in April.
That day I went late because responsibilities at work prevented me going early; today I went late because those of us who go, agreed to stagger ourselves to have a witness there for a longer period of time. Apparently abortions happen all day long at Planned Parenthood on Thursdays.
That day I was physically alone. I sang alone to the empty wet air. I read Psalms to God alone and Isaiah to the fallen rain. Today, when I got there the parking lot was full, but the sidewalk was empty. As I surveyed the property, Josh, who teaches Greek and makes beautiful music on Sunday mornings drove up in his car and rolled down the window and said, as the rain splashed his face, "I'll be right back!" He drove around the block and parked in front of the Board of REALTORS and came along beside me and held the umbrella for me, and sang with me, and held a sign showing a baby at an early stage of development.
He was there for me. He heard that I came later, and didn't want me to be alone.
That day, people came, but hurried quickly into the building. The rain was steady and constant. Once, someone could be seen looking out the window at me from the second floor. Today, the guard watched me for a while from behind the privacy fence, but when it began to rain again, he got in his car to stay dry. About four or five gathered where they could see us and smoked cigarettes, but they all rushed into the building, almost in a single movement when it began to pour. Maryanne, the elderly escort, left shortly after I got there. (I heard her say something about not being able to sleep "that" late.) A man and woman who had come before I got there came out to their car, and then went back in. Several women who were by themselves came and went.
By now, anyone reading or standing with me knows what I do on Thursdays. Anyone might also know the doubts and misgivings I have about my purpose and strategy. I don't know what I am doing. I do, hwoever believe that God calls me there, and so I trust Him.
That Thursday in April, I left a little early because I became disheartened after a large man escorted a small, young woman to his large pickup truck, glancing at me quickly and recognizing that I was nothing to worry about.
Today, I as I was reading Scripture a couple of women got out of a car and walked across the parking lot in front of me. I broke from reading Isaiah to ask, "Are you contemplating murder in your heart? It is not too late to turn around." She looked at me and continued to walk. I returned to my reading.
Today, I left early, too. I was very grateful for Josh being there. I appreciated his sacrifice on my behalf, but I felt very uncomfortable with it. ...and I felt like a fool, reading scripture and having little or nothing to say of my own.