Sunny Promises

Five days of constant rain and dark clouds were coming to an end. I knew that sunlight was in the forecast at some point today, but I got so used to the drizzly rain and comfortably dark sky, I didn’t think much of the forecast. I wanted to avoid it. I wanted to pretend that it’s going to continue to be cloudy as long as I want it to be. But just as it was anticipated, the cloudy days were over, yielding its path to the intense sun rays. And I was not ready.

The day my sister flew out of the Dulles Airport, it started raining. We had a spotless sunny sky for ten days, exactly the number of days my sister from Korea stayed here. Blissful days they were, three sisters finally united, and every morning, I woke up with a sense of completion. Nothing was lacking. My heart felt so full, and I felt so content that the world could not offer me anything because I was lacking nothing. From the economist’s perspective, people like me would be the call of the end of a thriving economy. Now that my sister has left, I need more coffee than normal in the mornings to make up for my lost sleep to crying until late at night. I need to buy more gas to make visits to my other sister that lives an hour away, to my parents that lives half an hour away, and I need to stock up my fridge to provide some snacks for my friend coming for a visit to fill my empty nest, my empty heart.

I sat at the courtyard of my local chapel, our usual meeting place with P from Stephen Ministry to have our weekly meeting. It was in the middle of the hottest summer days when we first started our relationship in God. Now, we are cocooned in the deep autumn surrounded by the fallen leaves, and with our feet on the wet autumn rain, covering our cold legs with a winter blanket. Soon, I realized, we will have to come up with a different location somewhere inside where we could stay warm. What a different a sister’s visit makes. It was summer, bright and sunny, and then, boom, she leaves, and you are left with cold autumn, facing the fast-approaching winter. I am suddenly scared of December, when my sister’s birthday will be celebrated without us as well as the Christmas. It will be a cold, lonely month for her, alone in Korea, and it will be a sad month for the rest of us here in the US. I miss her dearly. Enough to consider moving back to Korea.

But the sunny day arrived at my door nonetheless. The sunlight today on the way back home from my errands was quietly whispering to my still-weeping heart, it’s time to look ahead, now you need to move forward. I gave you enough time to grieve. Find joy and let life live through you once again. Enjoy each day because this life is a brand new gift to be opened every morning and not a single day must go wasted. Cherish every memory and love every present, and then the future will never disappoint you. 

I must confess, I am not ready to stop clinging to my memories of my sister here. The thought of not being able to share my daily life with her for the next… however many years, greatly saddens me. But today, on that drive back home in the uncomfortably exposing sunny ray, I decided that tomorrow, I will do my best to enjoy my day without her. I will let the hope of our reunion in the future over-power my sadness of yet another day gone by without seeing each other. I will try my best to overcome this earthly attachment and lift my eyes, once again, to what’s real, to the Eternal Now.

 

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His Peace will Guard Your Hearts and Minds

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His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus

My heart is filled with sadness that sprang from the void left by my sister’s leaving. She filled my quiet, solitary days with her sunny and vibrant attitude that she is blessed with. She got on her plane just five hours ago, but I feel as if I haven’t seen her for five years already.

Is it going to be another five years until I see her again? This separation never gets easier no matter how many years go by. Perhaps, I shall grieve this loss of our childhood for the rest of my life. I try my best to keep my tears from falling, because I do not want to display my sadness in front of my toddler. It will frighten her, I am afraid. After I put her in bed for her nap, I am finally free to let my guard down, and let the tight knot in my heart untangle. I think this will be a long process.

On my drive back home from the airport, I suddenly realized that I was already in the deep season of autumn. I also noticed that the leaves have already changed their colors to yellow and red. Some trees have began shedding their leaves. So I sat out in my backyard, where, just 24 hours ago, I was surrounded by my family reunited and completed with the joining of my middle sister from Korea, I shed much tears. Freely and openly. And I thanked God to blesse me with such thick woods in my backyard. Here, I can cry all my might and I don’t need to hide my feelings.

I felt bad having to skip the Mass today because I had to say my farewell to my beloved sister. I opened my Bible to read today’s reading. My heart was still grieving, so heavy with the overwhelming emotions. Then, God was saying;

“Don’t worry about anything; Instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” 

And just like magic, my heart was filled with God’s peace and I knew everything will be just fine. I just simply thanked God for providing me with such fun ten days with my happy-go-lucky sister from Korea and hoped that He will hasten our reunion in the near future.

