Thursday, February 28, 2013

Encourage Beauty

March is apparently Encourage Beauty month, which is perfect timing because this is the time our "Roll away the stone" girls take on 40 days of love. This would fit in perfectly and would kill many birds with one beauty. Here is the link of the details and downloadables if you want to participate. Courtesy of In Honor of Design.

"People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone."- Audrey Hepburn


Heaven On Earth

After two years, I still think about what happened with KCC and how my place in their fold had been cut off after just three years. I was ready to fully commit to the kids, the parents and making sure we have the best day games since the year before. I was ready to grow old there and make my life a part of theirs because we were in fact family. There is nothing corrupted in my love for the kids and there was nothing more pure in my intentions than my place there. It was all for them and nothing for me, although I do feel like I gained a whole lot more than they did at times. I wondered why God had given me such great pleasure on earth, only to take it away without notice or reason.

I tried to rationalize it in order to accept my fate, telling myself that God only gave them to me for the duration of the time I was waiting for my adoption. It was to keep me occupied and soften the bleakness of the long wait that all adoptive parents would experience in their process. It was all perfect, I began my adoption story in part, because of them and I ended my adoption story just as my time at KCC has been muddled by miscommunication and hurt feelings. Now to think of it, there was no reason why I should have ever lost KCC, everything was on a personal level. But still, it didn't all settle in neatly because why would He take a way such an innocent thing as camp, but still allow me to have an on going deep relationship with the kids, counselors and some parents. It didn't make any sense to me why He would take a way just one week with them out of the year, but give me a the whole year to maintain my relationship with them. Yeah, sounds convoluted to me too, and I'm not even sure I'm making any sense any more.

As I was reading my Book, THE book, the journey of Desire by John Eldredge, he was describing a ranch in Oregon that he thought was heaven on earth. At the end of the tour, he thought to himself "I can live without God out here," and this is precisely why he prevented him from possessing that ranch. Even something so innocent and pure, needs to be offered up to Him who knows our deepest desires and understands them. He gives us pleasure beyond what we ever deserve because when he was fully human, he knew hunger, grief, joy, desire, and passion. He isn't deadened to human frailty because he's God almighty, but he knows and he wants us to experience pleasure on earth, that's why he created them. Often times Christians live a life veering into asceticism because we are afraid what our passions would do to us. If we start to desire, who will know when to stop the human hunger for pleasure? One glass of wine to enjoy turns into a bottle, a morsel of chocolate into eating a whole pie in one sitting, then what's more, an intimate conversation that leads to wanting intimacy all the time. Human desire that will not just enjoy what is good, but human desire can easy devour anything to fill our void.

I always though that if God knew what I really wanted in life, he would either take it away from me or wouldn't give it to me in the first place. That happiness, contentment, security, and a deep sense of community would never come to me on earth because God was someone responsible for not spoiling me as a good Father. And, because I can take it.  But that's not true, every thing that is beautiful, tasty, everything that smells good, everything that is passionate, dynamic and profound is created for us to enjoy. He made his creation full of it and even an over whelming wastefulness, in how he made things beautiful and all things wonderful. Maybe KCC was the beautiful thing I had to consecrate to God, because I was loving it too much, the danger of Camp was that I had not want for anything in the world but them. I forget the world when I'm with them. Trusting God to them because I can only love too much and finding maybe in the end that I would possess them and covet them in ways that would corrupt them. That maybe why our group of counselors that were so close haven't all been together in a long time, I loved them too much.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Desire

There's always a pattern or an echo to what God is trying to tell me in a season of life. It comes from my heart, a happenstance, a song, or sermon, but it's repeated to me so that I won't miss it. Then I know God is trying to tell me something important. Recently, I had a friend give me a book called The Journey of Desire: searching for the life we've only dreamed of, by John Eldredge. There are only a few books that I can say with all honesty, have changed my life and freed me from whatever foolish perspective holding me captive. This is one. Growing up, my mom would always say, "you have no desire" but in Korean, the word "yok-shim" has more of a connotations than just desire or greed, it encompasses all sorts of desire; greedy ones, the kind you have when you're protecting what's already yours, the ones you dream of, etc. My mom meant that I don't really WANT things in life...I don't dare ask for or dream for myself.

This seems like the path a good faithful Christian girl should take, always content, but more like subdued from her desires and passions. I think most of us live like this, where we want to deaden our desires, less we are inflamed by the passion of it. Wanting makes us vulnerable to disappointment, frustration, sin and well, desire un-fulfilled, but killing our hunger only makes us weak in every way. We don't sin big, so we fool ourselves into thinking that we're doing alright, but the same desire for sex, drugs and rock and roll is the desire we would have for God, it's just misplaced. When we supress and concerned only with sin management, we feel nothing, we have diminished passion and desires. With diminished passions and desire, we can't know of great sorrow or great joy, we just become nice and innocuous (excerpt from Screwtape Letters, paraphrased). At least when we sin big, we come to see our fallen state and come to God in the end. However, when we live the "big brother" life in the prodigal son story, we miss the point and miss the embrace of our Father.

Last night I was reading a health magazine that my gym sends us as a perk, and the content was eerily similar. Although it didn't quite say that our desires for other things are desires misplaced from  God, the article mentioned a"almost-depression" we get into, not sad but not happy either. We can't experience anything at all because are afraid to set ourselves up for failure, for disappointment. Not expecting much out of life, friends, families, your lover, your self and telling yourself, "I didn't really want it anyways," all in efforts to protect ourselves from the great fall. For years now, I think I've lived like this, in a blah state of almost-depressed, living life colorless, emotionless and without too great of a fall from absolute bliss. I was afraid to feel, I was afraid to say things I absolutely believed and I'm not talking about absolute truths, but opinions, preferences, outlook because I was tired of the backlash I was getting from nay-sayers and people telling me, "it's too much!"

