Walking the streets of Ho Chi Minh reveals society’s extremes. Two ends of the spectrum collide: bicycles and rusty motorcycles versus a new Bentley with sport wheels. Individuals indulging in street food outside restaurants with a entry fee greater than the vendor’s weekly profit. You could experience the sweaty narrow alleys with small stalls sending clothes or stores that reminded me of couture shops in Paris. Rich and poor, powerful and weak, healthy and anything but, mixed and mingled on the streets.
As I watched, from deep within sadness emerged. There was a minority, frequently foreign, that were totally out of control. They were visibly drunk, with eyes on the prowl and messy clothes to vary degrees. Even in their vulnerability, they were pushing themselves to points even more at risk. It was hard to imagine anyone willingly putting themselves in this position. I was at a loss as to how to tell anyone about the scene until I found the right metaphor referring to how they were treating themselves.
“They lost all control of the ship. It was a cork in the storm.” (Acts 27.15)
I wanted to help, however, I had no idea how I could or should help. I wanted to say something, but what would I say? I even thought of intervening, yet, what gave me the right?
I found myself thinking through point where I needed help but was not interested in listening. I thought of times where an intervention would have been a good thing. Even as I found myself looking back, I caught a reflection in the mirror.
I have pushed the boundaries of my health far more times than I am willing to admit. A recent bought with food poisoning reminded me of the danger of careless eating. The struggle to stay awake when my illness compounded itself, push me to face my limitations.
Life can hit us, hard at times. We can find ourselves like I was with the food poisoning, struggling to stay alert. Life also invites us to rest. I would do well to listen.