 

 

Shortness of Life

 

I picked some bell peppers, jalapenos, perilla leaves, and tomatoes just before dinner time to go with my spicy chicken dinner. I love that I am able to cook up dinner without going to a grocery store for over a week. I just walked to the garden to pick whatever I need, and whatever is ready to be picked. I am waiting on 8 watermelons, and there are still a couple of zucchinis coming ahead. We have a lot of peppers as well and once they all ripe and turn dark bloody red, we will dry them to make red pepper flakes which will be stored and used for Kimchi and spicy soups for years to come.

It’s so easy to feel like I am the queen of this piece of land when there is so much bounty of food. I don’t even rely on electricity because there are plenty of fire woods for cold nights and I cook on the portable gas stove outside. I have enough candles to burn for at least a few years for some dark nights. Sure, I will miss my internet, and phone services, but I know I can live without them. I will miss human connections but it’s not like that connection happens much anyways. I have been surviving on my once a week visit to my parents or my sister. One of my few friends in town is conveniently located to my very next door. When I am home, I feel safe, secure, and complete. I have total peace on most days here (as long as my hormones don’t act up occasionally).

The recent tragedies from earthquake, hurricane, and persecutions against races and ethnicity, once again, bring my attention back to the fact that everything as we know in our own small world can change in a blink of an eye. On peaceful days like today, it is easy to mistake that life will continue on like this forever. But deep down, I know that things can always change. Any day, I will receive the news that my grandmothers in Korea have passed away. Who knows, maybe I will really wake up to a tragic news that a war finally broke out in Korean peninsula (my constant source of anxiety for the past decade). Even as I enjoy my spicy chicken dinner I made this evening in my peaceful country homestead staring at the bountiful assortments of veggies picked with my own hands, I am reminded of the sudden death of the chef who provided me with this chicken recipe. He was so young. Only a little over 40 years old at the time of his passing. He died of a heart attack according to his family. A popular food blogger in Korea, he was known to so many food enthusiasts. His last post just a couple of days before his death featured beautiful photos of his garden. It was so clear that this guy was living the good life. He had all the reason to celebrate every day of his life. But it was not to last long.

The sun goes down so early in this corner where I live. At 8 pm, it is completely dark now. The leaves are already falling and changing colors. It will be unmistakably autumn very soon. Where has all those hot summer days gone? I feel like I haven’t achieved anything, but here it comes, another season, just walking right in whether I am ready or not. And so will it be when the time of death knocks on my door. Whether I am ready or not. I sit here tonight as I watch yet another wonderful late summer sunset on my deck, counting my blessing while I still can. I suddenly feel so fragile and fleeting like I am sitting on a sand castle. I truly have nothing to rely on but the grace of God. The peace from the Lord is the only cure for this quickly dying world. Life is so short. Never cease praising God for His goodness. He will deliver. These are my affirmations tonight.

 

This country life and hope, hope, hope

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I love this country life. This is my view, one of the countless million-dollar views from my drive from my daughter’s preschool. Can you believe it? How can you ever get tired of this view, this country life? I am beyond blessed.

But still. Oh the seeking. Oh the desires. Oh this turbulent heart of mind. Just yesterday, I applied for a job in Seoul, South Korea. I applied for jobs in Big Island where I used to live. I am forever struggling to fight the urge to apply for jobs in Jeju Island, in my beloved country of South Korea. I am forever restless, and perhaps, I will like this state of my being one of these days.  But not today, I do not like this state at all.

Recently, I have been grateful for God not granting my childish wishes, prudent decisions, or impulsive searches. Throughout my countless wistful thoughts, deep down, I have total comfort in knowing that God will not grant any attempts of mine that do not fit his plan. I am as busy as ever in my attempts to find my path, but this search is actually enjoyable for the first time ever in my life. There is a sense of hope, a sense of expectation, a sense of moving forward. An anticipation to find out what is around the bend.

So you see, I am in need of a lot of prayers…. but aren’t we all. I pray for you all. May the Lord of Creation, create the brightest path for us all….

 

Broken Child of God

One thing I love about living in the country is that my nights here are so quiet and undisturbed except for the sounds of nature. After every one is asleep and all my chores are done, I step outside to finally pause and breathe in the fresh country air. Last night, that moment came at 10:30 pm. When the crescent moon adorns the night sky, my backyard is so dark. All I see is the silhouette of the backyard trees and it can be quite eerie on some windy nights. Especially so, when I know there are foxes, coyotes, snakes lurking around looking for some food for the night.

