As the prayer vigil continued in front of the Eaton Place abortion clinic in Fairfax, VA, the pungent smell of natural gas rose in the air.
“What smells so bad, Mom?” the kids were asking, “What are all the sirens about?”
Hazmat teams started to arrive, police had blocked the road and were directing thousands of cars right past us as we prayerfully protested.
One of the moms said, “This is just amazing! We have over 12 children out here with signs and smiles on their faces! What a great opportunity for us to witness for life!”
No one was moving us off the sidewalk, there seemed to be no threat to us or to any of the cars that were being directed away from the emergency teams. So, we stayed and held our signs and began to pray the Rosary peacefully.
And, then it started, almost on cue. We hadn’t gotten through the Apostle’s Creed when the first vitriolic comment was hurtled our way.
“Why don’t you just worry about the kids you already have! Can you hear me, you idiots!”, a bitter woman screamed from her car.
“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church…”, I raised my voice to shield the kids from the hostile comment. Yes, we could hear her. But, why was she so angry?
Only moments later, another car passed. Another angry comment burst forth from a woman driving by. “Boo, boo!” she hissed.
The kids were baffled. We were quiet, peacefully praying. Our signs said to “pray for an end to abortion”. We have a legal right to be there. Why would our right to peacefully gather and protest not be honored? Why is it met with such disdain?
The kids wanted to know. And, I tried to answer as best I could.
“This is 100 times more traffic than we ever see past here on a Friday at noon. They have no choice but to see us holding signs, peacefully praying the Rosary, and smiling at them. Do you think this is what the devil wants? No! He doesn’t want them to see us, hear us, or even notice us. This works against his plan to keep people complacent. That is where evil is most effective — when good people do nothing at all.”
The gas leak forced traffic to stop right in front of us for more than an hour. Traffic moved in sharp waves and then stood still. Most people avoided eye contact, some smiled, other honked, and about ten out of thousands let us know how they really felt about the prolife movement with angry words and equally angry hand gestures.
But, as my friend Anne reminded me, “there had to be one person in that crowd that God wanted to see us.” Maybe He wanted them all to see us. We’ll never know that in this life. But, the fact of the matter is that they did — they were stuck in detoured traffic, and we weren’t going anywhere.
As for the gas leak, as reported on NBC News in Washington, a 6 – 12″ gas main blew a manhole cover and split it in two around noon.
There are no reports of injuries. But as a result of this accident and the change of traffic patterns, perhaps the minds and hearts of many people will be changed, and maybe the life of even one baby could be spared.