Saturday, February 19, 2011

Open Our Eyes

There’s not a plethora of things to do in Vero Beach, being a city on the smaller side. Therefore, it’s imperative to get creative when it comes to the weekends. Having discovered a new spot to hang out, last weekend some friends and myself visited a nice hotel on the beach that has a gas fire pit outside you can sit by, right on the beach. It was perfect. Cool weather, warm fire, clear sky. There’s something about a controlled fire that is quite soothing.

But being a Saturday, as the night wore on, it brought out the caliber of people that like to have just a little too much to drink; one in particular who was completely smashed. To make a long story short, lets just say after his onslaught of slurred, nonsense words and lustful eyes perusing the pretty girls sitting around the fire, he had the bright idea of getting up to walk across the fire. And so he did, somehow avoiding going up in flames, (much to our dismay.) We took this as our cue to leave.

As we took the leisurely walk along the beach and quaint sidewalks back to our vehicles, we passed several people out enjoying the night as well. We stood on the sidewalk chatting for awhile before bringing our night to a close. As we stood there talking, every now and then we’d see people coming in and out of other hotels/bars on the same street. As I watched, I noticed one young woman in particular, dressed in tight jeans and high boots, standing on the sidewalk, alone in the night. She couldn’t even walk a straight line. In fact, at one point she almost toppled over. I continued to watch her stand by the street as the minutes passed by. Finally, the thought entered my mind, “I wonder if she’s a prostitute?” 

Now I know, that seems a bit extreme, but with the things I’ve seen and experienced, that’s what naturally comes to my mind. I contemplated going up and talking to her, but convinced myself I was being very over dramatic and she was probably just an intoxicated young woman trying to have her idea of fun, taking a cigarette break.

A few minutes later, a truck drove by and she walked up to the driver seat, stuck her head in the window and spoke with whoever the driver was for a few minutes. Next thing we see, the truck parked and the young woman walked into the hotel/bar with the two men.

Maybe I was being quite over dramatic. Maybe this young woman was simply meeting up with some friends, as one of my friends pointed out. Whether those men paid her for sex or not, I can’t imagine that her night ended well. I can’t imagine that she woke up the next morning feeling valued and cherished and beautiful.

I’ve been thinking about that young woman all week. I never saw her face, just her silhouette in the night. I lived with regret this week. I wish I would have had the guts to go up and talk to her. I wish I would have inquired about her life. But I didn’t. Who knows, maybe I could have helped her.

I need to wake up to the reality that I don’t have to be in a third world country to rescue people. The horrors of torture, abuse, rape and prostitution don’t just happen in the middle of a slum in a city with millions of people. It happens in the small little suburbs of the United States. In every little city, every little town.

You may think I’m being dramatic. But that’s just it. If we don’t climb out of our holes of routine and complacency, we're never going to be used to change the world, whether we're in the United States or South Asia or North Africa.

Whether that young woman simply had just a little too much to drink and was getting fresh air, or she was being paid to have sex, she is God’s child and probably needed to be rescued and redeemed.

Who is in your neighborhood, in your city, that needs to be rescued?

Open my eyes God, to see what you see.

Jesus, open our eyes!

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