Friday, March 29, 2013

You Make Me New

Since January, I've been part of a girls only group called Roll Away the Stone and I was a little skeptical, a little bit nervous and afraid because this group required so much time, travel, mental capacity, blogging, thinking, crying, talking and praying that I didn't know if I wanted to get involved. On second thought, I might have joined the group without knowing that it required so much unveiling and uncovering of all my junk, or else why would have done so? Some of you are thinking, "what? this is so up your alley Susie, all that thinking, uncovering and writing? Like a glove!" Maybe so...I do reveal a whole heck of a lot on this blog and I have been way too honest at times when I've been less than perfect, melted into a pool of dark waters in some dingy hotel (not literally - ew, can you see me in a dingy no-tell-motel?).

The group that God has assembled could not be more perfect, some how and in some way, we have come to share our deep wounds and dark pasts without the fear of being judged. We didn't feel this way from day one of our meeting, but after taking the leap of faith and carefully pinning out dirty laundry on the clothes line we call "The Blog," we began seeing the same kinds of stains and spots. We began learning that we ourselves have been putting up defenses, gracious faces and with a stiff upper lip, trudging on to survive. We learned that we didn't have to here in the circle of trust because all of us just wanted to close wounds, heal broken hearts and relearn the absolute Truth instead of the lies that creep in during the hours, the days, the weeks, and years, eventually believing and living out lies that keep us like caged birds.

There were some questions that I never even thought of and didn't realize it had affected me the way it does and makes me the way I am. It's been difficult to admit some of my sins, but it's been far more difficult to admit the sins that had been committed against me. For some odd reason, it's easier to reveal my weaknesses and utter the words, "I'm sorry" than to say, "This was done to me and I don't know how to forgive or to heal." How do you make anyone or everyone apologize for their mistakes, intentional or not? When I said that 2013 would be a banner year, I celebrated and fell into fear because I knew that there's no way of becoming something new without dying in my old self...and dying is painful.

A Job Well Done

It's been exactly one week since Hans left his job of 11 years. ELEVEN years! (that's longer than we've been married!)  I don't know anyone that stays that long at a company right out of college! The company did give him his first shot and Hans' direct boss, Paul mentored him like he was his own son. Over the years, we shared many Norte Dame Vs. Purdue banters, tailgates, House warmings, dinners, drinks and even the celebration of little Jude joining the "UD Family." United Display Craft definitely has become family to us, and Sandy, the owner of the company is our Father. Although his body has been failing him for the last few years, his spirit still lives on so strong, Hans had to sign off to him when he left that Friday. UD will definitely be bookmarked in our lives as a place where we grew up, and the people that raised us were so gracious over the years.

Although there is a lot to be said about UD as a company, I want to highlight how Hans has impacted UD...can I? Can I just brag about how proud I am of my husband? When the management team received word that Hans was to leave in two weeks, the sales department went into a uproar of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Sack clothes were put on and ashes put on their heads because Hans is that good! He was the guy that delivers, delivers good and fast, so they had to find a way to keep him on payroll. They went to the big boss man almost every day before he left proclaiming the warning of dark and weary days if Hans were to be let go. On Friday, a design department co-worker planned a luncheon for Hans and over 50 people showed up to bit him goodbye, when typically, people who leave go out to a simple farewell lunch with a few people from their department. Little Mexican ladies from the factory brought Jude Mexican treats and homemade salsa for me. A simple offering but spoke volumes when those small gifts were handed to him in tears.

I think anyone can make a first good impression, and I for one can give a good, but short lived performance when I have to, but Hans has proved to be a man of character over the 11 years he's worked there. I think it's a testament to how he conducted himself and how he genuinely grew to love and care for his co-irkers workers. Not only that, he must have done excellent work because it is a work place after all and you can't be loved and respected just for being a nice guy. He tried his best to finish all of his projects before he left because he wanted to finish strong at the company he humbly refers to as "the company that gave me my first shot!" The design director gave him a Rick Warren book called "Tap Dancing to work," and I think it was the perfect gift that describes their relationship. Paul, would want Hans to find his challenge, but to love it at the same time, because even though Paul works hard as all hell at his job, I think he loves it too. I don't know if I have ever been prouder of my husband in the almost-11-years of marriage.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Beloved

 
Birds of the air thrown and scattered through the air, hanging in the sky for color and adoration.
Flower petals so tiny and thin, tender pieces squeezed between finger tips and it breaks down into a smear.
Apples crisp and so sweet, nectar formed in the dreams of the God almighty, red and so delicious, who could have conceived but the creator, the artist, the passionate One who sits on Mercy seat.

All this created for his beloved, my body, my soul, my life, his greatest masterpiece.
Adorned with skin, sparkling eyes and voice that sings like a lark, what can separate me from his love?
What can match what is dowsed on me, thick, sticky and sweet from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. All consuming passion that pieced his hand and heart, He who created the deep seas and the sky scraping mountains to bless me and let me into his Life-giving character.

