I try my best to put myself together, only to realize He has a better, and perhaps bigger, plan.

Stefa talked about how we all are trying to put ourselves together on the day when I was falling apart. I couldn’t figure out who I am and what I want to do. I couldn’t understand why I am loved and whether I deserve love.

That day, I told Christ that I know what is going on in my head. I understand myself so well that only me know how flawed I am. Like, I am really, really, truly a mess. I wouldn’t deserve any love. I don’t know if that’s obvious enough to others, but if it’s not, then the bottom line is that I have successfully put on that mask to become someone better, not that I am better than who I think I am.

As a firstborn, even though I’m 8 years older than my sibling, there are always things that we both want but have to share. And so as I age, I learn to say, “Here, just take it if you want it,” more to my little sister. I learn to receive less but still feel full. Seeing her getting the things she always long for already brings me good.

When Christ asked me if I wanted the gift of God, I hesitated. Because I know I am flawed and I do not, not at all, deserve any gift of any kinds of anybody. The first thought came to my mind was… “I would say I want to save God’s good gifts for other people. I would volunteer to be the last in line, because I believe many others need them more than I do.” (That was stupid of me, I admit) It’s the feeling of “in a relationship, if love is there, you need no materials to be closer to each other”. It’s also the feeling of “I want to share” just like when I want to give my sister everything. I want to share because I might not spend the gift the way it is supposed to be used, and I would just ruin it. The gift of God, to me, needed being in good hands. Not mine, obviously. I want to share because I’m afraid of being responsible. I wouldn’t ruin anything if I never hold them in my hands.

But I guess we are just all like that. Everybody in the room is trying to work things out. We all have those problems we thought we could never overcome. And then we did. And then we have other problems to think about. None of us deserve anything. This is not my opinion. It’s a fact. Every person in line does not deserve anything. Yet there is still love poured out on us, and the presents are more than just enough. The question is not “Do you want to receive God’s present”, but it is “Do you want MORE?” Because there is more.

It took me a long time to realize the problem is not that God doesn’t have enough to give His children, but rather I don’t trust Him enough to let Him be God, let Him be my Father. I need to just ask. But that part I hesitate. I need to just ask my parents for more. But I hesitate.

I have been reading this blog of this guy, who I believe is not a total stranger because I have seen him many times, but still I don’t know much about him. By seeing him from afar, I come to admire him. Things he had done are things I have dreamed to do. Travel. Share the Gospels. Love. Inspire others.

But his blog is a whole different story. I couldn’t read every single post because I was afraid if I keep reading, more of him will reveal, and more of him will tell me that yes, he is just a person trying to figure things out. He has those worries. He at times also falls apart. Just like me. Just like every single person in the room. Not my room, but a bigger one. The one with 450 people, for example. His words were and are sincere. And I’m afraid if I keep reading, I would step too deep in his privacy, in his life, in his mind. I backed up. Respect. Yet I have seen enough.

I still admire him, though, after all those brokenness, because I see him as a different yet better version of me. Perhaps it’s because he’s 5 years older than me. When I take time to think more about him and about what he writes, I see me with the same concerns, and he figured them all out, and he wrote about them, as a way to keep track, just like me, I guess, but also for me as a way to save others. He somehow saves me. Like a guideline.

Again, I’m just a person seeing him from very, very far away, so I cannot say much about who he is or what he longs for. But words are sincere, as I have always believed.

He struggled with decisions. He concerned about how to fundraise enough money for his mission trips. He talked and wrote about his doubts, but also his hopes. And I understand. How that feels. Remember those days when I woke up crying and praying and asking God to provide. Remember those days when fundraising was a huge stress because I have to break too much of my boundaries, have to step too further out of my comfort zone. I understand what he talked about. I get it. And yet he seemed to find the right way to deal with everything. Not exactly everything. But most things.

I deserve no love. That is true. Hands down.

I am flawed.

I am just a person with fear and concerns and doubts, not only in myself but many times in our Creator.

And yet He loves me enough to die for me.

He loves me enough to give up His Son for my sins and for human sins.

And I doubt Him, how lame is that.

He was right. That blogger. That believer. Whoever he is. He is right.

