Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Beautiful Day, A Day of Important Things

Yesterday was a gorgeous day here in eastern Nebraska and beautifully eventful too.

First of all, Quint Coppi, Carol Moran, Don Kohls, Claire and myself had an intense time of prayer outside the Planned Parenthood abortion mill in the morning. We noticed again how responsive (in a positive way) are the people driving along 93rd Street and how that had changed since we first started coming here. I guess, prayer, friendly waves, and winsome signs with smiling babies and simple appeals (i.e."Mom, We Care About You & Your Baby") change people's minds about what abortion protesters are all about.

Yes, there are a few pro-lifers (not affiliated with us) who sometimes show up with graphic abortion signs. And, as you might imagine, that creates a much different mood. Yesterday, for instance, the pastor of the church up the street (the same pastor who graciously allows pro-lifers to park in the church lot and who has enthusiastically approved the pro-life pregnancy center putting a sign on their property) told us of how problematic the graphic signs can be. In addition to the usual complaints one would expect, the proximity of the people with the graphic signs to the church itself (they sometimes stand right on the corner of 93rd and Maple) has produced several disconcerting phone calls to the church -- some mistakenly thinking that the protesters are targeting the church rather than the Planned Parenthood two blocks away.

We have always believed that the graphic signs (while perfectly legitimate in some settings) are generally counter-productive to sidewalk counseling. After all, we're trying to be as appealing as possible. We're trying to get clients to come talk to us, to let us steer them to places where they can get safe, free and spiritually enriching help.

Like yesterday...when we persuaded a Planned Parenthood client to go to EPS, the pro-life pregnancy center just a few doors down the street.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Later that morning, Claire and I were able to get some yard work in, including laying bricks in the trench on the south side, laying decorative flat rock on the border along the backyard north side, and mowing the lawn. Next it was on to to a presentation of "When Swing Was King" in a nursing home in Fort Calhoun. We had fewer residents than usual but we were pleased to entertain 10 of them as well as a couple of visitors from Kansas and several family members of our pro-life colleague (and Ft. Calhoun resident) Hattie Conradson. Hattie brought along her mom, her mother-in-law, another elderly family member, and a granddaughter. We had a swell time visiting with the ladies before the program and, as always, they enjoyed the program immensely. Watching Hattie's mom smile throughout the program, hearing the residents' laughter at some of my commentary about the musicians, and seeing everyone sway and sing along with these great songs was really sweet. And when they all joined in with Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly to sing Cole Porter's "True Love" -- well, there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

Our day's last stop was an early evening volunteer appreciation party at Brookstone Assisted Living Center. We sat with Mary, one of "When Swing Was King's" biggest fans when we present it there. Mary was a librarian back in the day and we had a wonderful time talking about books. She thought our book club, the Notting Hill Napoleons, was the grandest thing. "Is there any way you could take that around the whole country?" she asked. "Wouldn't that be the best thing? Oh my, to start people reading books and talking about them -- just like you do with the music from the old times. Oh, you two do such important things!"

Thanks, Mary. We think so and we're deeply grateful to God for being able to do the things we do. But, when one's service is directed towards God, everyone has that same opportunity. To take our work (whatever it involves) and present it to the Lord as a part of our grateful, joyful worship makes life exciting, fulfilling and a delight to those alongside us.

And yesterday was one of those days we really felt that truth especially powerfully.  So thank You, Lord. In more ways than one, it was a beautiful...and important day.