Category Archives: The World at Large

A Union, A Birth

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My brother and sister-in-law. Photo Credit goes to their friend, Alexander Roy 

My brother and sister-in-law’s friends are pretty legit – I had the chance to hang with them during the wedding recently.

They embrace life and community as a changing flux but hold each other closely.

As creative folk, they constantly evolve their thinking process and add to their narratives from the experiences and people they encounter. They yearn for doing work that gives life to them and life to others. And they don’t take bullshit because they know when things beyond them are worth releasing and jobs are worth quitting.

They know we are not yet home but they don’t spend time coasting. They get dirty in the hustle and the struggle until the dirt under their nails becomes a sweet aroma. Success is not a bar to reach but a wrestling that sometimes results in a bloody, cut eye. It’s like an injury that you’re not sure how or why you got it. But it’s there, so you wear it as your victory badge until it blends into the lines around your eyes when you laugh about it.

Before you know it, their casual words waft in across your temples, sinks down into your chest, past the pit of your stomach, and roots into your loins. It loosens the scales you have carried from birth and ones you gained through learning, leaving you naked but fully accepted. Then it births a tingle that clothes your skin and sets in as a patina on your spirit.

And you know you can’t go back, you can’t unhear. The cries of new birth cannot be stifled because all a new babe knows is how to cry for attention. And its cries erupt in my chest as I say my goodbyes, not knowing when I might see them again. As we part, I turn back to my babe, not yet adulterated. And I strap her close to my chest, knowing now that I am hers as much as she is mine.

 

 

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Unsaid

I cared for you for two nights. The first night, you were somnolent, barely responsive to touch or vocal stimuli. Your body was giving way to the cancer you had been living with, unbeknownst to you for several years. I was assigned to be your nurse because I was familiar with the language your sons spoke while you were non-verbal.

As I cared for you, I fumbled to find the right combination of words I used in my childhood to express concern and factual information to help your sons cope. They were losing their mother. But they wanted to see you do better, so they coped by meticulously following every number I told them and bringing their own equipment to monitor your vitals.

They were scared and at a loss. They wanted to see you go a different way but they weren’t ready to stop any intervention that meant they had an extra moment with you.

On the second second night, I saw what brightened the heart of your two sons, who waited anxiously at your bedside, day and night. You opened your eyes and opened your mouth for a few hours. In those moments, your sons buzzed quietly around the room to attend to every small gesture you made until you closed your eyes again and returned to being somnolent. Despite that moment, I knew you weren’t doing well. Your lungs couldn’t function enough to oxygenate you adequately. Your body was starting to swell from the molecular imbalances as organ functions were starting to deteriorate.

I wish I could have understood our shared language better to help your sons better understand the process of dying, something we all have to approach. I wish I could have understood our shared language enough to broker a conversation between the team and your sons, so your comfort could be primary. Perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered regardless, but I can’t help wondering.

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Visiting an aunt in Oregon with my mom is not my ideal vacation locale nor travel buddy, but it’s a nice getaway from the regular humdrum of Chicago-living. There’s comfort at home of knowing exactly where I’m going, what’s good, and switching into auto-pilot as I drive.

But it’s nice to be jolted from the monotony and have to consider what am I doing, where I’m going, and for what reason I’m doing things. It’s even more appropriate as I stand at the precipice of figuring out my career.

 

Landing in Oregon

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Necessary Clutter

I think it was during one summer when I transitioned between Hong Kong, then Chicago, then Michigan, and then back to Champaign, that I started tossing memorabilia away because I found life too transitory to keep things. I’m still not one to keep too many non-functional  knick-knacks around, but I’ve learned that the practice of keeping souvenirs from people in different seasons of one’s life is necessary “clutter.”

Necessary clutter reminds us of the ways we’ve been changed and challenged. It tells us where we came from and reminds us to where we are going. Without recognizing sanctification and trials, we lose the beauty of our testimony that is being written.

I think even the Lord knew it was good, so numerous times in the Old Testament, he commands places to be renamed, people to be renamed, and altars to be built – Genesis is chock full of it by the way – as a reminder. We even take communion as a reminder. We need reminders. We are forgetful people. I’m a forgetful person. I forget the good things that have proven again and again the truth of God’s sovereignty. I forget the things He has done that make him trustworthy. I forget the miracles He has done so I allow the daily non-miracles I experience to distort my expectations.

Good thing He put things down in writing as a reminder so we can return to truth.

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Return of the Boy Band?

With British boy bands One thing and The Wanted making it into the US radio, can we expect the return of the boy band? Not sure, but their songs sure are catchy. =]

To the Fellas

Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill church wrote an article in the Washington Post to the young, 20 something fellas in the church: The world is filled with boys who shave.

My favorite part is, “Some of you say, ‘Well, it’s not a sin.’ Neither is eating you lawn mower. It’s just dumb.” Heheh.

One in Whom Christ Dwells

Just wanted to share an excerpt from The Good and Beautiful God which is a wonderful metaphor which depicted why we need to recognize our sin and brokenness as well as the root of sanctification.

“Wanting to communicate the paradox of how we minister to others through our brokenness, he took a cardboard box and asked his students to ‘beat it up.’ They punctured holes in the box, kicked it around and tore pieces off of it. Then he placed the box on a table in front of them all. Underneath the box was a light. He dimmed the house lights, and they turned on the light inside the box. He didn’t need to say any more. They all understood. The light of Jesus shines clearly through our broken places” (163 Smith).

My friend, Phil, has an interesting post on being the light of the world, I highly recommend. Check it. =]