I walk in to my new house on my day one here. I had just sent all my possessions in the moving truck. I followed truck on the beautiful country road and drove for 20 mins to get here. Once I stepped in, the first thing that greets my eyes is the book I thought I had lost recently. I found the book abandoned on my sister’s basement book shelf and brought it home with me a few weeks ago. Then the moving week came, and the book got lost somewhere in my jumbled last week at my previous home. And here it was, the book I thought I had lost. Already in my new house, even before I was here.
It’s titled “The Journey of Revival” written by a Korean documentary film maker. It recounts the history of revival throughout the world and traces the handwork of The Holy Spirit. The journey begins in Pyongyang, a place where the North Korean 1907 revival occurred. The sudden spark of interest in 1907 revival then leads the writer to travel to Wales in order to trace Robert Thomas who had sown the seed of Christianity in Korea (mainly North Korea). Today, Korea boasts the highest number of churches per capita with a third of its population (in South Korea) being Christians.
As I took my first few steps into the new house with my eyes transfixed on the book “The Journey of Revival”, my mind was suddenly playing out all the houses I have lived in my past. I have crossed the Pacific ocean five times in my moves and twice moved across between Tennessee and Washington State. Just between Maryland and Virginia, I have moved 3 times within the past five years. Long story short, moving was constantly on the horizon in my world. And I do not believe it will stop now.
This move is special. it’s the biggest house I’ve ever lived in. It’s the biggest house I’ve ever seen, period. A big house was not something I’ve dream up but here I am nonetheless. My husband toiled for the past four years to build this house. It’s an investment house so we are not planning to stay here that long. Just enough to put some final touches and then it will go on the market. But still. It is the fruit of our labor, the proof of our perseverance, and a journey of faith. For now I intend to enjoy the beauty and the spaciousness this house has to offer us. It’s a blessing from God. It is God’s house and He will take it when He decides. I am just grateful that I got to participate in this part of His story.
This house reminds me of the Trappist cloister deep in the Virginian mountain that I desired to join once. The partial dome structure, the stone work of the exterior, and even the colors of the walls are starkly similar. The peaceful view of the woods and the far away hills brings me back to the quiet, solitary piece of heaven that I have once loved so much. The cows roamed on the property of the monastery. The milk delivery came once a week and the nuns magically turned milk into their famous Gouda cheese. That was the life I desired. I dreamed of becoming one of their nuns to live in peace and quiet making cheese and praying around the clock in the big mansion that was a monastery. I guess you could say that I dreamed of a big house after all.
And what the head nun saw in me the day I finally made “my very own” decision to join the order, I could see it now, too. The depression, the desire for suicide, the yearning to end my life on earth, the urge to flee, the fear of living. Monastic life was not for any of that. Seven years have passed from that faithful day when I returned from the mountain feeling discouraged and yet clinging to the string of hope for my life ahead. Surprisingly, I felt relieved that I was rejected by the Order. My war against depression continued on. I have defeated that demon countless times by the power of the Holy Spirit. I still battle in that invisible mental realm but I am quite a warrior at it. If there is anything I can boast about, it is that. I am very, very good at fighting against my recurring depression.
I have once owned a treasured night lamp back in my Hawaii days. I bought it at a discounted store without much thought. The real value of its lamp was revealed to me when the message came so clearly one early dawn when I was doing my regular yoga practice. The lamp glowed in the dimly lit warm light and the word “L.I.V.E.” shown through the copper engravings. On this day, I read the word LIVE backwards. It said “E.V.I.L.”
Each day, I was fighting to live. With no apparent disease that others could see and validate, I was on the dangerous border line of life and death. I did not desire to live. I desired to end my life. And here I thought all along, that the other end of life was death. No. It was evil. My desire to end my life, to stop to live, was coming from evil. It gave a chilling sensation. L.I.V.E. That one simple word was charging at me through the warm glow like a command. L.I.V.E.! L.I.V.E! L.I.V.E.! I’ve never heard anything louder in my life as that command in that moment. I do not have that lamp anymore. I left it for my dearest fellow bipolar friend when I left Hawaii, hoping that she will heed to that command as well.
On my first night here in my new house, I heard my quiet voice. I was half in tears and half in happiness as I was telling my mom this. “Mom, I am so happy that I lived.” More than any person in this world, my mom understands the deep underlying meaning when I say such nonsense. Who isn’t happy that one lived? As a matter of fact, it’s not even something you should feel anything about. You just live. Because that’s what you do. You don’t decide to kill yourself to stop living. It is not yours to decide. It is not your concern.
Mom and I were on a long journey of revival together. On my journey against depression, my mom was my unnoticed companion that went ignored. My mom was my angel. God sent her to aid my survival. I can’t wait to tell her how glad I am that I have lived to see this day. And I know that will be the perfect ending to this story we wrote together, The journey of revival.