As we arrive today, we wonder if there is an outdoor rock concert scheduled for this afternoon.
Once again, the four streets surrounding the plaza are packed. This time, the streets are lined with huge semi trucks, their doors thrown open, men and women hustling stage and sound equipment to the grass.
Wherever there’s a gap, a luxury tour bus pulls in to the spot and offloads what appears to be at least a hundred passengers each.
They’re carrying signs, but we can’t quite make them out. A couple of men arrive and begin setting up a Raider’s booth almost directly in front of us.
Ah, I think, distracted from my meditation, this has something to do with tonight’s big playoff 49ers football game. Don’t know why the Raiders would set up a booth, but perhaps in solidarity with a local team.
Soon, though, immediately in front of us, graphic images of fetuses come out, and we understand.
Today is the anniversary of Roe V Wade, the Supreme Court decision that ended deadly back alley abortions and affirmed a woman’s right to privacy in choosing how her body is used.
I have never had an abortion, and I do not know whether I would have made that decision, given certain circumstances, but I am a mother.
As a mom, I know that only a woman knows whether she is ready to bear a child, whether her health physically and mentally can withstand a pregnancy, birth and the intense vigilance required to assure a child is raised with all the love and nurture it needs to start it on a healthy life path.
As I stand for peace this day, facing these brutal images, I understand that for these people at least for some of them, the work they are doing to support their position is one way they hope to bring justice to the world.
I imagine what it would be like to believe so deeply that every egg and sperm deserve a chance to come together and grow, what it would be like to feel hurt by the early termination of a pregnancy, mine or another’s.
I am also aware that I do not see, in their persistent belief that all people must believe and act as they do, a desire for peace making. I find myself resistant to the notion that they have peaceful intent in their hearts. I ask for guidance.
Guidance in the eyes of a woman on the other side of this thorny issue
Moments later, one of the women disengages from the group and walks toward us with a clipboard.
Would you sign our petition, she asks. Her eyes are soft, kind, her face relaxed in exactly the way I feel mine relaxed as I do this standing meditation. Our eyes meet, we smile at each other, linger a bit longer, sending love to one another.
I asked for guidance. I love how responsive Spirit is.
Though we may disagree on this issue, this kindly woman and I, and though I may find some of her companions’ ways violent and destructive, I have seen into the heart of this woman who would deny all choice regarding a my or my daughters’, or my granddaughters’ reproductive freedom.
I have looked into her eyes and seen that she is doing what she feels is right, just as I, standing here today, am doing what I feel is right.
May she be blessed. May we somehow find a way to live in harmony with one another, despite our widely disparate views.
May we find a way to honor and respect, each the other’s right to live as her conscience guides her.
Most especially, I pray that not one child be brought unloved into the world ever again, that not one 12-year-old girl, raped by her father, be forced to bear the child he planted in her, that not one rape victim be forced to carry the resulting pregnancy to term, and that not one woman, teenager or child die from a back alley abortion, ever again.
Text and image © L Kathryn Grace – All rights reserved