Dear You,

January 22, 2018

2016_06_04_glacier_point_sunrise_over_halfdome_web

Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
The words of my mouth reflect the refuse in my heart. The nettles of my tongue come from the hurt I never brought to you, the hurt that has devolved into a rotting, fetid mess under my care. I have eagerly killed in my heart. As I alternate between justifying myself and hating myself, I’ve learned how to hide and construct barriers. Because sometimes being alone isn’t about protecting myself but about protecting others. But you know me and yet you have not turned away…you are familiar with all my ways. 

You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand on me.
You bid me rest and quiet my soul. There is no longer anything to fear for I am safe with you. Breathe. There will be things I won’t understand so I must learn to trust the peace you bring; some knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty to attain. 

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
My soul has grown numb, God. I spent too much of my time with people I didn’t care for and brushed aside the ones I do. I spent too much of my heart pursuing love and affirmation, yet forgot that you relentlessly pursue me. I have made my bed in the depths, begun to settle with my sin and my dirtiness, but you are there…your right hand holds me fast. I’ve been running from you. I’ve been hiding from you, out of shame, out of anger, out of rebellion, out of distrust and hurt, but my darkness is not dark to you; the night shines like the day, for darkness is as light to you. How can this be? 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
You knew who I’d be. The ugliness of my sin does not surprise you, the shape and state of my heart do not repel you. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. You saw me and still decided to give me life, to write a story for me.

Dear You,
I’ve been struggling. I have become dissatisfied, you see, with the way I’ve been living. More specifically, I am dissatisfied with my relationships. I’ve gotten so used to flaccid conversations and topics; somehow the insincerity of it all didn’t breach my subconscious. But now I see it clear as day: people don’t care past their own interests, even if that interest is one of self-preservation in a socially awkward moment. So they’ll ask me how my car is doing but not care to hear how scared I was when I lost control. They’ll ask about my day or my week out of formality, but not because they genuinely had even the slightest interest in listening to how a new immunotherapy drug works. Since I’m pointing fingers, I must consider if I have just become guilty of hypocrisy.  I realize it would be impossible for that to be untrue. I know I’ve had my fair share of doing things out of obligation or societal norms.
But as I was stranded on the side of the highway with a dying phone and a mounting sense of panic and fear, I came to realize that only one of my many relationships had any real substance –only one person called and checked up on me throughout the night. I do not want to discredit my parents and their significant roles in that time of crisis, but what I’m trying to say, God, is that I’m extremely disappointed and I’m very tired. I’m tired of collecting pretty things that turn out to be empty. I’m tired of wanting people who don’t want me, and I’m tired of people treading on my heart when I offer it.
Why couldn’t I just be satisfied with you?

God, it is hard to love your people. God, I do not have the capacity to keep this up on my own. Help me to surrender this all to you. All for you. Let this psalm be ever on my heart…because I am tired of running and hiding from a God who will find me every time.

M

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Familiar stranger

October 14, 2015

“Splitting moonlight” Photographed by Manuela Iodice for REVS

Dear You,

Part of the exhilaration of meeting new people comes from brushing against the edges of their galaxies. For a moment you’re thrown into a spiral, and you’re disoriented because this is new. Then you collect yourself and begin a more methodical approach towards the vast unknown. You’ll only encroach as far as they let you, but it’s expected because, after all, this is a fair exchange. And this is how friendships are made–a path is forged between your two worlds, and the more you traverse it the more connecting highways there will be. You’ve both become Heimdalls. #goals

But every so often I’ll come across a person I can’t place; I can’t read them. These rare cases are usually ignored as I bumble along my merry way, but it seems, for the first time in a long time, I don’t have a compelling reason not to stop and linger a while longer. I hope not to tarry too long, but my curiousity is piqued so who knows how long this will take to shake off. It’s already been 11 long days. I’ve been here before, you see, and I can’t wait to be rid of it every time. And for all this cryptic language, I still can’t relate the burden of my knotted feelings to anyone; this is the best I can do. Even I hardly understand this mess of words.

I’ve accepted that there might not be a name for it. It’s an in-between emotion, which is quite fitting given my current in-between, transition state. I’m learning to become okay with it, to know that it might not be a problem that has a solution. But it’s still a thorn in my side, an itch I can’t touch, and a scab I can’t pick.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: Make your move, friend. I’m waiting.

