A haunting memory from my younger days is the stories of kids fleeing the repression of the late sixties in search of nirvana in India. I have no idea how difficult their lives were or what drove them to a point where leaving everything they knew to be safe for what they dreamed might be possible. In the dust of a dream, for some a lost alley or unknown lodging with a combination of drugs, liquor, and carelessness ended with death.
Update the scene to Hong Kong. Three girls are out celebrating a 21st birthday. The sense of freedom is intoxicating! The discovery of things new becomes an unending invitation to continue exploring. The attention from new men, cultures, and experiences leads to a sense that everything is possible. Individually and as a group, their innocence is worn as easily as the latest fashions.
As I watch the scene play out, I am struck by the intensity I feel from emotional residue left from Delhi. I have no idea where these girls are from. They are at risk and yet there is little I can do other than watch.
Fortunately not everyone feels that way. I watch as a friend strikes up a conversation. There is something safe in his approach that opens up a temporary friendship. In his first report, the initial story unfolds with a harsh conclusion. “They have no idea how at risk they are, yet I do not think I can say anything that will make a difference.”
As the night wore on, the situation continued to get worse. As we watched from a sister hangout across the street, the birthday girl, sat down, overwhelmed by too much alcohol. As she held her head in her hands, I heard the words that reminded me of David’s observation, “God looks after us all, makes us robust with life – Lucky to be in the land, we’re free from enemy worries.” (Psalm 41.2)
“I have got to do something.”
Moments later, three girls in a taxi were heading home, safe at least for tonight.