I twirl and twirl, carefree and found, grounded and secure, until I take my eyes off of the Son and I stumble into the shadows. In the shivering cold, I feel warmth....a hand reaches out for mine, no moment lost lest I find myself back to God, I look back at Him who reaches out for me. The tug of charm and sweet lips holds too tight and too distracting to ignore, I am swept up in love, a lesser love, but it satisfies me for the moment and I forget Him, who is my beloved. Ashamed, I want to pull away in haste, but charm and sweet lips flee before I can. I try to hold tight to what I confuse for love, rejecting me into tears. The road back to my beloved seems too far and arduous. How will he take me back now? An adulteress.

Come perfection, I will built a body and an image that will make me climb onto the highest tower of haughtiness, I will not need the love of another, just my own. The Gucci feet, rock hard body, and flowing hair, all an armor to protect me against rejection. I can no longer be thrown away because I cannot be had.. It's money that will take me there, it's status that will lift me up to heights you cannot reach. I will shut you out, and never let you in, until someone finds a chink in my armor, and I am reduced to seeking a substitute fill once more.

I walk through the valley of shadows, death, rain, and clouds, it's cold here. I don't know where I am and how I came down this path. My beloved saves me, he pulls me in and banishes all that vies for my attention, my search to be loved, to be held close forever and ever. It is you Jesus, who had been pierced for my weakness and vulnerable state, consequence taken for my wayward heart so easily lured. My name is etched forever in your hands, an imprint of my body and heart that mars and scars your innocent hands. Forever you will hold me, those eyes who has seen my wretched heart and loved me still.

"You were reaching through the storm, walking on the water, even when I could not see. In the middle of it all, when I thought you were a thousand miles away, Not for a moment did you forsake me. After all, you are constant, after all, you are all only good, after all, you are sovereign. Not for a moment, will you forsake me.
You were singing in the dark, whispering your promise, even when I could not hear, I was held in your arms, carried for a thousand miles to shore. Not for a moment did you forsake me".

Friday, March 15, 2013

Boys that make me cry

There was once a time, when lots of boys could make me cry for reasons a lot less than spilled milk.  The first time a boy made me cry was in first grade, his name is George Heimrich. I think I talked about him in other entries, the boy with the big brown eyes and brown hair, and he had a sweet mom that made me Christmas cookies and valentine cakes. He once made me cry because he wasn't as nice to me as he had been, this would've or could've been the first and last lesson I have learned in heartbreak. Then from that day forward, no boy would ever break my heart, but the problem with the heart is, it wants what it wants, even when nothing makes sense, not your motive, situation or even the object of your hearts desire.

It was a long time coming before my true heart break and the boy that made me cry for years until I finally grew out of my pubescent years. It was so overarching a season, I'm not quite sure if I had healed from the break up or if I had actually grown out of it by the numbers of years that passed and that I became a whole another human being. He had been the bane of my existence for the longest period of time but I almost have a fondness for him, like a dysfunctional attachment a captor has for her kidnapper. Over time, it becomes the new norm, so that your psyche does not break.

I really thought that the days of crying over boys were long behind me...but more than ever, the boys that have entered my life recently and the boys that have been the pillar of my every day life for years have been the greatest source of sorrow and loss these days. I realize the boys of the dating and friendships past had only been a tip of the iceberg of what kind of testing the men in my life would put me through into my mid thirties. I thought I was done with winning and keeping their affections, wanting more than they can ever possibly give me in filling my love tank, but still expecting it because I don't want it from anyone else but my chosen ones. I love you, you damn boys that make me cry, and this is precisely the reason why you're able to elicit crying from me.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Free bird Cured

There was a long time where I thought I would live over seas, not for missions or anything of substance, but just to be away from here. I knew in the back of my mind, in the new place of settlement, that exotic faraway place would melt into an ordinary scene of day old Croissants, diminished flavor in spices and eventually every language and culture would have made me cringe just like the ugly Americans. I had wanderlust in my heart, and not the pretty, glitter peppered posters, with a far away sun in the background of a field of flowers. The kind you would typically find in Free People catalogs with bohemian girls in gauzy dresses, but the kind of wanderlust that made me feel lost and misunderstood, the kind that made me lose purpose, lose heart. I felt like a caged bird and everyone I knew, the community I belonged to, the responsibilities I had, each represented a bar that contained me.

I'm not sure what did it....maybe it's the kind of phenomenon that "Red" talks about in Shawshank Redemption. "These prison walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, gets so you depend on them. That's institutionalized." I don't want to think that I was institutionalize or call the people I'm beginning to depend on, trust on and love on, institutions to keep me out of trouble, or worse yet, fly to my true home. But on the other hand, I think I was made to stay put at one place for a long time...I feel like my twenties was the longest decade yet because there wasn't much change in scenery or people. After awhile, the cage is dissolving and I'm beginning to appreciate this place as home, then as a bird, makes me want to nest in it.