There is a way of having our desires healed, because it's there for worship of God. We also want to do things, having a desire to write, to dance, to sing, golf, play football because all of these things are the manifestation of God's creativity. I want to live out my desire, in the talents he gave me and in worship of Him who gives me the reason to live. Amen.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Getting off Heroin

The last three years I've been taking a drug called Cymbalta and I'm sure most people have seen varied versions of the commercial, the indications ranging from depression, anxiety, and back pains. My Sleep doctor is the one that prescribed Cymbalta to me and sure enough, I did get my nights back in restful sleep, but I can no longer, cry, laugh or feel anything beyond what a Stepford wife would feel, pretty much nothing. This made me feel numb to everything and everyone around me, I am less effective in ministry, my devotional life and desiring God had lessened to nil. So, this year, along with everything I'm cutting out, like sugar (sad face), booze, dairy and gluten, I wanted to phase off of Cymbalta.  Like most pharmaceutical companies and doctors, they rattle off a laundry list of side affects but never the withdrawal symptoms. I began researching ways to ween off my drug, I had stumbled upon a forum for desperate people trying to get off this crazy train.

The forum sounded like a narcotics recovery site, where people are sharing stories of their withdrawal symptoms and encouraging one another to keep pressing on. The withdrawal symptoms that were mentioned sounded like this: nausea, diarrhea, chills, runny nose, sweating, insomnia, aches and pains in the muscles and joints/ flu symptoms, extreme restlessness, yawning, abdominal cramps. Many patients also experience psychological symptoms including anxiety and depression, with severe cravings for the drug, and a certain "brain buzz." It's a feeling that is difficult to describe but when I saw those two words, I felt validated and understood. It does feel like a buzz, an electric pulse going through your brain and inside of your mouth. Incidentally, I looked up withdrawal symptoms for Heroin addicts because someone had mentioned that many of the symptoms coincide with Cymbalta addicts. It was true, it was almost exactly the same!

Currently, I am on 60 mg every three days, trying to go through three whole days until the evening of the third day to take my dose. I look forward and yearn for that moment for days and the next morning, I feel light, clear, back on my A game, and yet again, empty. I know the withdrawal symptoms are worth fighting through because on the off days, I'm able to feel sympathetic again, live life again and even though I'm beginning to cry at the drop of a hat, I feel like toxins are coming out my tears. It feels good to feel human again.

Monday, February 11, 2013

99 problems...

My pattern with girls is that they pursue me really hard in the beginning and many times Hans will say, "This girl is gonna cause you trouble..." okay no, he actually says, "She's crazy." He's always right when it comes to his disernment about people. I know he doesn't express it in the most wisest or gracious way, but they're always right (like how Mia can tell about people). I ignore him every time and I dive deep into a intimate and close relationship with them, but as soon as they're let into my life for a bit, they will start pushing me away, testing me, talking bad about me and even spreading crazy untrue rumors about me. The common complains I get from the girls are eerily similar.... "I don't feel like you need me, you have other friends," "I  don't feel special because I feel like you treat other people like this," "I don't feel as close to you when I see you with other people,"  "Are we okay? (when there's NOTHING wrong with our relationship)." They eventually lash out at me because they're so frustrated, maybe at my confusion or my dismissal of how they feel, but I'm genuinely perplexed.

Do I make people feel like I've fallen out of love with them or I'm using them for a period of time? Like they're a piece of fruity gum that often loses flavor faster than those minty ones? Am I that guy that makes every girl feel like they're the special ones and they were the only ones that got him to open up to them? Eventually, these girls find out that he's been nice to other girls and treating them just the same and some grow sad, some grow angry, and then there are the truly crazy ones that want to ruin you. I've wondered about these questions and even asked my close friends these questions because I'm the obvious common denominator here and I'm beginning to question, maybe they weren't crazy before I met them, maybe I'm driving them crazy. Then we agree that they have a pattern too! Where they really don't have any other friends or they sabatoge the relationships they DO have.

Even though I've identified this pattern in my friendships with girls, I'm still duped into these kinds of friendships all the time. I'm a sucker for them, a certain kind of broken girls or maybe I'm just stupid. They don't love me, they just like the idea of me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

blah blah blah

I've never really ever sat down to blog with nothing particular in mind, and as you can see, I don't even know what to call this entry. For the last 8 or 9 months, I've been so busy running around and running after my little wild thing that I rarely have the physical energy (yes, even to sit up and move my little fingers around) and the mental energy left to say what I want. On occasion I watch a movie or an episode of Hart of Dixie and find it particularly profound and I make a mental note to blog later, but when that later comes, I completely forget what I was thinking at the time. I just know I had a thought.

I always thought that mommy brain happens because you push a whole entire person through your small hush hush part and it kills all of your brain cells in the process, but that's not it at all. You juggle everything you did prior to this little one and the million things your little wild thing requests and requires through out the day, and you feel a little jumbled in your brain. So you no longer use word like...oh I don't know...a fancy big word you use to know and now you use words like jumbled, juggle, and use phrases like, "like..you know..." However, I would like to believe that I still have a will and a sense of humor even though I am a victim of mommy brain (a severe one might I add) and that one day I would like to be able to say that I am a survivor of mommy brain. Even though I can no longer read books without reading the same line twice per average (so that means sometimes more) and blogging isn't as deep, poetic or even intelligible, I can at least write something down to plow through this having-young-kids-stage of my life.

Can I ask readers, that you would just look the other way if I continuously make grammatical errors and my sentences don't make much sense. We can get through this together.