integral

i’ve been asking myself what it looks like/how to be a light at work. how to stand up for my faith when colleagues make passing judgments about religion. how to react when they poke fun at the patient whose pain is apparently relieved through the power of Jesus. how to be kind. how to be loving and honest, professional and vulnerable, gentle, yet firm. more than just mentioning that yes, I go to church. more than watching my language. more than silently praying for the patient in front of me. how to be more like Jesus while knowing that He did an impossible thing yet knowing that i still have to try.

the church doesn’t exist for you, you are the church existing for the world.
Zang.
i took the day off because i quickly learned that time (my sanity) is more precious than making a few extra dollars. i mean i could use the money with all the flights and bridal obligations (a privilege, but let’s be real). still, i choose mental health. i’m at this super chill cafè with my books, papers, journal, bills – all sprawled out – slightly panicked but oddly refreshed because i’m listening to some good good music, reflecting on a good good Father.

lately, i really feel 28. it feels good. i know i’m not in control of anything. i’m not aimless, but i’m also unsure where i’m going to end up. i’m not comfortable, but that’s the best part. if God’s trust was a pool, i refused to go in. thanks for pushing me in. thanks for the time You’re giving me to learn how to swim. I took some hefty gulps of water, but i know You’ll never let me drown.

head first this time.

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On journaling and silence

I started journaling today. The traditional pen to paper kind of journaling where there are no spellchecks or backspaces. Between the paper and my tears were words that I’d kept inside of me, which had begun to tangle and overflow.

“God, do you see me?”

I don’t know how others do it, but I talk to God throughout the mundane activities of the day. As I get ready in the morning, while I walk through the city, while I eat, daydream, study, etc. He’s on my mind constantly. I thought we had a good thing going, but today I realized something is very wrong.

I drown His voice with worship music.

I surround myself with Jesus-loving sisters who provide companionship and curb loneliness.

I rely on articles and third-party interpretations of the Bible from faceless Christians and pastors to replenish my lack in theology.

And then worse— when it’s all too much and I don’t want to deal with it anymore, I shut off the music. I ignore my friends. I don’t seek. And then it gets really dark. Suddenly, chaos.

And this is what I have to show as my relationship with Christ. I barely even pray before meals anymore. How can I claim to know Him?

So I started writing out my prayers. Tears of sorrow flowed freely and I felt hopeless and lost and ugly; and then, peace. I rarely sit silently in His presence to hear what He actually has to say. I think too much and much too fast, so hopefully the resistance of the pen to paper will serve as some resolve.

In current news, I failed my licensing exam. I lost the job offer from my #1 choice hospital in Chicago. With no financial security, I’ve been working odd jobs by babysitting and temporarily working as a brand ambassador at Costco. More on that one day. I’m upset and scared, and I think I’ve been here before, but it’s different. I always want to know why, but I cannot question His ways.

He has far greater things to tell me than my incessant grumbling.

 

in the silence of the heart You speak
it is there that I will know You and You will know me
You satisfy me ’til I am quiet and confident
in the work of the Spirit I cannot see

Well Said

“There they were, in his living room in New Haven, awash in soft jazz and daylight, and she looked at him, her good bewildered man, and felt the day take on a sad, epic quality. They had lived together for three years, three years free of crease, like a smoothly ironed sheet… and now here she was telling him it was over. ‘Why?’ he asked. He taught ideas of nuance and complexity in his classes and yet was asking her for a single reason, the cause. But she had not had a bold epiphany and there was no cause; it was simply that layer after layer of discontentment had settled in her, and formed a mass that now propelled her.

She did not tell him this, because it would hurt him to know she had felt that way for a while, that her relationship with him was like being content in a house but always sitting by the window and looking out.”

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngoszi Adichie

pizza

One year and a day ago, Domino’s held a promotion in celebration of their 100th store opening. Whole medium-sized pizzas were being sold at a whopping dollar and the maximum amount you could buy was five. If an average pizza has 12 slices, that’s 60 slices worth of assurance that my poor graduate student self will not starve to death. For just $5. My original plan was to get only two because c’mon guys, I’m not savage. I called another friend whom I thought would benefit and offered to get him one too. I patted myself on the back — how generous was I, how forward-thinking. I’m saving so much money. Being a grown-up? Got this.

What actually happened will go down as one of the stupidest succession of decisions I’ve made in my young adult life:

Basically, I waited in line for three hours and came away with nothing. Seriously, not even a garlic roll. It wasn’t a fraudulent campaign, they just ran out of dough and then didn’t care to compensate us for our time wasted and shattered hopes of almost-free pizza. They had even given us stickers to guarantee it. Liars. What’s worse is that by the first hour, I was sure this was not worth it and that I should just go home (my apartment was like two blocks away). The temperatures had dropped that day, and I had worn only a light jacket and a weak scarf. I came alone, so I couldn’t leave to grab anything warmer and risk losing my place. Stubborn as a mule (I googled that idiom), I stayed. By the second hour, I wanted to cry. I hated my tenacity. But I had already spent two hours of my life in this God-forsaken line and I was going to get my damn pizza. At hour three, news of dough shortage came, and then they were out.

They said a truck full of fresh dough was coming.

They said it would only be a little longer.

Liars, all of them. Eventually, the cops came and made everyone leave because it was some sort of hazard. I walked home with my head down in defeat and called my then-boyfriend. I think I tried to give him a light-hearted recap of what had just happened, but I ended up in a heap of tears. I felt so small and my pride was shattered. I wasted my entire afternoon. And for what? Pizza? I spiraled, per usual.  He tried really hard not to laugh (but he did). I vowed to never eat Domino’s pizza again, especially because it was after this fiasco that the more-unrelated-really-sad-life-stuff began to happen in the following weeks. It all started with this stupid day.

You know what I did get out of it though? A cold. Yep, I win.

I’m writing this post to put it behind me once and for all. I can laugh about it now, but it still makes me cringe a little.

a New Chapter

Surprise surprise, I started another blog.

Another year and milestone wiser, I decided to start fresh (yet again) in hopes of actually being diligent in writing out my thoughts and reflections instead of trying to salvage what was left of my blogspot. It seems that with each passing life stage, with all its excitement and joy, pain and angst, there is a blogging site to receive these stories – first Xanga, then Blogspot, and now WordPress.

I graduated from my Master’s program in Occupational Therapy a little over a month ago. In a few weeks, it will be a year since my three-and-half year relationship ended, amicably and tragically. In roughly two weeks, I will sit for a national board exam to obtain my license as a professional in the healthcare field. Soon after, I will begin my first day at my first big-girl job in a hospital filled with sick people. In about three months, I will turn 28.

I’m hopeful because I can’t wait to fill these internet pages with all that I am and with all that I have. A friend once told me, “you’re bringing me into your mind, and I don’t want to be there.” I laughed so hard because it was so honest and true. But in this space I get to be raw and real, funny or not funny. And you don’t have to be here, or you can be. It’s your choice. Life is all about choices. Sarah Miri and Pastor Peter (along with many others) told me this is a new chapter in my life. It sits uncomfortably with me because it’s such a cliché statement, but I can’t deny it’s truth. Pastor Peter told me that because we’re so quick to forget how God has worked in our lives, we need to set up altars. So that’s what that meant. So this blog will serve as an altar in a way, so that I can record the way God has so faithfully worked in my life from the moment I was born to this very hour. It’s the only way I can keep going.