Last night, the air was so cool and I could sense that autumn is not far. Although I love the silence of the night, it can be quite lonesome and scary when there’s so much fear in my heart. When I looked up at the vast empty dark sky last night, I felt as if I was a sole living person in the universe without anyone to respond to my silent cry. It is from my learned fear from childhood and the collective traumatic experiences of my sad, lonely nights when I was fresh to this country -back then, I really didn’t have anyone to respond to my crisis in the entire continent of North America, unless I called 911, that is. Things are different now. I am overcoming my past painful memories so deeply ingrained in my psyche. I know this process of healing will take time and I know that I will get better day by day. But most of all, I now know that even when I feel as if I am alone in this wild, vast, and sometimes fearful world, I am not alone. God is there. In the night, in the day, in the waking hours, and even in the sleep. He is always there.

So last night, standing in the ending summer night in the dark alone, I prayed. I prayed, not like the way I used to do when I was a child looking at the moon in tears. I prayed, I talked, to the one that I knew was listening, about my fears, my anxieties, my uncertainties, and my concerns. And just knowing that He was listening to every word I had to say to Him, counting every single drop of tears from my fearful eyes, was enough. My sadness turned into joy by the end of my quiet prayerful moment in the dark country night, and I felt so alive and real, because in that moment alone at night outside, I didn’t have to be anyone else, other than the broken child that only God could heal.

 

True calling

IMG_8480My daughter colored this page last week and we loved it so much that we hung it next to our window in the kitchen. It was only days ago that I noticed the phrase printed under the pony picture. It reads “…..This baby pony may not know what her true calling is, but she is determined to find out!” 

When it first came to my attention, I thought, how fitting, for me, for all of us, wondering to find out what the true calling is, and determined to find out.

Every morning, for the last week, the first thing I did after I opened my eyes was to check my e-mail to hear back whether I was accepted for a position I applied for or not. Today, I finally got my answer, my anticipated long wait quickly turning into a major disappointment. I closed my eyes, still in bed, still half asleep, observing my half awakening mind taking note of the undesirable sensation of my heart sinking. I let out a deep sigh. I slowly rose from my bed and walked to my kitchen. I carefully made my first morning coffee doing my best to not disturb the silence of the early morning hours. I wanted to sit in prayer in silence and be with God a little while this morning. When I walked to my window by the pony picture, the word “determined” came to my mind. It quickly traveled to my heart shifting heart-gear into that of hope.

I thanked the Lord for another bright morning, for the clear answer to my path to find a true calling, and for giving me yet another day to make a choice to amend and to try anew.

Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song. Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful. O Israel, rejoice in your Maker. O people of Jerusalem, exult in your King. Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp. For the Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them. Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds. 

-Psalm 149:1-5

Waiting for the Path of Life

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This is all the beach I saw today because soon after I took this picture we had some issues getting into our room and after we ordered our pasta which took forever to take out, the night has sunk down on us and my daughter developed her fever and sore throat.

But somehow those commends “Stay in lane. Do not pass” speak volumes tonight as I lay here in an unfarmiliar bed that will be reserved for me for the next two nights.

Last night, I applied for a position that I personally hope to win. It was a position that required me to stay up until 4 in the morning just to complete its sample tests to qualify. After only a few hours of sleep -if I do get this job, this will be my sleep pattern as I will have to work remotely at home during my toddler’s bedtime-, I packed my suicase for my weekend getaway. With my sleepy eyes, I drove almost 4 hours for a relaxing weekend by the ocean.

I last came here back in 2009 when everything was at risk and I had nothing to lose. That’s a win-win situation if you ask me. It was right here in this place that I received the strong call of God for me to make my move to Hawaii, and two months later, I did. I did moved to Hawaii, and I am grateful.

Less than 10 years ago, I was on the verge of schezophnia after my intense episodes of bipolar depression. Tonight, here I am in the comfort of the bed listening to the gentle sound of rain right out my window praying for the acceptance of my job application which will require an intense intellectual thought process. Those gentle tapping sounds of the rain almost resemble my late night typing sounds. It’s the most divine hour that I know- me typing by the open window while soothing breeze washes away my concerns. Oh, how many countless hours have I spent listening to my gentle typing sounds and the waves of the ocean in Hawaii!

And tonight, I desperately pray that God will grant me my wishful thoughts and my heart’s yearning. As He granted my wish to know my path when I last came to this beach town, I hope that He will once again answer my prayers from the depth of my heart.

In the mean time, I will remember to stay in my lane, and I will not pass. I will go at my pace knowing that it will be just fast enough for me.

Tomorrow, I will wake up to a perfectly sunny day and the full view of beach will be within my grasp all day long.

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