As we walked the streets of Phnom Penh, it was clear that I had no idea what was in the dark shadows of the deserted streets. As we walked, I wondered what was just beyond our vision. What was the story of the young kid who has passed out (fallen asleep?) in the run down caf?? Was there more going on than we realized as the two construction workers exchanged blows on the back of the truck? Did the silent eyes that always seemed to be watching also want to tell us something?
There are stories, lessons, and whispers in every moment. Frequently, I find myself rushing through, not paying much attention, and as a result missing the heart of living. It is good to be vigilant. Saul and his friends were. They knew that others “were watching the city gates around the clock so they could kill him.” (Acts 9.24) Because they were present in the moment, they had the opportunity to act.
As we arrived at the dark entrance to our hotel, I found myself quietly relieved that we were safe. One never knows what might be lurking in the shadows. It is always easier to look back, because at least we know the outcome of the story. It is much harder to live in the present, everything is in play, at risk, and filled with opportunities. Nothing is certain. Nothing should be taken for granted. The freedom exercise by others can change everything. What happens now is new, yet the question remains the same; am I listening, watching, and present?
There are many levels to Phnom Penh, not all of them obvious. In letting myself be aware, I found myself back on the streets of Bangalore late at night, walking with my Father to the scooter that would take us home. It was a good memory that brought me into the present with my senses on high alert. In a time past, I was safe with my Father. In the times present, I can be safe again – this time with the Spirit.
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