Monday, September 05, 2011

sidewalk counseling

I'd always known that sidewalk counseling was definitely a calling and not for everyone, regardless of how passionate you are about helping mothers & the unborn, but I learned just how true that is this weekend.

Everytime I've gone to the "clinic" (we'll call it that here just for today) I have become frustrated by the volume of the sidewalk counselors' voices. With the clinic right off the highway and the parking lot being a pretty decent distance from where public property is, it is difficult to get a message to the women clearly without raising your voice to sound like a yell. I am a loud person (#flaw) and I am really easily frustrated (#flaw) so I would leave the clinic just feeling so helpless that these kindhearted sweet sidewalk counselors are basically whispering to these women. It hurt me to watch. THEY CAN'T HEAR YOU! SPEAK UP! is all I could think when I'd be there praying. Then this Saturday happened and I think I understand a bit more.

Good news is that I think the women can hear better than I can because the highway is next to us (prayer volunteers) and the counselors' voices are directed toward the women, while frustrated & helpless ole' me is placed in the opposite direction of the voices. So that's good. Bad news is that I suck at sidewalk counseling.

I can talk to people pretty easily. I loved talking to strangers (and rando PP volunteers- hey Patrick if you are reading this, wassuppppp) in D.C. and I can talk to strangers on planes and have great, civilized conversations about abortion and religion and the most controversial & awkward topics but still have a good time, but when it came to standing by that fence and talking to these women living what I'm guessing is one of the hardest days of their lives... I didn't have any words.

SPEECHLESS isn't usually a word that describes me, but watching a couple get out of the car looking so lifeless and heavy hearted and angry... I was speechless. My mouth was literally open and my jaw was like moving trying to feel for a familiar motion that would somehow formulate the right words or even 1 word that I could say but nothing could come out. After failing myself and failing these babies I would look over to the other sidewalk counselor and kind of shrug or nod to tell her to take over and try. I failed.

I was there for 2 hours, which is the longest I have ever stayed, and within the first 15 minutes I almost just lost it. Abortion kills children and abortion kills my spirit when I really face it and really let its gravity sink in, and that's what I did initially... which was a bad choice considering my purpose was to be there on the sidewalks to help these women and babies and fathers... so I sucked the tears back in and just kind of pushed through the 2 hours without letting my heart break into too many pieces.

The deepest hurt I have felt in a long time was staying there for those 2 hours; I have never watched a woman/couple pull into the parking lot, walk right by me, say no to being offered help, enter the clinic... and then watched them emerge 2 hours later... with one less person with them. One woman who I saw go in was so beautiful; she had perfect skin, although it looked like she'd been crying and she had puffy eyes upon arrival, and she had great long blonde hair that I was so jealous of. When she and her boyfriend/husband (holding hands) came out of the clinic... it was like a different person. She was still so beautiful, but now she's going to be carrying so much pain beneath that beauty and, God, what hurt. Her boyfriend/husband was attractive too (AND he drove one of the fanciest cars I've seen in a while; LOTS of fancy cars in that parking lot on Saturday). I wonder who their baby would've looked like.

Basically... I have so much respect for sidewalk counselors. I already respected them before, but now... SO much more. I don't know that I am supposed to be one honestly...which stinks because I have so much love for these women and babies that I can't even put into words, but I just don't do well with people being angry at me and there were 2-3 people going in on Saturday whose anger towards the other sidewalk counselors felt like a jab into my own heart; I can't take that pain, or can I?

I really feel like I failed those children and I don't know when the next time I will go back will be. I can't bear to be there long enough for an abortion to take place. I can't watch the babies go in and watch their mothers come out without them. It's just like look Sarah, look what you should have prevented and didn't. I feel responsible.

One of the sidewalk counselors consoled that feeling I had by saying that it really is almost too late; the women have their minds seemingly made up and they have made their appointment and they are showing up for the appointment. Other than the baby actually being killed, everything has already taken place and it is practically too late... practically.

I was so heartbroken that I went home afterwards and turned on "Beauty and the Beast" and napped for 4 hours. Still hurts.



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