We found ourselves there by accident.
By miscommunication. And ignorance. And impulsively hopping off the taxi-truck too early.
We thought we were headed to a pedestrian walking street, with ice cream shops and t-shirts for tourists.
But one wrong alley later, Matt and I found ourselves with our three little children in the heart of potentially the
worst red-light district in the world.
We clutched little hands tighter, and we started walking faster. Matt and I talked-cheerful to our three blondes, but we caught each other’s eyes, and we both knew. We felt the weight, the oppression, and we prayed desperate-God-you-have-to-rescue prayers, as we navigated the maze of alleys and bars, searching for another taxi or a safer street. But, the further we went in, the harder it was to find our way out–dead-ends and more alleys that only lead to more bars. It was waking up in a nightmare–exposed, vulnerable, trapped. Cheap sex dripped from everywhere– billboards, music, people, clothes. It was evident that we did not belong, and so they all stared.
Short-skirted asian women, applying makeup, on tall bar stools.
Overweight white men, drinking beer, on leather chairs.
And we left as quickly as we could manage, physically sick to our stomachs. We took a taxi back to where we started, bought icecream on the beach with our kids, and prayed. We had only spent a very-accidental 15 minutes in Pattaya’s red-light district, famous for it’s blatant sex industry, but it had left both Matt and I shaken and marked.
And today I cried on the beach. While my three little ones shoveled sand, I cried for the injustice of it all. I sunk under the knowledge that we humans can be such an evil bunch, and I wept for the realities of women in this country. I cried for the understanding that just blocks away from where I sat under an umbrella, precious souls were selling themselves for eight dollars a night, and I cried for the men who were paying for it.
And honestly, I just wanted to bury my head in the sand at my feet. The knowledge so heavy and sickening, I found myself wishing I had never seen, had never understood in the first place.
And the sea breeze floated in, and I wondered afresh what it must have been like for Jesus to walk dusty earth–
to see the blackest evil,
to know the details of each Story,
and to understand fully what could have been.
And I marveled at the weight he must have carried from the knowledge of it all.
The weight he still must carry from the knowledge of it
Carrying the weight of any knowledge right now yourself?