Saturday, August 13, 2011

for just one street

there's a street nearby that i think i love more than any other street i've ever known.

the street itself isn't all that much. it's actually a rather rough street these days. last week when i was there i drove part way down one side to give something to someone and then turned around and went around the block to drive part way down the other side to see someone else - the middle being rather treacherous to drive across without a slip or a slide in the mud of the rainy season this time of year. at other points of the year it could very well be several inches under water for at least a couple of hours after each storm.

the houses come in multiple shapes and sizes and are made from materials of all sorts. bamboo. cardboard. sheet metal. bricks. wood. whiteboards. tarps. some of them have been standing for years and look as if they've got enough of a firm foundation to keep standing a little longer. one of them has already fallen over, but it's yet to be formally replaced. some have electric and televisions. some have batteries. some have candles. some have toilets. some have buckets. some have wells. some have clay pots. a few of them are raised off the ground with a better chance of staying dry inside regardless of the season. some don't have any floors at all.

there's also lots of dogs on this street. i don't have anything against dogs - although they're not my favorite when in cambodia. the thing i find strange about the dogs on this particular street is that they don't like to move. they really will lay there in the middle of the road playing chicken with you, seeing which one of you will be the first to budge. most of the time it's me.

but it's the people that make me love this street. the families that i've come to know over the past five years. the kids i've been able to watch grow up. the people who were once strangers and then became acquaintances and have now become friends. the ones who i look at and say it would be so hard to leave, to ever move away from here because it would mean not seeing you grow up. because it would mean not being able to be a part of your life. because it would mean missing you.

most of the time i go down i have a reason. i have someone to check up on or someone to give something to or i am collecting the kids to come somewhere with me, but sometimes i create a reason to go just because i want to. just because my friends are there. just because i love what happens there. eating rat for the first time. god using us to help moms not give away their babies. a little boy being called "fried beef" by half the neighborhood cause that's how i remembered his name and his mom thought it was funny. eating bananas that made your mouth go numb. little girls praying so earnestly to Jesus. of all of the goodness of god that is evident in their lives. of his kingdom growing in their hearts and in their lives. in our hearts and in our lives.

and i can't exactly describe the way i love this street. the words always seem to fall short of grasping the feeling in my heart when i think about it. and how i know i could spend the rest of my life with the people on this one street loving them and being loved by them and it would be an honor and a privilege.

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