Saturday, October-13, Day 18
My half-day at the vigil location began and ended with soup. Shortly after I had arrived - 12H30, Maria appeared, carrying a pot containing a vichyssoise and, later, as my thoughts were turning to the day’s closing prayer, I was delighted to see John and Celeste arrive, the latter carrying likewise a pot filled with soup - bean soup. On this cold day both were appreciated and consumed up by those of us there.
In addition to the soups, I will remember this day because of two pretty intense exchanges. First, at about 3 p.m., a cyclist stopped no more than three feet in front of me. An older gentleman, he fixed his pale green eyes into mine and remained silent for an extended time. After a while, I smiled and introduced myself. No response. This does not bode well, I thought.
Eventually, the monolith spoke. In his German accent, I learned that he had been the security guard posted in the building where the abortuary is located across the street some twenty years ago. At that time he had witnessed many acts committed by the then pro-lifers that he found disturbing. As he had read in the area’s local paper about our presence in the park, he had decided to come and see us.
Throughout the conversation, his face remained tense, eyes riveted into mine. The topics of our ten to fifteen minute conversation varied from abortion to the Church, from science to theology. An intelligent man, very sensitive and hurt person. I presumed he associated us and our tactics with those pro-lifers whom he had met some twenty years ago. Eventually he cycled away.
The second encounter had a similar charged excitement to it. Shortly after 5 p.m., a young woman jumps out of a car stopped in the middle lane of Saint-Joseph Blvd. waiting for the red light to change. She beelines to the banner, demanding what this, waving with her arms at the banner, is all about. Her indignation is apparent.
Between Andrew and me we talk to her. As the closest, I greet her first and begin explaining the banner and its two panels – that we are here to pray for the end of abortion (banner), to save the life of children who are already in this world (left panel of 8th month foetus), and that help is available via a toll-free phone line (right panel).
At this point, Andrew enters the discussion, I exiting and joining Charlotte in silent prayer for a peaceful resolution to this exchange. Our prayers are heard, as the woman retreats, with a smile, and joins the driver who had parked, awaiting her return.
Praise God for his countless blessings.