Thursday, June 26, 2008

It Keeps Happening

Here's the kind of thing that's happened many times during this Pilgrimage.

I stopped north of Ashland, VA to read an historical marker. Across the street, someone called to me and asked if I needed a ride to buy gas, assuming I've run out. I crossed the street to talk with the two women and two children who were working to fix up a house there. I explained to them that I'm walking from Raleigh to DC to encourage people to remember murder victims and their families, people on death row and their families and calling for an end to the death penalty. After offering me a soft drink, they told me the story of how two women were murdered in that very house in the 1980s. We talked about the personal impact and other aspects of that murder; all the while I'm offering a prayer for the victims and perpetrator of that crime.

One of the women continued, telling me of a VA State Police officer who was killed nearby. Then she told me about how the 7-year-old child whose father was slain told his mother, "You know you have to forgive him (the person who killed his father)."

Today, a man pulled his car over near me, said he's not from around here and asked me where he might find a public park. I told him that I'm passing through on the Pilgrimage and explained the purpose to him. He held up his forearms to reveal some very severe-looking cuts, which appeared still swolen, but looked to have healed pretty well.

He explained that he was nearly a murder victim, that someone came at him and some friends with a knife and that in protecting the group he sustained those cuts. He talked about how much he sympathized with the purpose of our Walk and how appreciative he is of life, especially in light of his close call.

I fully expect more such encounters this afternoon and in the days ahead.


Prison Writings, Interviews, and Art said...

I could not find where to contact your group, and hope you don't mind my leaving this link here to an article I just published concerning Virginia's 100th execution

Noel said...

Just wanted to express my encouragement and gratitude as you near your final destination. Thank you for your commitment, which I know will continue long after you reach DC.
Noel Nickle
Asheville, NC