Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Do it again Daddy...

"A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” G.K. Chesterton

Ditz with a credit card

"I'm a mouse. Duh!" - Karen (Mean Girls)

Most days, I feel like a complete alien, desperate for people to understand me over accepting me for who I am. I need to explain, I need to make excuses and while I lay in bed to sleep, I count all the things I did that day that makes my cringe, instead of sheep. I admit I am misunderstood and the typical "love me" that I am, I make sure people know me for who I really am and love me for just that. While sitting in the car with four girls from Ohio, we played a round of "I get that a lot," stating one thing that people tell you the most about you. As the girls stated their label, I saw that they were okay with their disposition and allow people to love them regardless. I'm not quite sure if it's because they grew up in a community of grace and individuality and my community categorized, labeled and stuffed me into boxes I don't fit into, but I was envious of their confidence and peace with what their labels were.

"What about you Susie? what do people say you are?" I paused for a second, "mm...I think people think that I'm a cheerleader when the last time I was one was in Junior High. And that I'm just a ditz with a credit card or maybe that I was a mean girl?" I tried all my life to have people take me seriously and by my small stature and a look of a typical teenager, I wasn't getting that. Sure, I love clothes, pretty things and shopping, but that's not all. I didn't always want to be out and partying, most days I wanted to be home in my PJ's reading a book or writing a letter to someone. I'm not all the girly, but then I am. My voice is small and I am amiable, but I have strong, resolute opinions about things. There were so many things I wanted to prove to people, I tried so hard to be that smart girl, the good girl, the nice girl. I'm not sure if I can accept myself any other way and hard on myself when I'm not.

These days, instead of proving that I'm a smart, homebody that is truly good and does only what mother Theresa would deem honorable, I'm trying so hard to prove that I am not the angel everyone thinks I am. I also don't live a charmed life where I am handed everything to me by batting my lashes. This is the thing, I don't want you to assume anything extreme about me, even if it was something good. I'd rather be known for the mixture of the things I am and know that I am flawed, than to be put on a pedestal. I am highly offended when someone assumes even good things about me if it's not true of me. Am I crazy? yes. But I want you to know what kind of crazy. The girls in the car unanimously chimed, "what? I totally don't see that about you..." How can girls that have known me for three years know me this well? How can they tell that when so many who have known me for over ten years still insist that I am who they see on the outside?

Several of my prolific friends have mused that perhaps it's because in the Korean American community, there is a certain expectation to fit into a mold. Just the way our parents gave us two options for a career, Doctor or a Lawyer, maybe our peer give us only two options for social scenes, church or not churched, educated or not educated, from U of I or not from U of I. I noticed this myself, when Korean Americans approach you, they already know of you and you start filling the blanks yourself about what kind of person you are. You are already folded neatly into a drawer in their mind and when you begin to pop up in other cubbies and found hung on a different side of the closet, people get upset because you're messing up their closet. Well, I get upset because they don't see you with clear eyes and that just maybe, each person is different, we all have our quirks and flaws that could just well be lovable. 

I wish my friends would see me the way you do girls... Clearly. Without templates.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bad Habit of Bad Mood

When people ask me, "How are you?" over coffee, lunch or munching on a standing snack at church, I really have to say, "good!" There isn't a thing that I can complain about in recent days of my existence and not only this, I really have it good right now. I'm not working but really enjoying my time at home and don't know where all the time goes in a day. I'm learning I can keep myself productive and busy without having a job that pays. Although, if anyone is willing to pay me as I sit in the comfort of my own home, doing the things I want, when I want, that would really make my day. I also have a small human being that has been assigned to me and I can't be more happy to know him, even from a distance. He gives me dreams day and night, inspiration, purpose and a sense of fulfillment. I know for now, we are apart and strangers, but I know the sand will run through the glass and before I know it, I'll be begging you for you to babysit while I nap. I am waking to the community I already had and appreciating their place in my days and circumstances, friends and family being the source of happiness and blessing in my life.

For some odd reason, I'm weary of my happiness and reluctant to leave the little shack of misery I built for myself. As if I step out from the shadows into the sunlight, the rays of the sun will sear my skin and the ground will swallow me up, using the grass as it's tentacles and wrap it's razor like blades around my ankles and pull me into itself. I stop myself from trying being free from the dank corridors of my prison. Like Shawshank redemption, where long time prisoners have made a home in the prison they have been banished, then commit crimes so they will be back where they are safe from the society at large. A caged bird eventually forgets how to fly and how to rise early in the morning to retrieve it's worm. Singing and imagining a life outside of it's cage becomes it's way of passing the time, making it it's purpose. Once you become a bird with purpose and goals for the life you lead, what will you become when the cage doors swing wide open? It's as though you cope and find ways to survive the pain you're use to and misery has become your comfort, routine, a habit. Being something other than what you've known for so long is a scarier change. How will I cope? Who would I be if it where the warm feeling of melancholy to identify you as you?

It's as though I feel only desperate enough to reach out to God when I am suffering, that I long for those days when I remember how close I was to him.  When all I had was the strength of God and I can leave all of my sins, my flaws, my ugly behind me so that all I am left with is the grace of God. Clothed in his love and glory, I am no longer in view, posing as the daughter of a king and when I feel as though I am a total imposter, that is when the true gift of God is revealed. I am beloved not because I am particularly happy, perfect and angelic, but because I am beloved despite the fact that I am not. Making mistakes in your happiness also shows glaringly that you are a sinner in nature and there is no excuse when you falter or make decisions that are not the most wise. I bank on my circumstantial misery as a scapegoat of wild living and abandonment, so that my foolishness isn't revealed so glaringly.

