There is a right time for everything:
2 A time to be born; A time to die; A time to plant; A time to harvest;
3 A time to kill; A time to heal; A time to destroy; A time to rebuild;
4 A time to cry; A time to laugh; A time to grieve; A time to dance;
5 A time for scattering stones; A time for gathering stones; A time to hug;
A time not to hug;
6 A time to find; A time to lose; A time for keeping; A time for throwing away;
7 A time to tear; A time to repair; A time to be quiet; A time to speak up;
8 A time for loving; A time for hating; A time for war; A time for peace.
9 What does one really get from hard work? 10 I have thought about this in connection with all the various kinds of work God has given to mankind. 11 Everything is appropriate in its own time. But though God has planted eternity in the hearts of men, even so, many cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (TLB)
What does a day in the life of a pregnancy services center look like right now? We all know that every day things are changing. For good or bad the sun continues to rise each morning and continues to set each evening. What is constant if not the sun? And deeper than that is the desire to live, to breathe and be vital. And how can these needs be met in times like these? Lovingly, creatively and without pause.
Each morning the lights come on and the first order of business is cleaning. Music on, gloves on, and armed with Clorox we walk from room to room, door to door wiping down desks, counters, sinks, light switches, doorknobs, chairs, keyboards, phones and finally the coffee pot! Floors are swept while joe brews. Computers are turned on and the door is unlocked ready to welcome those in need.
The first family comes in. Mom cradling a sleeping little girl while her other two children cling to her pant legs. She stands within the blue square on the floor as asked while I look up her profile. Diapers size 2, 3, and 5. Blessed with wipies I can hand out two packs to her grateful smile. Cereal and fruit? Yes! Now for some clothes. Explaining that our boutique is temporarily closed I pick out 3 or 4 summer outfits for each of her children and fold carefully into waiting bags. Big brown eyes smile at me from behind mom’s leg as I offer little blue teddy bears that were just donated.
Another knock on the door and a masked head pokes in. Upon seeing the woman and her family the new client waits without to help us maintain the social distancing. I finish up with this young mom and she leaves inviting the other family inside and the process starts again.
Another woman comes into the center uncertainty etched on her young face. She’s hoping for a pregnancy test. She has missed her period and is just feeling off. Can we help? Her boyfriend is waiting in the car. The nurse takes her temperature and gives her a mask to wear in the consultation room. She sits down with the nurse. She’s not sure when her last cycle was but feels sure she’s pregnant. The nurse helps her with a urinary test and gives her the news. They sit together for a long while talking.
Families come and go. Several women come in alone asking for formula and one is hoping for a stroller. We all stand apart from one another smiling in hopes the welcome is felt. I help a happy father carry out a high chair and a nice exersaucer, his smile of thanks warm and genuine.
The doors and counters are wiped down again and again. Several calls asking if we are open or closed because of the virus.
The nurse finally comes out with the young girl and I am asked to set up an ultrasound 2 weeks from now. The smile is hesitant and wavering. And after she leaves the small Next Step team sit down in a larger circle to separate and pray. The young girl is happy to be with child but young and unsure. She thinks her boyfriend will be happy but what if he isn’t? So we pray. For peace and comfort for the girl and for the health of her and her unborn baby and we pray we’ll see her in two weeks for her ultrasound.
In the back we are gloved up and donation bags are unpacked and soft little onsies are sorted into piles by size. Warm sleepers are stored in winter boxes and colorful summer dresses are hung up. More coffee is made as envelopes are stickered ready for mailing. Thank you cards are written and plans are made.
The day starts to wane and we do final wipe downs of the office. We close the doors and say our goodbyes. A lot of families were helped today. A lot of smiles were seen. I feel good about our day. It was a good one despite the ever changing landscape outside. We’ll do it all again tomorrow and feel blessed at what our ministry brings to the community and to our own lives.