Throughout the past few weeks I have thought a lot about trust. I (probably most individuals) find trust challening. Trusting others, trusting situations, trusting myself. I have built up walls that allow me to walk through life not needing to rely on others too much for fear of not being strong or capable or for fear of getting hurt. Unfortunately, because of our broken world, some situations require us to be guarded for our own safety. But I most often find myself struggling to trust as I walk through daily life so I can move farther away from being uncomfortable and vulnerable.
The first week we arrived in Phnom Penh it seemed as if our group was always together. We shared tuk-tuks. Ate meals at the same restaurant. We even went to the market together. One afternoon I found myself alone and wanting to meet up with the rest of the yagm folks at an unfamiliar market a few miles from the guesthouse. The Khmer phrases I knew were very simple and I hoped it would be enough to explain to a driver where I wanted to go and negotiate a price for the ride. This was the first time I really found myself navigating the language and city on my own. The driver understood where I wanted to go and soon we were traveling down the street. As we traveled further from my familiar guesthouse and neighborhood, I realized I did not recognize the streets nor would I have known if I was dropped off at the wrong market. I told myself to trust the driver. Trust that he would take me where I asked. Trust that the silly situations I made up about getting lost or being taken to a different part of the city were false. But I was vulnerable. I did not have google maps. I did not speak Khmer well. I was alone. I was uncomfortable. Suddenly we arrived at the market. There had been nothing to worry about.
I found myself at a clinic during our second week in Phnom Penh. I had a small accident that involved hitting my head on the mirror of a tuk-tuk, which left a few gashes in my forehead. I decided it would be a good idea to have someone look at the cuts. There was a clinic close to where we were staying so Sarah, yagm co-country coordinator, and myself went to check out the clinic to see if there would be someone who could look at my forehead. Soon after we arrived the doctor began cleaning the cuts. He initially said it was nothing serious but as he continued to clean he said I would need a few stitches. Thankfully Sarah was able to translate the exchange. I was hesitant about agreeing to the stitches. I did not know who this doctor was, or his qualifications, or the sanitation of the clinic – the list continued in my mind. I asked if the stitches were necessary and he replied it was important. So, I trusted what he said. Trusted that he knew what he was doing. There was no other doctor to call for a second opinion. I needed assistance and I decided to trust his care.
I am learning to trust myself. As I was climbing one of the many steep, stone stairs to one of the Angkor temples in Siem Reap a tourism guard looked over to me climbing and said, “step by step.” Such a simple phrase. But I kept chewing on it. Haley, trust your steps. Trust that when things get too difficult – put one foot forward. Then the other foot. My feet will carry me. Trust in my own abilities and desire to be of service. Trust that I am called with a purpose. Trust that worrying about what’s next takes away from being with others now. Trust that my worthiness as a person, a Child of God is not based on what I do.
At times it seems that this journey in Cambodia is a bit crazy. But I try to trust the journey. Trust that this is where I am called to be right now. There is much to be shared, loved, given, and received in this place. I trust that I do not walk alone. I walk with my community. I walk with the staff at my site. I walk with the other yagms. I walk with and am guided by the Holy Spirit.