blood sugar

so I have diabetes

it always lingered in the back of my mind but fuck

it’s very real now

found out back in December right before Christmas and it’s been this lingering dark cloud. I’m just thinking to myself how am I going to live with this? What is this actually shortens my life?

so many questions.

to my 9 followers. why is life a series of curve balls?

cheers

plain sight

37 years

how many more will speak up?

I stand with them

hoping that more will stand united

hoping that no more have been impacted

I hate how disgusted I feel about this

but I hope they will not stay silent

just because your abuse was hidden in plain sight,

it doesn’t mean that your hurt and pain should stay the same way

you’re all survivors

we stand with you

we stand behind you

so stand and speak

praying for God to reveal everything in His time…

cruel

It was January 2014

I just finished unpacking my bags from an epic west-coast sojourn through the national parks.

The food, the conversations, the sights and the drive – being guided by the stars and motivated by the hidden food spots brought a sense of wonder in me that drove me to pursue travel more and more. And this wonder lingered at the tip of my tongue – a lasting flavor that I was trying to savor with each passing minute on the long flight back from LAX to EWR.

I land in-between snowstorms during a raging North-East winter season when we hear of another large storm system on it’s way.

Turns out it wouldn’t be the last bit of bad news that was also barreling towards us.

Two days into my return from a glorious winter west coast trip, we got the call from the motherland.

Grandfather’s cancer relapsed. He won’t make it one more week.

Come home now.

We had to wait out the coming storm to find Newark airport thawing itself out.

The plane had to traverse a barely melted runway to take off toward Detroit where there was a slightly larger aircraft that was waiting to take us all the way to Korea.

That whole travel ordeal was a blur. 18 hours from airport to airport. Waiting two hours at the terminal for a bus and then a four hour bus ride to find our half-sleeping uncle waiting at the bus terminal to pick up my mother and I.

We declined a warm meal and a bed – usually a welcomed reprieve from a long day of travel but we weren’t worried about rest.

Let’s go straight to the hospital.

beep…. beep…. beep….

It was nearly 2 in the morning and the hospital ward was only half-occupied but dead quiet.

We entered the moonlit ward to still hear the familiar faint whispers that I’ve come to know and trust.

It’s comforting.

My grandmother hasn’t slept in days. She catches naps here and there but stays awake to keep her post. Her eyes betray her sheer mental will to stay awake – her body is screaming for sleep. But she’s been through longer nights – she knows that the time is near and this moment will come to pass.

She doesn’t notice her oldest daughter and her oldest grandson standing behind her as she finishes her prayer.

Who knows. We all lost count. How many prayers can one lift up in desperation?

God knows.. right?

The human body is truly fragile. My grandfather was no exception. He laid there on the bed as three different lines pumped medicine and IV into his veins as a ventilator pumped the muscle in his chest that used to be his heart. He eyes were open but they showed no life. He was wheezing between every other painstaking breath as he only responded when his wife of 50 plus years spoke softly into his ears.

It would be years later that for the week and a half he was hospitalized because of his relapse, my grandmother would only speak to her husband in prayer and stories. Praying for a peaceful end and remembering their years together and all the blessings they’ve had.

I still remember that night.

It was a surreal scene. Seeing the body wasted away by cancer. A body already ravaged by radiation from years past – and six years later I still remember how I felt.

cruel

The end of life – what we can modestly look forward to at the end of it all?

The afterlife.

Such a culturally appropriately term. We can’t bear to fucking call it for what it really is.

The end.

The end is so cruel. Like the fall of a razor sharp knife.

So sudden. No emotions. Swift. Quick. End.

blink.

I still can’t reckon it. I can’t make sense of it.

No one can.

Even in the movies or Korean dramas when you see a person ripe with age and filled with wisdom, you see them welcome the end with grace as they move on from this world to the next.

I can’t make sense of it for the life of me.

Maybe death is but an experience. The final experience of life.

Inevitable.

Maybe that’s why grieving is for those left behind. The lingering emotions that come with being bereft is the aftermath of having to deal with loss. The dead cannot share in this sentiment.

This is how I embraced by grief.

This is how I choose to remember my grandfather.

Not as the wasted shell of a cancer-ridden body – but the man who led his family faithfully for over 50 years. I deal with his loss by cherishing his memory.

because the other option is so damn cruel.

8년전 사촌 누나 결혼식에 가려고 준비를 하고 있었습니다. 그 때 할아버지께서 축의금을 쥐어주셨습니다.  그 봉투 겉면에는 한자가 너무나도 아름답게 쓰여있었습니다. 경주에 도착해서, 큰 고모께 그것을 전해드렸습니다. 큰고모께서 글씨를 보시고 “아따~ 할배 글씨도 잘 쓴다.” 하시며, 다른 고모님들께 봉투를 보여드리기 시작했습니다. 그때 글씨체가 당신의 성품, 인간됨을 나타낸다는 것이 어떤 의미인지 깨달았습니다. 그 글씨가 할아버지의 평소 모습과 너무나도 닮아있기에 놀랐습니다.  가족 한 명 한명을 섬세하게 돌보시던 할아버지의 성품을 가슴 깊이 느꼈습니다. 무뚝뚝하시지만, 언제나 말씀보다는 행동으로써 사랑을 표현해 주신 가정적인 분이라 기억하고 싶습니다.

Grandfather’s Eulogy; Feb 2014

cheers

forever

We all want forever.

We all wish to live, to be, to endure, to thrive, to love and to be happy…

…forever

The picture attached to this post had to have been the second or third camping trip with my old church in Yonkers.

.. at least 20 years old.

