Cinder Block Cages

            Standing so sure and certain, it’s hard to discern the pain hemmed beneath their beautiful smiles.  Their hearts in cages- they dwell inside all alone.  Quarter notes dangle from their rib cages- songs yet to be heard.  No one witnesses the tears they hide inside Smirnoff bottles and hotel room pillows.  I long to undo years of hurt, but I am powerless against the hundreds of cinder blocks- each one night stand, each vacant promise, and each empty bottle.  
            “If God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you” Matthew 6:30.  
            The same God who sculpted the mountains and taught the seas how to follow the moon whispers my name.  I can hear Him calling the names of my friends on Bangla Road.  “Take my hand, I have the keys to your heart’s cage…”
“I gave others in exchange for you.  I traded my Son’s life for yours because are precious to me.  You are honored, and I love you.” Isaiah 43.
            Beautiful and friendly, Nanit stood out amongst the hundreds of girls working on Soi Tiger.  She wore a skirt that came to her knees and a Polo shirt.  Immediately, God told me that I had found a friend.  I asked Nanit how long she had worked at the bar, she held up one finger- a day.  Suddenly her modest attire and minimal English made sense.  I prayed that she would remain untainted.  As we attempted to communicate, the bar tender misunderstood my request for a pineapple juice and presented a Smirnoff.  I apologized for the miscommunication and requested a nonalcoholic drink.  The woman turned to Nanit and barked in English that the Smirnoff would come from her paycheck.  I reached inside my purse and reimbursed her for the alcohol.  The bar owner gave the bottle to Nanit who hid it beneath the bar; when she thought I wasn’t looking, she would dump out portions of the beer.  Nanit is 20 years old, and the precious love of Christ shines in her smile, even though she doesn’t know it yet.  
            When Kristina and I returned to her bar later this week, Nanit sat alone in booty shorts and a revealing tank top.  She smiled when we approached, but her demeanor was completely broken.  I asked how she liked her job, she stared down the Soi blankly and waved her hand.  “I just want sit tonight,” she said.  Her words were like shrapnel in my heart.  Two days on the job, and her innocence was broken.  She now recognized that she too had a price- an item on the bar menu.  Her body could be bought for two hours or a night, or a weekend- with just a few pieces of paper.
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.”-1 Corinthians 6:19-20
            I clinched Nanit’s hand in mine and prayed for her protection, and Jesus told me to give her my purity ring.  I no longer need the reassurance that I am cleansed from the adultery of my heart, but she needs a promise, a reminder that her worth is so much greater than flimsy pieces of paper- her price was much higher, and her calling is much greater.

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