We are all broken. I am now feeling broken, and lonely, and tired, and hopeless. I am tired of waking up because there would just be this silence, this emptiness in a messy room. I am tired of trying to choose between options, while at the back of my mind there is always this feeling of “There is no way I’m gonna choose the right things. I’m too stupid for that.” I am tired of giving too much of myself, of fighting the battle of becoming better than I was yesterday.

Being able to live is a blessing. And I’m afraid that’s too big of a gift that I don’t want to ruin, but trying not to ruin it is another hard thing.

But I guess I need to believe He will provide me more than I need. He will provide me as long as I trust in Him. I just need to let Him be God. Amen.

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Hmm and hey if you the blogger I mentioned ever come across this, I want to thank you because to me you and your life are a piece of art. I wouldn’t want to watch your life on mute, because the words you speak are inspiring, but even though it is mute, it is still great.

And if you feel offensive because I intrude your privacy, I don’t know. I believe I intruded it for good, so I beg for forgiveness then. That’s all I can do. Thank you.

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.

write and recharge my battery

I have been…

Running more lately.

Reading more lately.

Working out more lately.

I am becoming better in many things – finishing homework before bedtime, being on time for work and classes, being open to advice from others, and changing those few bad habits bit by bit every day.

But the weather has not been nice to me. It takes all my energy, leaving me with this emotion mess. But I assume there are still ways to get out of it without moving to somewhere warmer.

Be optimistic.

That sounds counterintuitive, I know! But isn’t that all we need to be happy? It’s truly hard for an introvert like me to work in groups and talk with people at work and class all day long. I always imagine that every second when I open my mouth to speak, my energy slips out of my body.

That does not mean I will lock myself up forever to preserve my energy. I think after a while, a long while of encountering people for different reasons, I have learned to expand my limitation. I still need time to think through things before sharing them with teammates, but I also learned to initiate conversations in groups. Those “turn to your neighbors and discuss this problem” no longer seems to be annoying, but rather a way for me to use my energy sufficiently to learn from friends, I suppose.

Today, I read this great, great paper of a guy in his English Composition class. What I loved about it was how his sentences were fragmented, but they also connected so well. The structure was not something teachers teach at school, but it’s how he communicate with English, with the world. And that fascinated me.

Today, I realized that there is always this feeling in me that bothers me so much. That I am different stops me from telling those who care for me my thoughts. I always assume people will judge me for who I am and for what I do.

I never get to test if that is true. I might be able to find joy in those moments of sharing, but may I have a little bit more time? More time for me to process my thoughts, to be sure of what I think, to keep those precious thinkings for myself.

Because they’re all I have.

Those words you said, they hurt me. I would love to walk instead of taking the Uber, because I think it’s a great way to be closer with nature and with my mind. Yes, you might say I make way more money than you and I am stingy, but forty-five minutes walking under that cozy weather energizes me. I know there were other ways to do things, but I wanted to use that walking-running time to talk more with my housemate. Perspectives are dangerous and are something you cannot judge. So I beg you, for once, just listen to me, and that’s it.

Arts 🎭

This is Joy. She was mad because she didn’t understand all these artsy stuffs.

This is when I told her to smile so that this would be a great photo. And greater it is.

Curvy. Los Angeles. The City of Angels.

We have been here for five days. To me, this is my very first trip that I have gone with friends at my age, that we all have to be in charge of our own stuffs, and that I am not in my hometown.

I was and am excited. I am not sure if I want to go home, but I am also not sure if I want to stay.

A city. I was born in a big city. I know it’s big because everybody look up to it, as a goal, an achievement, something that they have to reach for, to try their best for. I was born and lived in that city for 16 years. I have met and heard about all good and bad things, and I love it.

The city. I left it two years ago for a smaller town, where once I miss the bus, I will have to wait for an hour and a half until the next one comes. It is a Dutch town, 75 years old, and it is safe to walk around at night, because there will be no one walking around except me.

My mom usually tells me to find a bigger city, because that’s where I have always belonged to. A bigger city gives me chances to learn about life, to see more people, so that I will be more “active”. But after two years living in that Dutch town, I have fallen in love with this peacefulness. No need to talk to people. They are all nice because they are not too busy with their own concerns. Little town where people know each other.

I went to LA, because I wanted to travel. I have always been aware that I need to go places. I want to make a decision about which school to go to, and the best way for that is to understand if an urbanized area is a good fit for me.

