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.

One facet of Christmas – suffering

Christmas – a good time to talk about suffering.
I personally think this holiday is for family, and it always brings me joy, with presents, and laughter. But it’s not always like that for everyone.
It’s the time for each of us to stop and think, to put ourselves in others’ shoes. There are many facets of Christmas that many people forget, including suffering.

When Jesus was born, there were three gifts brought to him by the Wise Men. I gotta say first, everybody should actually watch movies about Jesus was born in the manger, because they are awesome, and because Jesus being born is exactly the spirit of Christmas.

There were three gifts brought to Jesus by the Wise Men: Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh. Each of these has its own meaning. Gold states clearly that Jesus was a King, even at that time he was two years old. He is the King of all King, and is the King forever. The Wise Men gave him Gold, as saying that they obey this King, that Jesus would bring freedom and joy to his Kingdom, and that Jesus would rule his nation, and he was the God that the Jewish has always been waiting for. Secondly, frankincense is extremely valuable tree sap that is used only for special occasions. In church, people will pour frankincense on the priests to indicate that they are the connection between God and all his people. This shows that Jesus was a perfect priest, that he would soon guide the Israel so that they would be closer to God.

But the very special gift that made me stunned when knowing the real meaning, was Myrrh. Myrrh is a special spice that is put on dead bodies because it preserves the bodies and covered up with smell. Who would give such a thing on someone’s birthday? But when think about this, it will make a lot more sense when knowing that Jesus will sacrifice for his people, that he will die on the cross for all of us, and this is his mission coming to this world. He freed us from sins, and he guided us to know God the Father, for seeing Jesus himself means seeing the Almighty Father.

On his very early birthdays, the one thing was clear was that he will soon die. He will soon suffer. For people. So that we all will celebrate our reunion day with God. However, it seems that Christmas is not that fun for many people, that many of them are suffering from the loss of their loved one, the absence of family, or the distance between their family member.

It’s this time of the year that we all should also pray for those who do not rejoice.

For my family, we usually go to midnight church together and then throw a big party to celebrate Jesus’s birthday. Chicken soup and cookies. I remember one Christmas Eve received fortune cookies from church, and I gave them to a homeless person sitting in front of our church that night. Those fortune cookies I never got to eat every day because they were expensive, but I gave them anyway because I knew they would be special to someone else. That was me about five years ago. My family also goes watch a play hosted by Sunday’s school’s kids, that they will become Mary, Joseph, Jesus, angels, sheep, and many other characters that I love in the Bible. I have been an angel once. It was fun, but it was frustrated for an introvert like me! I was shy because my parents were looking at me, which was funny because they were supposed to be there to support me haha. What else do we usually do? My Dad and I will sometimes choose to go to different churches to see how they organize their Christmas Eve masses, and most of them celebrate it in a truly special way! If any of my friends asks me to hang out with them on the 24th or 25th of December, I will clearly say that I am not available, because I have a great family to be with.

But this year, do I, though? This evening, my mom texted me Merry Christmas while I was thinking real hard about where to go for Christmas Eve mass. I don’t know where, because no matter what, I will know no one there. I know this birthday is for Jesus, so I need to only care about me and him only, but I still concern whom to go with, and definitely no one. Fortunately, I asked my roommate and she said yes.

I wonder how much my parents are missing me. I bet a lot. I love the feeling of Christmas in a hot and humid atmosphere, that I didn’t get to wear such a cozy sweater. But does it matter, though, because being beautiful in a dress is also pretty cool!

I would say that I do not suffer much this Christmas, as the meaning of suffering to me seems to be so much bigger than receiving a text from Mom. instead of a hug.

People are loosing their family. People are loosing their hopes. They are loosing their faith as well. I want to pray that for this season, those who reunion with their big God’s family will also be praying for those who do not, for those who find no worthy in God to start believing again, since this is the family they should turn back to, since this is the family always welcome them.

I have had not a great birthday party today, but I am still joyful, because I know there will be priceless gifts for me, as well as for others.

Midst

In the midst of everything. 

What do I do? 

That’s the question when there are just too many things to finish and I don’t even know where to start. Should I do my Computer Lab assignment, or should I work on my research paper, and how about writing something for my personal blog. 

I am just lost. I know I need to start somewhere. But where? That scared me. I know how it feels when there is nothing to do. I’m even afraid of boredom, of having free time. There was a time when I kept crying every single day because freedom made me think about negative situations. Now, when I imagine what would it be like when I submitted all of my university applications and homework, and it would take a long time for me figure out what to do. I would be lost. 

In the midst of everything, even though it is stressful – sometimes I cry not because I am sad or angry or disappointed, but just because I don’t know how I am supposed to deal with all my problems. But I love it.

I got annoyed sometimes when I have too many assignments to do, but still stuck at the Writing Center, at work, especially when there is nobody wanting help from us. I always think about how much time I have wasted when just sitting there doing nothing. However, day by day, I learned more and more from the people who go there. It is funny when every time I finish a session with a student, I ask myself how to do mine. I could do others, but not mine! But I love that feeling because I don’t just learn how to write in the Writing Center, but learning how to adjust myself in different situations. It freaks me out sometimes when I have to work with Americans, especially those who seem to know about the subjects more than me. I would always feel like I am no better than them, how do I help? 

The one moment that I love about today is when I was working with this lady on her Tech assignment. I don’t know why she went to the Writing Center to ask for help on Tech homework, but I could help her, and that makes me feel more confident about my own future path! Awesome things happen every day!

But after a while, everything is fine. And I find joy in every moment I was there. Despite the pile of homework and university applications. I found joy in the air of the Writing Center, and in words.