A work of art

Another day of snow. A good time to write, I guess.

I would start with this:

If someone watch a day of your life on mute, what message would it speak? Would it look like a work of art?

My answer is yes and no. I cannot actually imagine my life on mute or imagine myself watching it, so I cannot actually tell.

I said yes because a big part of my life doesn’t have any sound, so it doesn’t matter if it’s on mute or not, because it would just be the same. Those are times when I read and write. When I walk and run. When I stop in the middle of the street to take photos of things. My thoughts are processed inside my head, and more than half of them is hidden. So I guess there would be no changes at all if it’s on mute. I wonder if it’s a work of art, though. I said yes because those moments when I do things alone, I direct my thinking towards God, and that’s how we define the work of art here. I pray while walking. I talk to God while doing daily things. I read the Words of God and write to praise Him. I proudly say yes, I create art for Him.

But still, there is a “no” part of it. My friend said all sins are the same in the eyes of God. It doesn’t matter if you lie or you hurt someone, because they’re all the same. They are all bad. That’s all we need to know. And as humans, we are sinful. We never learn to love our enemies. We don’t always choose God over our wants. We are given free will by God, and we thank Him by using it for ourselves, pushing us away from Him.

When my life’s on mute, I would say there will be just so many moments when I destroy my own work of art. My facial expression when I’m angry. My steps when I did not want to go to church. My ‘hunger’ (I believe that’s the right word to say this) for money when I work more than I need to. Those little things. They pile up, and eventually when I don’t notice, they destroy my piece of art.

I realize that there are just always more and more things for me to improve on in my life, or to be more artistic. I can become a better version of myself yesterday, I can just keep wanting to be better, because there would be no day that I’ll perfect. Walking step by step with Jesus is hard, but I guess the reward is worthy. Every community needs artists who are willing to live their lives towards God.

I don’t fully understand what the work of at actually is about. I would say that it’s when I love not only the person who loves me, but also my enemies. I would say that it’s when I try my best for the kingdom, not for myself. I don’t actually know.

Or maybe we don’t ever need to actually understand. The goal is to be more like God, not to be God.

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I would end with, “I don’t know”.

Green garden

The bus engine stopped in the middle of the street, and we all were told to wait for about thirty minutes before the “rescuing” bus come picking us up. I live half an hour away from the main bus station.

I did not say anything. I did not complain, even though I was worried that I might miss a apart of my Geology lecture. Last time I checked, I left the class 5 minutes early, and I failed to answer a question on the quiz.

Chaos. People tried to talk, as though they could fix the problem by words. People spoke so loud that I could hardly hear myself. But in that moment, I was surprised seeing how peaceful I was. That was strange of me. I would not be calm when these things happen. I would try to blame someone for making me late for class. I would tell those people to be quiet. Now I imagine all sorts of things that I could do. But I had remained in peace.

It is o.k. for the bus to stop. It is o.k. to wait for thirty minutes. Everything is o.k. I just need to be patient. And patience brings me joy and peace.

Lifting my eyes off my laptop, I looked out of the bus’s window and witnessed how beautiful the sky was. It was a blessing for me to see how day time extends every day. I leave the house at seven, and while before I could see stars shining on that dark background, now I see that gorgeous pink sky. It is time for me to feel happier, and complaining about uncontrollable events like out-of-service buses does not help.

Many of my friends, when they pray for me, they say they imagine me being in a green garden or surrounded by trees. They even saw daikon, and this trigger my curiosity – why daikon?

Daikon always reminds me of a story I read many, many times when I was a kid. There was this family with seven members, and their lives depended on a farm. Dad was in charge for taking care of the farm and the whole family. One day, Dad came out to pick up daikon on the farm. However, he couldn’t make it move. He asked his oldest son, his other sons, and then his wife, his daughters to help. But nothing happened. At last, his rabbit, dog, and cats also helped pick up daikon. It shaked slightly, and eventually a huge, huge daikon appeared from the ground. They, the family, could have never predicted that it was this big, for its appearance above the ground depicted it as a weak plant.

When I think of this story, I think of how great power might be well hidden. There is something deeper, deeper, that not many people know about, and moreover not many people are persistent enough to try their best in revealing it.

Nature always brings up in me that feeling of admiring, of love and peace.

This is a photo my American teacher provided in class. Small plants like prairie plants seem to have no meaning, but, as it turns out, their roots are pleasant to the soil. When America experienced industrialization, these landscapes were underestimated – people got rid of it and made way for corn crops.

But they never know how this root system was the heart of the ground.

I always think the picture above is meaningful to my life, as well as the story about daikon and the small green garden that my friend thought about when they prayed for me.

I always think of myself as someone who has nothing on the inside, and even though I know I should be humble, I believe that me on the inside makes the difference. At this point of my life, I want to interpret myself as bearing richness on the inside, and that I ought to trust myself – believing that I have that ability to pursue God’s plan for me.

