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.

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. 

Problems

I never really tell anyone about how many hours I have to spend for work, for clubs, for studying, for any other stuffs that are going on in my life, because I know that if my life is hard, theirs are probably harder. I never complain about how much homework I get every day, how stressed out I was before deadlines, or how sad I am when I have to use the time instead of calling my parents or closest friends, I have to do other things first. I respect others, because yes they have their problems that are totally different than mine. 

I still don’t really complain it with anyone. But still, there is a mix of feelings when others teasing me about how stupid or how chill I am whenever I meed them.

“Now I have more respect for you when I know you work that many hours and take that many credits. I thought you have an easy life.” 

That’s the very first thing ever that makes me doubt about myself. What have I done that made others feel disrespectful about me? Especially when I try to do my homework as fast and as effective as I could just to hang out with them and to tell them I would be there. Why that little care and positive attitude turned out to be a way for them to think that I didn’t need to study, or to work hard, or there is no reason for me to not do something. 

Why people just keep forgetting to put on others’ shoes and be great friends.