So I’ve finally hit my threshold.
I’ve done a lot of solo drives to Central PA, DMV (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia), and even Canada.
But hour 9 is my threshold. My body started to stage a rebellion and everything started to hurt. Everything started to feel bloated and I experienced new sensations of my body hating my brain.
hour 9 is when my body said fuck you jongdae I quit
I went another 2 hours and 43 minutes before I got back to my airbnb
But this is where I landed.
What is the value of abiding by my sense of duty?question of the day
I was thinking a lot about moments in ministry, especially in these past eight years, that helped me to overcome.
To convincingly and genuine overcome the desire to quit have often been subtle moments for me. It’s not an epiphany that brought me back down from the heights of an overly bloated emotional monologue but it was those quiet moments that helped me to sustain.
I learned this lesson all too painfully.
True perseverance happens in the dead silence of the gap that our brain rarely produces between each chaos inducing train of thought. To sustain means to push despite the circumstances
So my question for the day still stands: What is the value of abiding by my sense of duty?
Andy Stanley wrote emphatically in his recent book “Irresistible ” that “love compels us” to do what is required of us.
I love that word because down to it’s salient details, this word is me. Anything attached to this word demands my attention.
I wish to be and I am moved by anything compelling.
I mean, I could ramble right here about how this is exactly why I was so driven for all these years but that’s short-changing some pivotal and formative moments in my life that brought me clarity to think about my years with the education department a little differently.
nothing in this world is perfect for everyonerevhuh
this is the 50-cent SAT word that I first learned in the 7th grade.
I was also taught that faith works like this.
My thoughts, my responses, my habits, my worship, my tithe, my time, my sacrifice and my service – what I was taught was what I must repeat therefore keeping in line with the tradition holds up our cultural understanding of faith and the church. This was the answer to everything. My Korean-Christian panacea over the questions and doubts of existence.
But is this good for everyone?
What we do as a church, does it bear repeating?
What is the value of that?
Ask yourself now:
What is the value of our traditions?
This was the question that held me at gunpoint as the winding path at Olympic National Park was finally bringing me closer and closer to Hurricane Ridge.
It was a four hour trek to make it. Crossing an international border and even finding myself enjoying small talk with strangers on the Edmonds-Kingston ferry crossing Puget Sound.
And as we (my car and I) closed in on the top of the mountain at Hurricane Ridge, I was met with rain, fog and not much else to look at.
But there I was, reading a bit, listening to my music – the soft winds rolling the clouds right over what little I can make out of the ridge was making the softest sound like a faint television static white noise. The chatter from nearby travelers expressing their disappointment were all short lived because we traded in our disappointment over the clouds covering the views for peace and quiet.
On top of that mountain in a national park – alone with my music and my thoughts.
the playlist ended and a familiar presence showed up.
the silence met with me: and out of that silence another familiar friend, in the form of this question showed up –
Jongdae, why are you still at this church?
My sense of duty is innate.
That much I can’t deny. This internal debate and struggle was set up from birth – almost guaranteed failure. I cannot win. I just can’t get away from – or keep away from my sense of duty.
I hated that question but it was a real question that required my attention.
But no conclusion: again I punched in the next destination on the gps as I barreled down the winding mountain path again.
Driving down to Crescent Lake was such a chore. There was traffic, unpaved road, and the bluetooth connection with the car was being weird. All the signs were there – should’ve just went straight home bro.
I did some preliminary instagram research so I knew that for the ‘gram, it could be worth it but I had my doubts.
Then this happened:
The rain held up in an eerie pause. Exactly 11 minutes as I sat stared, the clouds knew to hold back precipitation as much as possible before the sound of my engine welcomed back the torrent of rain due the earth at that moment.
This drive, like my time with work thus far – felt like it had no point.
my only sustaining force was this sense of duty and every morning wasn’t this choice to work or not but a choice to abide by this duty or not.
Trying waking up at 4:30 every morning for over four years. You’ll never get used to it. Really.
Today I cried. On this drive I cried. The rolling clouds covering my views of Hurricane Ridge also saw me cry. An old Chinese lady that was near me when I took this picture saw me cry and tried to console me.
It’s a terrible thing to realize that my love for my job and my calling was so leveraged
my sense of duty compelled me to keep up with my job.
Love did not compel me.
Maybe in bits and spurts – but there were also long stretches where I felt no joy.
And that’s such a tragic thing to realize eight years later.
working definition: to truly abide, one must joyfully suffer
is that too strong?
I was so busy compelling others to bring the joy, I haven’t had it for myself in a minute.
No happy ending for this post. No cathartic revelations to help put a bow on this one. This one I’ll live with the regrets no problem.