I was praying outside the clinic early one morning during the vigil and spotted a woman walking briskly from the parking garage at Liberty & 9th St. She had her arms crossed over her abdomen and was crying. A young man walked a few steps behind but couldn’t keep up with her. As she neared the clinic she was approached and offered help and resources but she wouldn’t hear of it. She stopped outside the clinic door still crying and trying to finish her cigarette. We again offered help and she called out something like “I’ve already paid. I have made the decision that is best for me” and then she entered.
I have seen so many women enter the clinic and have offered to help and was ignored but this one seemed different. She was tormented by her decision and I’m guessing she didn’t think she had viable options. I really thought we could help her and save her baby.
I was deeply saddened by her pain and decision and couldn’t help but to think “what if…”. I thought maybe had I said something else or been more sensitive to her needs. I prayed intensely for her.
Well God gave me a “do over”. She left the facility, went to the garage but then she returned. This time I tried again with all the words I wished I had said the first time. But it didn’t work. She went into the building anyway. This isn’t the way I expected it to work out. Why the do over? Why wasn’t I successful?
I was very upset over the encounter, yet took comfort in the words of Shawn Carney, with the National 40 Days For Life team:
“By praying on the sidewalk, you’re the last sign of Christ’s hope for the women going into the abortion facility — and the first sign of His mercy for them when they come out.”
I’m certain God didn’t want her to go into the clinic, yet HE permitted it. I don’t know why but that is not for me to know. I didn’t give in to discouragement or despair. I accepted it. Sure I’ll rethink it and try to figure out how to be better the next time. And I’ll pray for her. I don’t know her name, yet I refer to her as “Hope”. I ask you to pray as well for her. And who knows, she might have changed her mind and came out later after I had left. Perhaps she named her daughter Hope.
I share this sad story because I want you to know that I am not discouraged. I trust in God and HIS plan for this couple. God can turn evil into good, in His time and way. My role is to be there and offer the love of God and hope and be the last lifeline offering other options to these women in distress. So I will return and try again and again. I’m confident we’ll be successful with someone else. So I suggest to you, do not get discouraged if or when it happens to you, and try, try, try again.
Today witnessing at the vigil will be St Mary (Glenshaw), CMU/Pitt Newman Club and St (Irenaeus). Here are the recaps:
From Kathy L. 7-9 am:
“Quiet morning. Mary Ann M., a dear woman with a heart for the unborn, joined me on the sidewalk. We both wore signs while she sat in her wheelchair praying and I sat on the bin doing the same. Several passersby greeted us with “good morning” and “thank you for being here.” After some time passed, Mary Ann and I read some of the printed prayers together. A man named Arthur stopped by to share his view that life begins at conception and inform us of the abortion practice in Iceland that he read about that terminates pregnancies because the baby has an extra chromosome. That practice occurs here in the U.S. as well. Very sad.
The usual workers arrived. One of them reciprocated with a wave before entering the building. Marie and Bill H. arrived for the next shift.”
From Ginny 9-11:
We prayed most of the time. I had very nicely dressed young homeless man stop by to talk to us. He was very supportive.
From Rosalina 3-5 pm:
From Nikki 5-7 pm:
“I was blessed to have many people with me during my shift tonight! Even though he is sick, my husband decided to come with me and it was good to have him there. Mimi and Andy were there for a while after I got there and after they left Jeff from Saint Irenaeus church in Oakmont came because it was our scheduled time. It was great to see him and to have him
stay and witness with us! Soon after he got there a young man named Luther came by and asked if he could sit a while and rest. He also wanted to hold a sign. He stayed for at least an hour. It turns out that he is being evicted from his rented room tomorrow and needs to find shelter. We gave him a card that has a list of all the shelters in Pittsburgh. David, an off duty shift manager, came to be with me for the 6 to 7 hour since he had seen that there was a chance I would be alone. When Luther was leaving we said a prayer for him to help him to find housing. When David heard that Luther was going to be homeless, he reached out to Luther in a way that was an honor to witness. He very generously helped him and also told him how much God loves him and with so much love told him about Jesus’ mercy. I was really touched at the way that David was Jesus for Luther tonight. Really, Jesus was on that sidewalk ministering to Luther tonight and I was very privileged to witness it! Many people stopped and thanked us for being there, we had a few nasty comments but more positive than negative. All in all it was a good shift and I am glad that we have this opportunity to be Jesus on the sidewalk for 40 days. We were all very happy to see Tom when he came to pick pick up the materials. Thank you everyone for coming today! You made Jesus smile!”