This picture is a sophomore in college. LOL

So actually – this post and this picture was sitting in my draft folder just waiting for a post but during my morning conversations with my team, my coworkers and my girlfriend, I thought of the term, the idea and the concept of sentimentality. So here’s my question:

What is the value of “sentimental value”?

Like this picture for example. What value does this picture hold for me?

I talk to absolutely no one in this picture. Even my brother with the thumbs up. He’s married and living happily out-of-state. We talk but only sparingly.

And that’s not to say that anything is wrong. Nothing is wrong and my relationship with everyone here has simply faded away.

So therein lies the question – as for objects that have existed alongside our life for a very long time, what is the intrinsic value of these things?

How much does personal sentiment weigh into factoring the value that any one things “holds” in the real and material world?

This question begs me to consider who I am at the core of my being. I am very much a materialistic person. I don’t feel value from the things I own – I’ve actually owned up to the fact that I simply enjoy things and owning things. But what do these things mean to me? Do these things add value to me? Do these things add value to my life? What is the worth of these things?

And forget the question of material things for a second – what about people in my life?

I’ve moved around so much in my life that I’ve actually found most relationships to be very pointless – eventually people will leave me, so why do I care? Why should I care?

I know, I sound cold and heartless.

But what can I do? How many times do I have to be left holding the bags?

How many times do I have to be left out in the cold to clean up other people’s messes?

How many times do I have to be left to finish things up while other leaves early to enjoy their lives?

Yeah, I sound dramatic – and to a point I am.

My heart can only express things in these terms. I live in the realm of value and efficiency. Everything around me challenges this that resides in me.

You know I’ve been reading a book of short stories about mildly interesting things. (thank you for the book Yeji) It’s fodder for future party or small-gathering anecdotes – interesting stories that prove to be useful when I have absolutely nothing of use to add to the conversations.

God I hate small talk.

This book made me think – what if I value efficiency because this is my twisted way to getting to my “forever” just a little bit quicker?

What if I’m decrying forever because I know how difficult it’s going to be to get there for myself?

What a interesting topic..

..kinda

cheers

event planning

Our church’s English ministry ran a drive-thru ministry event.

Every year churches around the country gather the children to put on festivities that include worship, craft, snacks and great skits and musical. At our church, it’s a spectacle like you’ve never seen.

The budget, the manpower and the sheer planning that goes into every little detail is immense and I took a lot of pride in planning out every little detail.

This was first year that I wasn’t in charge. This was the first year that I didn’t insert myself into any role or responsibilities.

I’m so happy that it went well. Really happy for the kids that got to experience a taste of normal.

I didn’t want to show it so I had to retreat into my office many times but I was so sad.

Seeing the volunteers that I trained over the years, watching them pour themselves into a system and a process that I was so used to developing.

Maybe this is what letting go looks like.

I see the faces and I remember their stories.

I miss being at the peak of my powers – I miss pushing the group – squeezing as much energy out of them as I can and bending them to my will.

To exhaust ourselves for the joy of the children.

We want to bring the joy because when there is joy – they are blessed, and in their blessing, God is glorified.

For the first time in nine years, I wasn’t a part of that.

It really felt like a part of me died today. It had to be put to rest.

I’m no longer that pastor anymore. It’s no longer my role.

I even got comments today – people asking me if I missed it.

People seeing me get excited and commenting that I should move on.

I grieved a part of me that died today and I didn’t enjoy it.

But still I’m happy for my church and happy for my people.

This one hurts, but I’m still thankful

cheers

walking with crutches

There are clear moments that define our proverbial crutch

Crutch (as defined my Merriam-Webster)
a: a support typically fitting under the armpit for use by the disabled in walking
b: a source or means of support or assistance that is relied on heavily or excessively

So here’s the thing..

How is something that’s supposed to be a temporary measure become a lifelong part of our walk?

Continuing thought – if we’re on crutches, if we’re still using a crutch, are we truly walking?

Is there ever hope of true recovery?

Walking is an endeavor that requires repetition and patience. You have to give it time to make the most of the effort and the energy that you’re investing. Now am I really talking about the physical act of walking or am I talking about figuratively?

I’m not sure if it’s fair to speak in terms of what should or should not be it’s unfortunate that through the course of an average human life, our individuality is shaped by these crutches.

A figurative (yes I was speaking figuratively) crutch is technically a personal coping mechanism.

We form and develop these crutches to help us face life.

And when the moment has passed and we are faced with the decision to let go of our crutch – more often than not – we choose not to let go of these crutches.

But I miss walking normally. It might be a pipe dream but I actually yearn to walk through life crutch free.

Is this reasonable? Is this something that I can reasonable seek to do? To walk through life without my crutch?

I hate feeling useless. Function is king. And often I find myself without function.

I think my crutch is no different than what others go through at regular intervals. We’re all creatures of habit learning to cope through one stressful moment to another. Maybe it’s true what people say about clowns like me. I am an Enneagram 3 – that means I am fucking terrible at resting. Taking the time to rest, doest give me rest. Is this really messed up?

For me, rest is merely respite that preps me for the next job, the next challenge, and the next obstacle. It gives me so much stress because I can’t seem let go of this need to be useful. And it’s crazy because my crutch manifests in so many different ways.

When I publicly declare that I want to do something, but I end up failing.

When I’m proven wrong or someone shows me up in a group discussion.

It feels like, sometimes my need to be in control grows out of really hidden places in my heart and I end never being satisfied with how things turn out.

My thoughts are muddled so I’ll stop it here for today but I’m left wondering with another thought: does healthy walking even exist?

cheers