Appreciation (40) …Old man's prayer*
Nov. 28, 2011
In sight and out of mind at the FCC
Saturday was the monthly prayer vigil against abortion day at the clinic. On our side were a measly 8 or so holding a large banner and chanting moderate offenses at the 100+ followers of Helpers of God's Precious Infants massed across Wellington Parade. I was there to show support (until sunk by a persistent downpour which left me swimming in my shoes) and collect potential players for an enlarged weekday presence in the face of the Helpers.
I was involved in collecting the last name and email when an old guy approached from the back seeking my attention. I turned enough to say I'd come talk to him when I finished. And so I did 3 minutes later, noting that I was approaching a guy short of my height and even shorter of my weight, but longer in days. He was clothed in an almost twin of one of my sports jackets (Germanic hounds-toothy sort of thing to compliment tans and such), trilby hat and wire-rimmed glasses of faintly 80's and a hand hold on a string of rosary beads.
As I came up he started to ask if it was OK for him to pray here. I said fine with me but I couldn't authorise him; he'd have to ask the others…and he volunteered to pray for me, too, as well as the souls in the clinic. I thanked him for the offer. Probably it was my fairly lurid red waterproof, relative towering over the herd on our side and my fairly clear age advance on the rest, too, which drew him to me.
Anyway, he started up walking back and forth in the neutral zone between the roadside white line and the clinic gate soundlessly working through the beads. Of our side, holding the banner and chanting, no one noticed and no one interrupted him. And there we were, infiltrated in broad daylight. As far as I know, prayer doesn't gain or lose power as a function of distance from its objects.
The real story here is power: that there's this power vacuum just waiting for users to appear with enough daring to claim it for themselves, as Charles and I originally did. The proof of its opportunity walked up and down until I left 15 minutes later – in sight and out of mind. The unsqueaky wheel needs no foil.
* A 'prayer' in Fertility Control Clinic security-speak is a pro-life protestor who only prays, as distinguished from protestors who pray and harass patients in moments of prayerful lapses.