Sincerely,

M

Dear You,

October 14, 2013

I’m going to be honest, so please, let me be, even if it is currently 2:31 AM. I find no better time than now, so here you are:

People don’t keep in touch like this unless they intend to meet again, and sir, the sunshine state is a ways away from here. I believe I will be visiting sometime, though, but you actually don’t know that because it has nothing to do with you (and frankly I don’t see you caring one way or another). Keep running and ask for more from the Lord. He wants to bestow more wisdom and anoint you with gifts from His Spirit. Know that you are covered in prayer. Be the light you keep encouraging me to be. You do not need to know if or how I pray for you but you do need to know that I am very well aware of the pressures of society and the Korean community placed on you simply because of your age. Be ever vigilant with your heart so that it does not wander and I will continue to be your digital friend. I just want you to know that you are the one holding the reins.

Adieu,

M

Dear God,

September 22, 2013

Sometimes I wonder where my otter is, but then I remember he’s got his own journey with You. I would ask You to please take care of him but I know that You have been doing that long before I even conceived the thought of that otter.

You are just way good.

xoxo

me

Dear You,

June 6, 2012

You once told me that God gives us some friends only for seasons for a reason.

That was how you concluded our friendship.

But to me you were still my best friend. Even through the bitter days and the anger, to me, you were still my closest friend because we grew spiritually together. Lately I’ve been having flashbacks of our nasty fights, of how one little misunderstanding tore us apart, and how I should have picked up your calls instead of having my mom lie to you that I wasn’t home when you knew I was right there. I rationalized that because you were still immature and still struggling with yourself we’d keep resetting to the original misunderstanding. This I regret.

I know your darkest corners and you know mine, and yet for all that intimacy we’ve just grown apart. Life does that, I guess; it takes you where you set your eyes and sometimes Satan gets in the way of something great and wins. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I miss everything, but I’m gonna let it all go now. I’m happy for you and I hope she makes you happy, buddy. I’m not jealous–I just always thought I could still be your closest confidant if I just reached out to you. I know for you it was confusing, but for me despite all the raging hormones, back then you were still my brother. I guess God wants us to work in different places and different paces, to bless and be blessed in different ways.

Grow, my friend. Shine and live.

I hope that if we should meet again it would be over froyo and talk of your latest endeavors, Blacksmith.

Sincerely,

IWWCLTA

Thailand Team 2011

March 1, 2012

Hey guys.

I just found our team picture, the one we took before we headed for the airport.

As in any picture we’re all smiling and for some reason it warms my heart like no other photograph can.

I wish there were more eloquent words that would do justice to what I’m feeling but it seems all I can manage is “I miss you.” I hope you’re all still smiling like this, still brilliant in your own ways.

I love you more than you could ever know.

Sin cere,

Dory

Danke

November 25, 2011

Jehovah Jireh, God the Provider.

Thank you for everything I can think of and even the things I am not aware of.

It’s interesting how my first alcoholic drink did not happen on campus at a wild party but at my cousins’ house, surrounded by the very people you would avoid telling about the misdeed. My mom excused the indiscretion, though, because how was I supposed to know there was tequila in the fruity drink my aunt gave me? But my daring-do aside, it was interesting to watch my family come together, happily, for a dinner. My aunts and mom lost a brother recently, my cousin broke up with her boyfriend of 4 years, my other cousin didn’t get his dream job because of a sudden turn of unfortunate events, and me with my doubts and struggles. Despite all that you wouldn’t have known there was something amiss.

It’s good to be home, but better than that, it’s great to be with family. Thanks for this life, no matter how hard it gets; I’m sorry if I don’t enjoy it enough, Dad.

Dear God,

November 21, 2011

I’m going to be completely honest with you, something I haven’t tried in a long while. It seems like common sense; one cannot hide anything from You so why bother? But I am a foolish human and You are God in heaven.

I could not sing Your praises today. I could only follow the lyrics with my eyes because the words “You will never leave us” seemed a lie should they pass my lips. I could not pray to You today. The pastor’s prayer for renewal felt like a stab in my chest; how many times have You been silent when I called?

So then what keeps me tethered to Your side? It’s the promise that, simply, You know what You’re doing and You’ve got it all planned out. But that doesn’t do much for me right now when I am afraid like I’ve never been afraid before. Death? You conquered it, but not for the ones who did not believe in Your name. The Servants Retreat pastor told me that fear is felt when one stops thinking, but right now I have stopped trusting. Who will be the next person to stop breathing?

“I don’t want to talk about You like You’re not in the room,” go the lyrics. I sang that… But I am so lost right now. “My faith is paper thin” and I need you “more than the next heartbeat.”