She was a banker in London and she had come to the vigil in Potters Field Park, on the South Bank. She had her floral tribute beside her, ready to lay for the seven people brutally murdered by terrorists on Saturday night. She was only just holding it together.
The crowds were wrapped against the chilly evening, hoods inflating in rainy gusts and umbrellas nearly escaping from their hands.
The television company was in her face and wanted a story. “No, thank you,” she said.
“We’ll just shoot, then, and get the key facts.”
A Billy Graham Rapid Response chaplain came and sat next to her. “Didn’t you hear the lady? She said no thank you.”
The media retreated and she began to cry.
“Want a tissue?” asked the chaplain.
“I’m OK,” she said. “The wind will dry my tears.”
“It looks like you need a hug,” said the chaplain, and put her arms around her.
“I’m so angry,” she said, after a pause. “What’s the point of all this?”
“Oh, I don’t believe,” she said. “I’m the scientific type. And I thought I had peace but…”
She began to cry again.
Now the chaplain was holding a booklet, ‘Steps to peace with God’, and they were looking at it together.
“Would you let me pray for you?”
“Well, if there is a God, I want Him to be involved.”
The chaplain prayed that she would know true peace in knowing Him. And she took the booklet as she left to lay her flowers.
Tonight London is disorientated, sombre, sickened. Julian seemed particularly shaky as he approached the bouquets spreading out at the southern end of London Bridge, where the terrorists had caused carnage.
A chaplain caught his eye, and he began to pour out his story.
He seemed about to go, but then lingered so that the chaplain could place a hand on his shoulder and pray.
“It makes you stomach turn,” said a woman who had come with him. She had a friend who was lying injured in hospital; she too paused to welcome a gentle prayer.
Back at Potters Field Sandra was leaning on the wall over the Thames as the chaplain approached her.
“There’s a lot of emotion to be released,” was Sandra’s opening sentence. “I feel so angry.”
“Would you like me to pray for you?”
“Are you a pastor, then?”
The chaplain explained how the team had come to bring Christ’s comfort.
“You could pray for peace,” said Sandra.
Once again the ‘Steps to Peace with God’ booklet passed from hand to hand. The chaplain explained, and then prayed that she would know a peace beyond anything she had ever experienced.
Sandra laid her head on the chaplain’s shoulder and began to cry.
Even in the midst of such evil, the wind still blows where it wills.
Names have been changed