The other day, I had an out of body, out mind experience of actually texting and emailing a few girls that live near by to have more play dates in the future. What's got into me? I don't reach out and corral people together to form lasting communities and friendships, but it's beginning to dawn on me that this is my home and I'm not going any where. It isn't to say that I'm making the most of it, and calling these prison walls my home because I have another 50 to serve in the big house, but I'm genuinely missing my people when I don't see them on a regular basis. Perhaps it's also dawning on me that this is what God meant when He commanded us to love, and that I've been in love with the idea of Romance instead of Love. Love is the kind that happens everyday, unnoticed and un-glamorous, and on most days, un-fun, but the big return of love over romance is that it is deeply seeded and grows into the biggest and the tallest oak tree for generations to find. On the other hand, romance, although makes a whole entire garden a place of rest and inspiration for awe, which is valid in itself, but will whither in time. There is a season and a place for the all the romantic, grand gestures of love, but today, I will plant trees.

Image: www.amyrosegibson.com 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Year of Discipline Reprised

Today, I reread my blog on My Year of Discipline 2013, and this is just the thing I was afraid of! Failure. I don't think my failure has been glaring to anyone, I certainly hope not, but I have had more than one or two cheat days touching on all of the disciplines I had pursued this year. What's more embarrassing is that it's only March. Two days into March at that, so... if I plug that into an algorithm, I kept with this up for exactly one month, or maybe even less...In the past, I may have found myself in a puddle somewhere in one of our closets, most likely my walk in closet since there's most room in there, and allowing J to find his mom lying down in tears in the tiny baby closet isn't the kind of "humor" I'd like to encourage. Since the year has started, I have lied in my closet and cried on the phone with my friends, brother and pastor, in that order and all in one sitting, but that has nothing to do with this. Alternately, I may have scrapped the whole plan because if I can't be perfect at it, it needs to be deleted. Alt d

I'm 35 years old this year and I feel as though I'm a little bit wiser in how to grow...I think. I stopped expecting perfection from myself somewhere along the way. When there is very little wiggle room to even start sprouting roots, stems, leaves and eventually fruit when you shut yourself in an airtight plan. I think I'm beginning to realize that I'm not a cyborg, like some people tell me I am, but I'm actually human. That seems like such an obvious observation, but somehow I expected robotic perfection in everything I do. "I want to be perfect!" I actually use to say that all the time in my twenties and just up until last year. What also helps is that, having a child cures you of anything perfect; cleanliness of your home, your carpet, your clothes, how I keep our schedule, keep productive, grammar and above all else, the upkeep of my nails. If I ever get to painting my nails, there's just no time to dry them before J asks to be pick up and feed him a bowl of cereal. I know right? What does he think I am? A robot?

Regardless, when I was in my twenties, I couldn't wait to be thirty because when you're thirty, you are at your peak in physical beauty and prowess, you're intelligent, wise, funny, independent, honest and taller. When I finally turned thirty, I found none of these in my stack of birthday gifts, and especially not the taller part...How disappointing. I concluded that it had to be achieved slowly and work toward all of those things while you are you right at this moment, and eventually you will find yourself there, whatever your age. I'm not saying that I've arrived and 35 is the year that was promised to me, but I'm glad to say that I've cut myself, and others, a little slack. Now to rope it in and still have discipline...before I eat this whole chocolate bar...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Encourage Beauty: Love of My parents


Today, my parents celebrate their 36th anniversary, yeah, do the math, I'm a honeymoon baby. over the course of my 35 years of watching their marriage interaction, I wasn't jumping into my own nuptials with eager feet. We had a happy childhood, previledge in seasons, famine in others, but mostly just happy. I rarely recount the days when you had nothing and moving around the world with all of your possession in a suitcase because I had my parents. My parents were in love when they got married, she was the beauty of the office and my dad was the goof with a charm the pants off of you. He was a quick thinker and he knew that my mom was a gem when he pursued a girl 10 years younger than he was. When they tell me of their dating days, its not like the typical stories of immigrant Korean parents, who entered into their marriage by class, education, or arrangement, but they had fun together. He took her to baseball games, they went to the zoo, he bought her candy I'm sure of it because he has the worst sweet tooth. He puts a piece of chocolate in my milk for crying out loud.

My dad is a free spirit and he likes a bit of adventure, so he took us on a long trip over my 18 years of life, moving every four years. Gaining new friends, losing them, then finding a new home and losing that too. Overall, my father is a weeping poet, with a tender heart for people and easily wooed and easily angered. He made us laugh, took us on trips, and bought my brother every toy there is to purchase in a small boutique store. In turn, the place his passionate love for beauty and love arise, wrath, sensitivity and ruin comes to him on the same coin. My mom is the strong one. She is lovely in frame and face, she grew up precious and charmed, it shows in her serene spirit. If she were frail, I don't know if she would have survived my father's tourential storms, while protecting us too. 

No one in this day in age survives this long in a marriage so committed and forgiving. I don't think we saw half the battles won and lost hidden from our innocent eyes, but I know that they couldn't have fought in front of us exclusively, but they had silences, long conversations, forgiveness, frailty and rising in strength when we weren't looking. They have been a foundation of stability when my brother and I had no wear to land our feet. I'm blessed to watch a marriage bloom into it's mature seasons, ever evolving, covering with love, the failure of the other, the messy, stumbling, and getting back up. How could we ever know to mend broken relationships without throwing them away, if we hadn't watch them patch things up? If they only appeared perfect, covering up and pretending?

I love you Mom and Dad! Happy Anniversary!