Recently I hopped into my little car, stopped at my favorite coffee kiosk near my home in Olympia, and turned onto I-5 North and headed towards Tacoma. I had plenty of time to get to the church for the session of Pathways to Membership. I was a little proud of myself for getting on the road a little early even.
The first sign of trouble was the time indicator sign in Lacey that told me there was a bit of delay. Only 11 minutes longer than usual, I thought to myself. I’m good. I’ve got plenty of time.
The signs that tell you that there’s a problem on the road had flashing lights, but I felt confident. What could go wrong? It was a Saturday morning and the traffic was pretty light. Then traffic slowed. Then it stopped. We crept along. A reader board over the road said that there was “police activity” a few miles ahead and all lanes were closed. I was thankful that I had coffee with me.
Getting to Tacoma was clearly going to be more of an adventure than I planned. I made sure people knew I would be late, and fired up Google Maps on my phone. It suggested an alternative route that would take me 33 minutes more, rather than the hour and seven that it would take if I stayed on I-5. The route was circuitous and offered me views of Joint Base Lewis-McChord that aren’t usual, and thankfully, it was a nice day for a drive. I pulled up only an hour later than I meant to be there and only 15 minutes after the Pathways to Membership class began.
I was about to open my door and the KPLU announcer began to explain the “police activity” that had delayed me. I stopped to listen. A man shot his girlfriend, the announcer said, and then took the police on a wild chase, ultimately being stopped and shot by police. A quick prayer for all involved, and I was off into the church.
It was a couple of days later when a report came across my Facebook feed:
Domestic violence advocates around the Puget Sound say they’re concerned about the death of a Spanaway woman,* at the hands of her estranged boyfriend.
“Unfortunately it is something that is way too common still in the world we live in,” says Karin White, the deputy director of the YWCA Pierce County. “One in 3 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime.”
The violence that we hear about day in and out can numb us to the realities that surround us. Domestic violence is around us and largely invisible. Even when made so dramatically visible, it’s just another sad story, another statistic. It’s the way the world is, and there’s not much we can do.
Except that we can make a difference. We have two opportunities this month to make a difference by giving to the YWCA of Pierce County. The recipient of Change for Change for March is the YWCA of Pierce County, a leading provider of assistance to women, men and children (and pets) who are escaping violent situations. Their shelter, counseling programs, legal aid, and support change lives in our community. You are invited to give generously during this month.
In addition, RAGS, the 22nd Annual Wearable Art Sale & Show, will be held at Larson Mercedes-Benz from Thursday, March 10th to Sunday, March 13th. I know many of our members already are involved in this fun event that benefits the YWCA’s domestic violence services, but for those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of browsing (and buying!) there, it might be time to give it a look. You can find more information here: http://ragswearableart.org/
I hope we never doubt that the small things we do – even donating some spare change – can make a difference in the world.
* Associated Ministries will be conducting a Moment of Blessing for Jessica Ortega on Thursday, March 3rd at 12:00 noon at Cirque Park, 7250 Cirque Dr. W., University Place, 98467 (This is an updated location posted on Associated Ministries Facebook page on Wednesday, March 2). Jessica’s life was taken on Saturday, February 20th. For more information: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Moments-of-Blessing—Jessica-Ortega.html?soid=1112548979994&aid=MaNQofxZEOo