“Is That Your Car?” – A Pro-Life Story
September 15, 2011 Leave a comment
I remember back to one day shortly after I had got my driver’s license… I was 16 or 17 at the time, and I was driving around in the family station wagon (I did not have my own car) and I stopped at a gas station to get some gas. The thing about the station wagon, dubbed “The Silver Bullet” by the kids in my family, was that it had this conspiculously bright yellow Pro-Life bumper sticker on the back. My mother is a Pro-Lifer and had stuck it on there. I do not remember exactly what it said, but I do remember that it had some black “stickish” figures of a person or persons on it along with a Pro-Life message.
Being a shy and self-conscious teenager I was very aware of how I looked while I was dispensing the gas. This self-assessment included concern about what I was wearing, what I was driving, how my hair was combed and what kind of general appearance I made. As long as I looked OK to The Rest Of The World and didn’t have to venture outside my comfort zone (being left alone), everything was cool. Such is the attitude of a introverted teenage boy.
Well…Life happened when another random teenage male walked past. This was a violation of my circle of shyness, but if he ignored me and went on his way, it would be no big deal. I remember he appeared to be roughly my age, was wearing jeans and a white t-shirt, and had a mop top for a head of hair. He paused by the back of The Silver Bullet and looked at it and me.
“Is that your car?” He asked.
I was mortified.
I was not prepared to answer such a challenge. Not only did I not want anyone to talk to me, I did not want to have to explain the loud yellow Pro-Life bumper sticker staring him in the face, which was the reason I was certain he stopped. Why else would he care? Why was this strange person confronting me? I was frozen for an moment. (♫ Sometimes, I freeeeeeeeze ♫)
I stammered: “No”
Technically, I was correct. I did not own this verhicle.
Another moment passed and I think he could tell that I was not going to offer anything further, so he kept walking. I never saw him again.
I was kind of in a daze the rest of the day, reflecting on what had transpired at the gas station. I knew something had gone wrong. Who was that intruder? Why did he hassle me? Was he an angel or a devil sent to test me? Agonizing over these thoughts seems odd today, looking back, but they repeated themselves over and over in my mind for a long time.
It’s strange sometimes, the things we remember after so many years. I can only say today that the incident moved me. Someone had asked a simple question of a nobody teenage boy because of the bumper sticker on “his” car, and he did not have the recources or faculties to explain who he was or what he was doing or why he was driving around in a station wagon with a Pro-Life bumper sticker.
Ten seconds at a gas station had subtly but irrevocably shifted everything. It’s now like a reference point as to when I began to understand what being a Pro-Lifer was about. I needed to be able to communicate the things my mother had introduced me to and taught me about. Who am I? What is Pro-Life? Why am I doing what I am doing? Someone was going to be asking.