Admittedly it was late. There were two of us in the taxi headed for dinner. We were strangers in a city that was a long way from home. The directions we had were clear. The taxi driver appeared to know where he was going. While there was a language barrier, everything seemed to be coming together in the right way.
As we turned onto the one-way street, we both began to question the safety of the situation. The street was deserted, except for a few stray dogs and isolated individuals in the shadows. Nothing seemed to be moving. The street lamps were dull. The setting was out of a surreal movie setting. Was this the location we were supposed to be?
A quick checked confirmed that this was the location we had set out for. Our initial reaction was to cancel the outing and head back to the hotel. As we considered the alternatives and potential outcomes of our choice, we began to rationalize that we could be relatively safe.
There is a myth that one likes to carry with them around safety. The myth centers on the idea that if the right person is with you, then no violence will occur. In this case, I was with someone who knew what to do in a dark alley. In an old story, David knew he had someone with him as well. There is an oft forgotten remark buried in his words; “even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.” (Psalm 23.4) A crook helps keeps things in order. It also doubles as a weapon. He had what I had, a friend willing to fight if needed.
When I feel a battle is emerging, I think of dark Jakarta streets. It has been awhile yet the hairs still stand up at the thought of that night. I know that being prepared is not enough. One must be willing to puts one’s self on the line. Welcome to the streets.