When the house we rented was sold, we had to find a place to move quickly. It was the first house I lived in Seoul where I moved to go to the university. Mom moved with me, leaving my dad. I was her excuse for moving to Seoul, her plan to execute her separation from my dad. We all knew that she wasn’t leaving because of me. She was leaving because of dad, to separate from him, from his alcoholism. All of us suffered from its dark power as long as I can remember. Alcoholism haunted my mom from her young days. Her dad was a serious alcoholic as well.
Alcoholism continued to manifest in her life through her husband. I don’t blame mom wanting to leave my dad. I understand. To be honest, I wanted her to leave dad all my life. I strongly supported her divorce. And it was finally being realized with my move to Seoul.
But my parents can be so clingy to each other. In the end, my dad moved to Seoul to join us. Mom gave in, and I was overwhelmed with compassion for him. My dad repented, and in tears, asked if he could live with us. So with a new hope, they started anew, and at first, everything seemed to go ok. They started a restaurant, struggled to make a living in the city where the cost of living was very high. My dad continued to drink. I was always running away from him. I felt extremely unstable, and panicky around my dad.
It wasn’t always bad. My dad could be very sweet and caring. He’s got the best heart, as well as my mom. My dad would never steal, never ‘physically’ abandon his children. My dad would always help the neighbors without expecting anything in return. It’s just that he drank a lot, and when he got drunk, he became a very angry person. I did not like that inconsistency in him at all.
Once, I was talking to my co-worker about the fact that I’ve never had any job that could amount to a career. It was always a part-time job for me. I told him, “I feel so insecure when I am secure.” He laughed at my comment saying, “That’s very deep!” But the truth is: it’s not deep at all. It’s just a plain outcome of my upbringing. Nothing was secure.
When that rental house was sold, we had to find a place to move quickly. The house was sold to the Catholic church right behind our house. We never went to that church. My parents and my sisters attended Presbyterian church where most of my mom’s family members attended, if they went to church. I didn’t go to church. I was not a believer.
The owner sold the house when the Catholic church made an offer. The church needed a parish house for the nuns. Once my parents accepted the idea of moving, they were ready to go fast. The church needed the house as soon as possible, and so, even though they gave us two months notice, my parents wanted to move as soon as they could manage. They were glad that the church was going to use the house. I think we all considered it a good sign from heaven. Even I, an unbeliever then, thought it was a foretelling sign of grace from God. After all, how many can say they vacated the house for the nuns?
Ten years later, I would be the first in my entire family to become a Catholic. I can now picture myself, as a nun, moving back into that exact house where I once lived in so much darkness, except that I have some obstacles that would make it realistically impossible. After all the damage is done, there is no going back to my prior state of purity. I am defiled, and I am a sinner. I know that one truth about myself. I do not feel that I deserve to be housed in that very house where I once lived in direct contact with sin. It is now the House of God.
Today my dad is completely sober. He has been for the last two years. He’s the dad I always knew him to be deep down. It’s not all perfect. My dad and I are sometimes oceans away because we spent so much time apart from each other emotionally, and then physically. But if God turned the house of darkness into the house of God, then He can turn anything to resemble His goodness. He is transforming me, all my family members, our relationships and our broken hearts. And It’s just a small fragment of what He is REALLY doing, what He is capable of doing.
In the end, He will transform the world into the Kingdom of God. We will be His people, the children of God. The proof is written all over the Bible. We witness the transformation through our own lives and the lives of those that are close to us. God is in power at every corner. His power was evident 10 years ago in the small section of Seoul where I once lived. It is still evident everywhere with no doubt. God is everywhere if only we open our eyes to be His witnesses. We can find Him anywhere.
Our Lady’s Message to Marija in Medjugorje, January 25 2013
“Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. May your prayer be as strong as a living stone, until with your lives you become witnesses. Witness the beauty of your faith. I am with you and intercede before my Son for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call.”