Act of Valor

Brief chilly walk alone in the late afternoon sunlight.

Picking up the DVD sleeve fallen on the ground.

Trying to decode the message contained in the sign I just picked up.

Standing on top of the low hill over the small pond.

Watching the geese swimming about the little pond, then watching them all walk up the low lying hill.

Watching them leave and finally moving my feet towards home.

Heading back home. Home sweet home.

These are the things that made me happy this afternoon. After an extremely busy morning at the cafe, I am all hyped up. I prescribe a short walk to calm down my crazy mind.

I am walking and making a request to God. ‘Send me a sign. I am afraid to throw everything I got into this writing life, so send me a sign and tell me clearly this is the path you have chosen for me.’

I am not really a good writer, especially in English. I am so imperfect. Believe it or not, I used to make a better writer in Korean. I did win some national awards, and was published regularly. I used to run a cycling column in the Korean Road bike magazine, but those were back in the days. Ten years of living as an immigrant, and using English as if it is my first language when it clearly isn’t, sort of forced me to drift away from my native language, Korean. Of course I speak way better Korean than English. I speak perfect Korean. But writing a good piece of work in Korean? It’s just not the same any more. I am lost somewhere in between the two languages. But one thing remains the same. I don’t care in which language I write. I still want to write. That’s all I ever wanted to become: A writer. That’s about the only life I ever cared to live. The writing life.

My prayer ends. I take a few more steps waiting for the sign God is about to send me. And sure enough, there is a sign, on the ground. It’s an empty DVD sleeve someone threw away on the ground. I guess he bought it at Walmart because it still had Walmart price tag on it.

When I need a sign, and boldly request a sign from God, that means that I desperately need something to hold on to. I need any kind of confirmation. I will take any sign. So this DVD sleeve I just picked up will have to do. I put my brain into action, seeking for any kind of relevance between this DVD sleeve and my earlier question of pursing my dream of being a writer. The sleeve of the DVD package “Act of Valor” reads like this.

“The only easy day was yesterday.”

Already discouraged, I quickly skip that part. If this is a message from God, then he is clearly telling me that things are going to get harder. I thought I had already passed the hardest stage of my life but maybe not so. Let’s keep reading, I think. I flip the sleeve to the back side.

“There’s a brotherhood between us. And if you’re not willing to give up everything, you’ve already lost.”

Oh great. Now if I am not willing to give up everything, I have already lost. I see what what he meant by “the only easy day was yesterday.”

“You live your life by a code. It’s your shoreline. It’s what guides you home. And trust me. You’re always trying to get home.” 

He got me there. I do live my life by a sign. It’s my shoreline. It’s what guides me home. I am always trying to get home. That’s all I am trying to do.

So it really is not about living the writing life, or becoming a writer. It’s about how to fight. To get home. I am trying to get home. I am always trying to get home.

And in order to do that, I must write.

It’s my act of valor.

It’s how I fight.

Standing on top of the low hill over a small pond.

Watching the geese swimming about the little pond, then watching them walk up the low lying hill.

I realize, that’s me, I am like that goose. Imagine those busy goose legs, moving fast, trying to cross the pond. My typing fingers, my busy little brain swimming through the words picking up some sentences here and there along the way, I am just swimming, I am just trying to cross this pond, so that I can get home. This is no writing. This is fighting. I am climbing up the hill. And it’s hard. But I am willing to give up everything. Because if I am not, then I’ve lost already.

I Watch the geese leave the water and finally move my feet towards home.

I am heading back home. Home sweet home. How happy I feel.

Maybe my only easy day was yesterday already. Maybe things will get harder for me.

But I have no fear.

I have never been so happy as I am right now.

There is more than a brotherhood between us; me and the Father, Me and Jesus, Me and the Holy Spirit. Oh, so much more than a brotherhood between us.

It’s worth every fight.

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