There are a few things here in Cambodia that are done a little differently than they are back home. The words "rice" and "food" are used interchangeably, the rain is welcome because it breaks the drudging heat (if only while it is with us), and traffic can flow anywhere there is space enough for the vehicle... including opposite directions.
While a first impression gives a feeling of dread, a deeper observation brings comfort. Admittedly the thought of traipsing into a flow of cars, motorcycles, scooters, and tuktuks instills a paralyzing fear. As I stand there watching the endless rows of tires screech by me, I notice a local person crossing the street just up the road. He makes eye contact with me and smiles, obviously recognizing my hesitation. With that same smile, he looks back to see which way the traffic is coming from... and walks right out into it. Like water, the traffic breaks around him and continues. He turns his attention back to me, still standing in the road, nudging me with his eyes to step out with him. I step out into the street and experience the same thing I observed with him... the endless streams of cars and motorcycles simply drive around me.
The more time I spend walking, riding in tuktuks, on the backs of motorcycles, and driving scooters, I can see this was not an isolated experience. This is the norm. When making turns, vehicles simply inch their way into traffic until there is a break big enough for them to get through. There is no "right-of-way," there is simply the unspoken agreement that people won't run into each other.
I cannot help but think of how Peter felt when Jesus called him out of the boat into the water: "Come", he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" -Matthew 14:29-31
Lord, give me the faith to follow you into the street. Let my wavering heart not be concerned by buses, horns, scooters, and rickshaws. Rather, bless me with the knowledge that it is by your spirit that each step is taken. Amen.
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