And then yesterday, we had another one of the things that frustrates me most when I escort: aggressive protesters. If you want to do your prayer line, fine. Whatever. I think it's a waste of time that doesn't do anything to prevent unwanted pregnancy. (You want to stop abortion? Do something to help prevent unwanted pregnancy!) We had two yesterday afternoon who were CHASING people who left the clinic. I had one couple who left, perhaps to get money, and when I opened the door for them, he said, "We'll be back." The two women in the prayer line watched them cross Division and then ran across themselves. And then, they stood there and talked to them. I'm not allowed to go far from my post, and since I was the only escort there with our security guard, I didn't feel comfortable leaving my post. It was painful--and a real struggle for me to know what to do--watching those middle-class, middle-aged white women with their rosaries chase down that working-class black couple and hold them in conversation. That couple never did come back. Our security guard was livid. He was so pissed that the man wasn't standing up for his woman, protecting her from the protesters, and while the gender assumptions bugged me, I actually had to agree. What she was going through was bad enough; the person with her needed to help her.
When they left, they stopped to talk to us. That's the worst for me because we're not allowed to talk to them at all. The tall one of the two aggressive women stood less than a foot away from me and proceeded to tell me all about Margaret Sanger and what a bad person she was and how she hated albinos (Hello! I'm a person with albinism, bitch! Person-first language!) and how I shouldn't want to support an organization that she supported because she hated me. The shorter of the two was all about messing with our security guard, telling him he had kind eyes and that she wished he brought his kindness elsewhere. She got on him, too, about Sanger and how she was a racist and the same stupid lines they tried to feed me. The tall one left saying, "God bless you," to me. I wish I'd thought to say back, "Why? I didn't sneeze."
It BUGS me to no end when people try and impose their views on me and other people. It's my decision to be there and much as it's theirs, and I'm not attacking them for it. I'm not attacking them for their religious beliefs. Nothing like escorting to remind you of people's black-and-white thinking and double standards.
An interesting thing's been happening, though. I listen to them do their rosaries, something I once did, and I hear my own voice in my head repeating the Hail Mary with them. And then, it becomes something else: The Prayer of St. Francis, a prayer of peace.
I hear it sung by Sarah McLachlan (a lovely version), and the fact it came to mind "randomly" seems an apt move by my subconscious. It reminds me to work through my anger and frustration and focus on doing good work. And, to keep working at not hating. It's a work-in-progress.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.