Saturday, August 24, 2013

My introduction to sidewalk counseling

I'm guessing it was about 15 or 16 years ago when I was invited to join in with others who were sidewalk counseling. I really didn't know much about what they did other than a vague impression of maybe picketing or being somewhat agressive in front of abortion clinics. I just wasn't ready for anything like that. But - somehow I was invited to join others in praying the rosary in front of the abortion clinic. I felt very safe with this task and was happy to go. This took place in front of Planned Parenthood on Auburn Avenue in Cincinnati all those years ago. I prayed with others and alone. I was on the receiving end of nasty remarks from cars going by. It was a lot to take in but I just prayed and felt brokenhearted knowing what was going on inside and felt blessed to be present in some small way. I knew the prayers were powerful. I paced a little in front of the place as time went on, getting somewhat anxious about everything. As I walked passed an elderly lady at the other end of the property line a couple of times, I became intrigued about what she was doing. I was finishing up my prayertime and was getting ready to leave. I noticed some of the pamphlets she had in her hands and that she was actually approaching young women humbly. I mentioned to her that I wished I had brough some of my materials as some were the same as those she had. She began to tell me about how some women would take them from her and she was able to speak to them for a bit. Then she motioned for me to come over by her car with her so she could show me something. She opened her glove compartment door and opened a tattered but full envelope. She began to show me the pictures and letters - pictures of the babies she helped save from being aborted by being present to the women - heartfelt letters from the mothers thanking her. I could not believe my eyes or ears. I truly felt like this was a huge turning point in my life. It was her witness to me that sidewalk counseling was nothing more than lovingly reaching out to a mother in a hopeless situation. It was not confrontational or sensational or illegal. I could no longer have an excuse not to join in this lifesaving effort. I wish I could remember her name - maybe someone out there knows who I am talking about. I've been told that there was a lady who has since passed away named Mae that fits that description. Her witness to me was LIFECHANGING and her witness to countless others was LIFE-SAVING. The countless names of the babies she helped save are unknown also - but they were able to be born and named. What a gift - an identity - one stamped by the hand of God. I have been involved with sidewalk counseling over the years and wish I could say I am more involved than I am. I pray that I can have the opportunity to begin it again regularly. I invite you to become involved in sidewalk counseling in your city. Even if it is just to silently pray. Life will never be the same.

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