So in fear of living in happiness and newness, the adventure of falling down again, I don't want to get back up. After all you can't fall down when you're already down. I better "get busy living, or get busy dying," because I am here nor there. I want to fully embrace being happy and stop being fearful of falling down again, being disappointed again, because it'll come in time. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy this time of happy. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Worst Nightmare

I am already and reluctantly falling in love with Jude everyday. Carrying around his little face on my phone, his little soul in my heart and day dreaming about his wobbly toddles in my head. I am cautious to over prepare that I am going to lose this little boy who is in my mind and heart, already mine. I know that in the dark corner of my mind, I have a neat little pile of fear that this child will slip through my fingers at any moment.  Dark thoughts. Like losing him to death, losing him to the foster mother, losing him to a native who will snatch him from my life.

I recently heard news from an adoption support group that there is a family in waiting that recieved word, their baby girl's foster parents decided to adopt her. She is understandably heart broken and numb as she recieves the news and it takes me a step closer to the pile of fear in the dark corner of my mind. 

Although I call it my worst nightmare, I know that it may be the best situation for Jude if it were ever come to this. He is already with the only mom he's known since his arrival into this cold hard world and she has eyes of an angel. Jude in turn is a small cherubim that any mother would slip deeply and quickly into his clutches and no one would ever ask to be freed from his tiny chubby hands. I can't blame them for falling in love with one another. Not Jude, not his foster mother because I have already fallen in love with a foster baby from my church who we have known since birth. She has become our daughter while she waits for her mother to straighten up her life or be eligible for adoption, either way, while she waits, we have fallen in love with her.

In a particular picture I receieved from the Korean agency, the foster mother holds Jude in her arms. He looks out to his horizon while she looks into his face with what looks to be like longing or sadness that she will lose this boy in the very near future. I can see it and her sad eyes gives me fear I've only imagined feeling as I have dark thought about passing of my father, mother, brother and husband. There's another that clutches my heart even more, where he looks into her face and recognizes her as "umma," and he is perfectly loved and perfectly content where he is. He doesn't long for me, he doesn't know she is not his mother and for now, she indeed is his mother. But I fear, for good. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I See You (Avatar)

People will always assume things about you that isn't quite congruent with your character, no matter how many years you've known them. Some people could have known you in your best years and have watched you up close for the last 10 years and still at the most crucial moment assume the worst conclusion. They won't even give you the benefit of doubt to ask you about it and allow you to explain yourself, they just make their decision on one moment you stumble into some bad lighting and that boat drifts away. It's the "avoid the drama" mentality or "I don't want to deal with it" attitude that will eventually break you in separate paths and all over a unexplained inconsistency in you. Or maybe we are all waiting for our friends to disappoint us and once they do, we congratulate ourselves for "seeing that coming." Perhaps they haven't had the best view of you in the first place and what they were looking for is the confirmation for their sneaking suspicion about your shady character. Perhaps they expected perfection that no one could live up to, and the time came to prove your human frailty, they reject you just as you are criminal.

Then, there are people who see you, truly see you and even when you are at your base, at the degenerate, broken place they still see the God in you. This is because the God in them sees the God in me. There is mutual understanding that our intentions and heart is pure, there is no hiding and there is no skirting, you are all honest because they will see you with the knowledge love. Misspoken words are covered by their true intentions and not the semantics, their vacancy ascribed to busyness and not neglect, you will always know that the person you call friend is not easily turned away by one misstep, one misunderstanding, one mistake. I'm thankful I have people I call friends who are just like this and would believe me and fight for me till the end. No, not when I'm genuinely wrong but I am just genuinely misrepresented by my carelessness and no so polished PR for myself.

Once, I wrote an angry letter to my pastor when I had a mild melt down one summer. It was directed at him and at the church, at the job I was at and I'm pretty certain I remember writing down some nasty language peppered with profanity that could not be contained if I was writing the Pope himself. I mean, Jesus already knew I was thinking them in my head, why not express them for emphasis sake and let him know I really mean it. After he read my letter, he thought to himself, "now why would my friend Susie, who I know very well through and through write such a letter?" He took me at my position and how I was feeling and not the words that described them. Those words he knew were the intensity I felt in my being and not so much to offend him personally. He knew to take me at moments of weakness and know that when I was pulled together and slapped out of my furious state, I would regret those words and wish I could unsay every word I wrote.  He didn't talk about the letter, but he talked about the issues that made me write that letter, which I appreciate till this day, because he Saw me.

Many times in most of my relationships, there is just no room for error.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I see you

(riding in the car back home from a meeting)
H: You tired?

S: No...I'm alright, just thinking about Jude

H: What's he doing?

S: He's toddling around...

(On Thursday morning we both woke up at 4 am just minutes from each other.)
S: Why are we awake?

H: I don't know...

S: Maybe God woke us up to pray for Jude

H: Why? You think he fell down?

S: No, he always falls down...

Why can I see you and know what you're doing? Can you sense me too and know that your parents are somewhere waiting for you? Or are you already so attached to your foster family you are content? I held Judah last night. He's a 14 month old boy who is walking already and saying things like "candle," "light" and "umbrella." He was pushing me away as I held him and I got sad imagining how it's going to be in the beginning between you and me.  I'm nervous and anxious to think that minutes, days, weeks and months are going by and you're growing, learning and meeting milestones that I'll miss. But you wait and see, you'll be at home here, we'll love you here.