The year the answer was right in my hand


We spent a week in exile away from home during the bomb cyclone that had swept through Northeast. With the temperature way below zero in Fahrenheit, it resembled Siberia. It was truly a free visit to Siberian lands. Our well water and pipes froze and we lost power periodically. We left home when the power went out at 1 am one night, and didn’t go back home for four days. We stayed at a hotel, at my mom’s cozy apartment in the city, and at my sister’s new townhouse. Each night, I was nothing but grateful for the comforts of my family’s warm houses and the privacy of the hotel rooms. I wondered how others were faring, those who were less fortunate.

That morning drive back home after our last night of exile was so memorable for reasons that I cannot pinpoint. It was a long drive home through the back roads, sometime between nine and ten in the morning. My GPS suggested the long road home through some deep country villages as my fastest route and I happily obliged. The weather was still brutally cold, but I was confident that our power was back on. I happily and joyfully breezed through my week of ordeal during the winter storm with a man who displays almost SAD-like symptoms during the cold winter season and a chirpy toddler with a very busy mind by my side. And this, the view of the beauty of the country life was my reward. The anticipation of arriving home and the comforting thoughts of resuming my daily routine gave my heart a quiet leap the whole time I was driving.

Sure enough, we had power back. The water has still not thawed yet, but warmer climate was just a couple of days away. As always, life was a little less than perfect, but my heart still believed everything will be just fine. Through the rain, through the storm, through the bomb cyclone, as long as I withstand with Jesus as my guide and my companion, it’s always a happy journey.

My happiest moment for this week came when I went to Eucharistic Adoration as usual this past Thursday. I managed to drive my car to the Adoration last week despite the weather but, alas, the chapel was closed and the simple common sense to check if the church was closed during the winter storm obviously did not register my brain. So this Thursday, I just sat in the quiet chapel with an open heart, just savoring the beauty and the peace of this holy place that I missed so much for the last two weeks. It was a sweet homecoming. I was so enjoying the compete peace that filled my heart that I forgot to pray about other concerns that frequently nag my brain. It was only on my way out that I remembered my prayers as I stood in front of the book of prayer. I picked up the pencil. Words of thanksgiving and praising God came flooding out of my hands. I was just so thankful. And it was such a great place to be. If I could, I just wanted to continue to write down my words of thanks to God so I can forget about my daily stressors. Unfortunately, I remembered that until recently I was in an almost desperate search for an employment. I remembered the application I sent out a few weeks ago. So I wrote down my request. I wrote, “Jesus, give me strength as I impatiently wait for the answer for the path you have chosen for me. If it is your will, I pray that you see through the application I have sent out. Give me the clarity of mind that I may recognize your answer to my future path.”

I was calmly driving to my child’s preschool to pick her up. I drove through this winding road so many times during my last five years in Maryland. Up and down, it elevates and descends, through the thick national park natural lands and developed subdivisions. This drive was so identical to the terrain of my unstable bipolar brain and that was why I’ve always loved this road. It leads me out of my beloved local parish to… wherever it was that my life required me to be.

And on this day, after writing down such a clear request to Jesus to help me see clearly the answer He was going to give me, it did not startle me that I would discover a bumper sticker on the first car that I approached after leaving the church. It simply read: Jesus is the answer.

Yes, indeed. By guiding me to this church for so many years, Jesus was always pointing me to the answer. It was always so clear. So evident. And the answer was so vividly alive in my very own heart. I have been so blind.

 Under the burning Tennessee late Summer afternoon, my relationship with Jesus began. It started eons ago when God created me, but to me, to my limited understanding, that day pinpoints the day I started my relationship with Him. It came on the verge of suicide one afternoon when I dangerously found myself alone at home. Like a lethal bullet, I stormed out of my house and started driving. I did not know where I was going, but I had to go. Out. Fast. Before I realized where I was, I found myself at the front door of a small Korean church that I never desired to attend. I refused Christianity as long as I can remember. My heart was struck shut to Jesus. And that day, the church door was struck shut to me. No one was at the church. And I wanted in. I wanted to go in and just look at the Cross. It was a sudden desire. The desire was so intense that it felt so destructive. I was no longer driven by my destructive urge to end my life. I was suddenly governed by my desire to go into the church. Devastated, I slowly walked down the steps and fell to the ground. I was so lonely. I was so fearful. I was in an unimaginably dark pain and I did not know what to do. On the lowest step of the church, I cried my heart out. My shaking hand clutched the stair railing. The metal railing was burning heated by the famously hot Southern summer sun. And then I looked up. There it was, the metal Cross, on the stair railing on the steps to the church front door.

It was the year 2007. A little over a decade ago. The year everything found its meaning. The year the answer was right in my hand.

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