The Red Convertible

I’m sitting in my car, a common occurrence, as my mother runs into the store for ‘just a second’. My mind is drifting as I wait, knowing it will be a while – because this mother of mine is a social butterfly and will surely find someone to talk to. I don’t usually mind, but we’ve been shopping all day and I’m ready to get home. Hopefully it won’t be much longer now. As the director of a pro-life organization, I am absentmindedly planning another way to recruit volunteers for the office. Sitting in the parking lot, I watch the cars and the people walking by.

The young woman in the red convertible is very attractive. She sports long flowing hair and blood red fingernails, tapping to the rhythm of loud rock and roll emitting from her radio. I glance in her direction, not really paying much attention, yet taking note of her exuberant youth and carefree bearing. Ah, another young person, our target in this game of life and death. Wondering how to best reach them and marveling at her lackadaisical life, I look away and continue my thoughts.

Tap, tap, tap – blood red fingernails are making a staccato sound on my closed window. Slightly startled, I look up to see the girl from the convertible looking intently at me. As I roll down the window, I wonder what she could possibly have to say to me. Her words surprise me and I am flushed with pleasure and just a wee bit of chagrin.

“I saw your pro-life bumper stickers”, she says. “I thought maybe you’d be interested in the materials I have here.”

She hands me some brochures of tiny aborted babies and information about fetal development. I am in awe! Here I am, idly biding my time and wondering how to reach out – how to educate the youth of today. Then here comes one of the very ones we need to target and she has targeted me! A joyful smile plays at my lips, as I gratefully take her literature and we chat for a bit. She is a solid pro-life advocate. Confident, even in her youth, to approach a stranger’s car and proclaim a tiny person’s right to life. We finish our chat and she moves on.

By this time Mom is back and we converse about this ‘God moment’ as we wind our way back home. How amazing, we say, that it really is true – you simply can’t judge a book by its cover. There are so many faces of Jesus all around us. It may be that middle school classmate who teased you mercilessly about your unusual name. He is quite a sight now, with his long beard and quiet ways. Yet he goes, almost daily, to pray in front of the abortion mills in a city two hours away. There is the woman with whom you have a casual Facebook relationship. She’s the one always posting those annoying comments on her wall. Yet, she prays her Rosary daily and attends weekday Mass. There are many, many more examples of this phenomenon.

As someone who is very intimidated (and annoyed) by being misjudged by others, I confess that I am often guilty of the same sin. How is it that ‘good’ people have so many faults? How can our almighty God stand by us when we suffer from such shameful flaws? Ah, that’s the crux of it all! He loves us unconditionally. And isn’t that a wonderful thing to know? As I ponder this mystery of faith, I steel my resolve to be more like Him. I pray, God, that You will give me the grace to love like You – unconditionally.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…    Corinthians 13:1-13

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