To my surprise, sure it is. I love LA because of what it has to offer. I love the metro lines, the bus, and the underground subway. I feels to me that I was born in a city, and therefore my heart is drawn back to cities the moment I am there, even though I left the original one.

Los Angeles is also not solely just a combination of Asians and Americans like Bellingham – the place where I am currently living in Washington. I don’t just hear Chinese, Japanese, or Vietnamese, but in LA I hear French, Italian, and especially Spanish. The mix is greatly varied.

Los Angeles was great to me, as though I found a part of me. However, traveling with other girls who are as the same age as me seems to be hard. They were all Indonesians, and therefore the only way that I can talk to them is using English, and that’s in cases when they want to speak English to me. Sometimes I do feel as though I am left out. There was even a time I cried to myself because they didn’t let me know what was happening.

Languages is a big difference between us, but as human beings we are all the same. There were small conflicts during the trip, and I, as a non-Indonesian and a gossip-hater girl, was put in the middle of a cold war. Two eighteen-year-old girls and two seventeen-year-olds (I’m 17). Joy, the girl I mentioned in the beginning, was complained about how she behaved during the trip, while I was also complained to about the other two girls.

When I got a chance to actually talk to all of them (in this case, I have nothing to do with their war, but I am put in the middle. I guess I am the bridge then, which I’d love to do.), I got to understand that they have reasonable points of view, and the only thing is that they are lack of communication.

See the photo above? The two sides of that photo have the same meaning, but from two perspectives we get two outcomes. This is also what I have learned from this trip. I think as long as they actually share what they think, they will feel better. But they never did.

I am aint the odd or even. For the most part of my life, I hang out with boys and with myself enough to understand why Joy never has best friends that are girls. I aint the odd or even. I can be both. But I’d prefer to be the bridge between Joy and the other two, rather than let them separate from each other. After all, we are one.

Women, ladies, or girls, or whatever you call them, have this powerful strength that can break others’ hearts. I don’t know who is right or wrong, but I do know that the lack of communication caused enough damage on human bondings to actually get people far from one another.

I also realize my power, that I am understanding and know what to do to make others feel better. But I don’t know what to do to make others also perceive the situations from different perspectives, so that we all can have the same voice and our bonding will be tighter.

Sometimes I think that’s my fault. The bridge is broken.

For the night, it is a mess now. I am disappointed because the other two girls are older than me, but they leave me this mess without actually telling me what to do. I know how it feels to be left behind. Because that what they have done to me. I know how it feels to worry about something but having to suffer it on my own. Because I went through that situation. But how? How am I supposed to tell them what they should do when they are older than me. This is a mess.

And I am hopeless seeing my friends turned their backs from each other.

Joy, I know how you feel, I will be with you.

Ivy and Tasha, you two are great, but I wish not just great to me, but also to Joy.

At a place 2-hour flight from home, we are home to each other. Make it safe and warm. We have been through enough.

Focus on your breath only

That was my assignment today.

You are to focus on your breath only. For five minutes. Again, doing only that, and not falling asleep.

So I did. In the midst of school and work, this seems to me like a waste of time. Sitting there and just breathing?! But because it was a part of my homework, so I did it anyway, and after all I realize how many things I have missed just because I focus on “checking off my to-do list” rather than “living the moment”. I closed my eyes for five minutes:

  • Hmm… I still have too many assignments due today.
  • Hmm… I want to have more time to read.
  • I will workout everyday this week. My body is exhausted.
  • I want to improve my writing and spend more time on coding.
  • Why 5 minutes seem so longggg???

My mind wandered everywhere, being buried because of my stresses. However, at the same time I also realized:

  • I can do everything in 5 minutes, but I can also do nothing.

So why don’t just sit back and relax. Sit back and have a look at what I have done, rather than being panic about what I have not done YET. Focus on this moment only.

Focus on how many people I have talked to this week that I have never talked to before. Isn’t it true that only when I set my businesses aside, I have time to share with others about my days? Focus on how many places I have always wanted to go to? Isn’t it true that only when I stop thinking about my school, work, and extracurricular activities that I have time to go? So what is the purpose of worrying, of not living this moment?

The sun is up there, even though it is cold, but it is a great day. A great day because I woke up early to see sunrise, because I went to the gym and ran half an hour, because I called my parents after a long busy week, and because I focus on my breath instead of following my crazy mind.

It is this moment that I should praise the Lord for giving me another breath-in second, for letting me living this life.