40 Days For Life – Green Bay: A Reflection…”The Last Shift”

March 25, 2024

By Keith Deneys

When I met up with Dean on the sidewalk on Oneida street at midnight last week — Monday morning — we talked about how I was starting my last shift. (That being the first shift of the last week of the vigil). We spoke about about how he would be back to finish the vigil on Palm Sunday, with the last shift.

It was a cool 25º and the wind was brisk. He relayed that traffic had been light with the standard, that being no reaction from the passing motorists. We shook hands and shared a “see you next vigil”.

As I worked my way through the first hour of the vigil I was on the south end of our route, about ready to make the turn back north into the wind, when I noted a vehicle turning slower than normal off the side street going north on Oneida. I kept an eye on it waiting for a colorful explicative to be shouted my way. No verbal assault came from the little orange SUV, but it continued very slowly north. I made my turn and was about halfway up when there appeared, stopped in the south bound lanes, the little SUV.

The window was down and a lady was leaning out of the window. She waved and shouted, “What does your sign say?” I shouted back, “Choose life!”. With a smile and wave she shouted back, “THANKS”. With another wave she was off as I shouted back, “Have a blessed day”.

I continued my morning trek, with the brisk wind reminding me again how often I had compared the task in my mind to walking a cold lonely guard post in defense of the Kingdom of Our Lord. The little SUV and its smiling occupant kept coming back to my mind. I realized how the other shifts most likely have a lot more of the both positive and negative reactions, but we never know when we catch the eye and thoughts of someone just from our presence on the sidewalk, not to mention the effect that the thousands and thousands of prayers have had both on the pending mothers and on the community at large.

As these thoughts ran through my mind, and with my Rosary also running through the background of my mind, another car passed and the driver joyfully honked his horn. As I finished my shift I reflected that two positive interactions for the first shift of the last week of the vigil was not a bad way for me to walk the line in the battle for the children.