In My Town

As I went through my backlog of open windows, bookmarking things I wanted to read sometime and finishing purchases I'd started days ago, I ran across the 40 days for life page. I recalled that I was thinking about how I might participate in the vigil, how I might take my wagon and kids and stand outside the largest abortion clinic in the area and pray.

Every time I think of it, which I suppose I've done many times, I think of a time we as a family participated in a prayer walk. Groups split up and walked through the streets sourounding our church, and we prayed. We prayed for the people, the homes, the businesses; I recall my husband praising God for the library. It is such a fond, tangible memory. I pray often, but that time of focused, physical, family prayer was somehow different.

The logistics seem to get in the way, but truly, it is fear that does. Some of it is fear of unknowns, general anxiety about new places and not having an idea of what to expect. Actually, all of it is that. It's why having someone else with you matters.

I've looked at the map many times. It's a Planned Parenthood in the city. The street view doesn't clearly show where one might legally stand -- the sidewalk, I guess. Parking is dreaded on-street parallel parking. I didn't think it through explicitly, but I suspect these are the reasons I ended up searching the map for other clinics and offices that performed abortions nearby.

As I said, I didn't think that through. Such darkness. Sadness. Descended on me. Tears sitting just behind my eyes. As I read reviews, as I see the buildings, the services offered. Children die here. Right here, in my city. In so many places.

There were nondescript buildings with a rudimentary online presence that featured abortion and rights front and center -- one touting 2nd trimester procedures like an advertisement. There were others more vague that left a sense of probably.

Five star ratings saying I didn't feel judged. That's all. Or amazed by how quick it was. Someone acknowledged being stressed.

Babies die here. Right here. Within 10 miles of where I sit. Oh God.

I drive past them. I knew, but I didn't feel the weight of it until just now. It's not some far-off concept or cause. It's right here, down the street.