I also want to interpret myself as that root system, connecting others together. The message is great.

While I am small.

I don’t know what I have in me. I don’t know what I am capable doing. I don’t know anything, and the unknown stops me from giving my best.

I am now not the green garden, but rather a leafless one, because it is winter. Countless times I thought a gray garden will have nothing to offer, but I suppose it is waiting for spring time to blossom. Life cycle. Leaves fall to the ground. But soon they will be lively.

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These thoughts, to me, are fragmented. I wanted to write something new for days now, but I could never finish one draft. Today, I decided to just go with it. It is o.k. if the words are falling apart from each other.

It’s just that… At least I have something. Flowers will blossom when spring comes along.

The Mansion

I asked for more hours of work, until I realized I couldn’t take no more. Things truly seem to be always easier said than done. When I was younger, I told myself so convincingly that I would only get paid for a job that I love, and I would keep on studying no matter the circumstances. Until the day I understand that was a hard promise to keep.

I worked 17 hours last week. I did not have enough time to hang out with friends or even to call my parents, because I was either at work or in classes. I thought I was so productive that I hoped I could do this every week from now on. Therefore, when I looked at my permanent work schedule for the rest of the quarter and saw my name appeared less with less shifts, I was disappointed. For a moment, I doubted my performance at work, thinking that I was not good enough that my hours should be cut to, leaving space for other better readers.

But I never knew that was a relief God gave me. As in the book of James,

To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.

Proverb 16: 1

We humans make mistakes. We try to do everything that we like, but we never even once in doubt if the things are proper. But God does know. I commit myself to him, being humble and patient. I was upset with working less, but I realized he has a plan.

Two days ago was the very first time I went to a Club Fair at my school, and I was fascinated about the diversity of clubs – from academic ones such as physics, programming, or business clubs, to cultural ones like Spanish, Vietnamese, or Japanese association groups. I never realized I have missed out to much that now I don’t know whether I have time to make it up – I will be leaving here this June. Therefore, working less seems to be a good sign, indicating that I will have more and more spare time to go to those interesting clubs.

For one extra hour of work, I obviously will get paid some extra bucks. But does it worth it though? I discussed this with my friend, and he said that spending his teenage years just to work and study, missing out everything that is meaningful, isn’t worth it. Life is more than that. It is more than black and white – it’s colorful with things we can do outside of classrooms and offices.

Black and white and more than that.

I have always thought I would work for the rest of my life, so it is now better for me to be wild, be crazy. For a long time until I actually get an on-campus job, that was what I have always been thinking about. And you can see how my belief has changed in reality. And I am trying to get out of that.

Perhaps on these teenage days, I should be trying my best, but not for money or for materials. It is the time for me to try my best in gaining experience, spreading love, and building my understanding. Every day, I remind myself to choose love, generosity, and knowledge, because I know, with these tools, I will be prosper, I will be wealthy, living in a mansion of love and care, for others and for myself.

Tilted.

(Other perspectives) Every day. Same thing. But not nothing. Every day. We grow. I grow. Towards the sun. 

Her head tilted, thinking about what to write. She has been doing the same thing over and over again for days, and there seems to be nothing new to share. Tilted. Is that all life offers? 

I have known about Jiro – a Japanese senior who has been making sushi for over 75 years – when I read a self-help book for the very first time. The author was discussing about how hard-working would bring people far, far away from where they initially were, just like Jiro owns the best Japanese sushi restaurant in the world by making sushi every day.

Every day. Same thing.

When I think about this now, I wonder what this patient and perseverance bring forth to our life. I mean, literally? It takes years and years for a person to be success in something, but they will not have any story to tell until that day.

Every day. Same thing. 

Over the summer, I play the piano every morning and evening. When my parents asked me what had I done all day, that’s what I would tell them: piano. I believe practice makes perfect, and I believe my skill only sharper as days pass. But how good I am actually? It is impossible for me to devote my whole life in one thing, when there are just so many more things that I want to explore.

Back then, I wanted to play the piano, but I also wanted to improve my English and Spanish skill, I also wanted to hang out with my sister to bond our relationship, I also wanted to swim and swim a lot because it was my most favorite way to get fit. It is just impossible to just do one thing the whole day. 

So then how can I be success in anything? 

My head tilted. I don’t want to tell no story. But I also don’t want to have no significant story at all. Doing many things helps me to grow in different fields, but lessens my ability to be in-depth in any specific area. I would try. I would try to make my “sushi” every day, but would also try to make “ramen”, “pho”, and many, many other types of food that eventually I would have a diverse variety. 

My head then wouldn’t be tilted. I would confidently and excitedly wrote down what I love doing and what I have done. 

Until then, I have to keep practicing and exploring. I have to be persistent in order to be good.