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.

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.

Inferno

Extremely Intense. 

She is a nice girl – a nice co-worker. She was the very first person who would say “Hi” to me when I showed up at work every day. And she asked me how would it be like when living away from home. She is from Venezuela. 

“There is no food there. If you go to the groceries store, there would be nothing. People had to buy food at black market like they were doing something wrong. My family left as refugee, and this way we could find a better life.” 

When reading essays of people who are from Mexican or those that are immigrants, it was hard to understand, as well as hard to not feeling empathy for them. Many people have always thought that except in the US, most other places on Earth are poor and wars going on there every day. But when I think about my own home country, I realized that I have never suffered. The gap between poor and me is the time gap, which also means I would never reach it. My parents were born in poor family. They work on the farm in the evening after going to schools. They tried their best to go to universities, because back then this was the only way to escape poverty. I and many other people in Vietnam was born in wealth. We didn’t have to think much about tomorrow, for there is nothing to worry about. I know there are still places where people are suffering, but it was just impossible for me to understand. 

The point is, at the place where people think was buried in war and poverty in Vietnam, I didn’t feel any hardness. It is just hard for me to imagine other parts of the world are truly in need. 

Here, I want to affirm her because how great she is when she embraces other people into her life and how she encourages her classmates and co-workers. 

I want to pray for Venezuela and many other places, including my own country, that we would find a better way to face these adversities, and that we wouldn’t have to leave our own countries and cultures to find better lives in a strange place. A place where many people look down on us… A place where our beauties are disrespected and devalued. 

I pray that people would sit down and listen to our stories, just like how I sat down to listen to hers. That way, we learn. We learn great things.