June 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
alright. ive come to this point. i must write. again. unfortunately, what i think about as my cruising and observing go on in the car, i cannot replicate in words. i wish i could. i wish all the thoughts that cross me — as fast as the lexus i drive crosses santa monica blvd, the setting sun of early summer behind me in full glory, well dressed black boys waiting for the metro, sky scrapping palm trees lining my way to the hazy smog crowned tips of downtown buildings — could be written down, captured, immortalized
this city of angels. i love it. ive forgotten. i love it. i cant bear the thought of leaving the bay. but every second i spend wasting gas, getting lost in the hills of silver lake, blasting red hot chili peppers and chemical brothers on the radio, i care less and less about everything else in the world. i can drive forever. and im not even missing anyone. i am free. i dont want to think about human relationships right now
the way buildings occupy such sentimental place in ones mind is a mystery. why do i find these beautiful? the tagged and graffitied walls. giant commercial posters of hiphop artists and movies. skater boys in vans and trucker hats. girls in their tights and fly kicks and huge hoops. their backpacks, skinny jeans, faded rock band tshirts. i miss. i dont understand what any of this means, whether im trying to embrace culture not my own, life not my own. where does my lovesick heart fit in here? i dont belong in that world. i wonder, the summer before college, is this what its really about? reincarnation ministry? do i still believe that? when i most feel alive? im almost twenty five, quarter of a century. shouldnt i have some answers by now?
i didnt plan on talking to you Jesus, but i want to know what you think, where im bringing up dead bodies, things that should remain in the past. what good is my pondering of the neighborhoods in la? what can possibly come out of me loving the drive around this city except green house gas emission and narcissistic writing?
Jesus. if youre to live here, will i meet you in the line for tacos at night? will i see you at a club in hollywood? what about bus stops? ive always thought public transit is such a spiritually open door. hipster cafes in downtown and smaller streets surrounding it? with the middle school and high school kids roaming the streets with hot cheetos and sidekicks? do you know that their parents work everywhere? busing my parents tables, sewing their shirts in factories, picking their fruits and veggies displayed at ralphs and krn markets? i pass them all day everyday on my way to church on my way to dinner on my way to beach. i can come home for a whole wk even though i have fucking zero money bc my parents can afford to chip in for my rent. and i can think about what its like to live in different cities around the world. im not limited by anything really
why do these things matter? why do i care? why have i learned to connect the dots here and be able to explain them? Jesus why? what do you think? do you care too? you have any opinions one way or another?
i love la God. i dont even know how im thinking this in my right mind. but i can see myself moving back. i can see myself doing ministry. i… its fucking ridiculous
Lord. yes you are Lord. you decide what to do with my life. you decide where i live, what i eat, whom i meet and befriend, how i act and work. i need to make this clear to myself. you are Lord and God, not i.
then Father. hear me out — that living and loving the city thing i thought about back in april last yr — im thinking about it again. i know there must be ppl like that in my vicinity. regen ppl think that way if not the ark. and i need to somehow bring the parts of my heart together. i need to be whole. i need so cal hatty to see the light of day up in the bay; the ethnic studies and Holy Spirit hatty in east bay needs to take some authority down here. because the streets of ktown and south central la extend all the way to oakland and richmond. i grew up here so i feel more connected here. this is my turf. but the foreignness of different skin colors and mother tongues wont be easy in either context. at least not right away. only when i plant my two feet and grow roots down down down — so when theres a shooting happening or relationships turning sour, i cant run away i wont cut out — will i be able to finally cross the line, from an outsider to one of us. reincarnation ministry. yeah im back to summer ’05 in watts
the open road. the freedom in driving wherever i want to go. the mexicali food music murals and street arts, and most importantly, the kids. i will keep my heart out. im going to make this happen Jesus
this isnt what i wanted to write. not what i thought was on my heart. but maybe this is what you needed to hear Jesus. maybe its what needed to come out of me. youth ministry. ive found it God ive found it. this is what i need to do. yeah this is what i need to do
“The journey into God should translate into the journey to the hovels of squatters, into the dungeons of death-row inmates, into hiding places for battered women, where the suffering of the human community is going on. Everyone who accepts Christ as Lord and Savior needs to be in solidarity with the poor because they are most often sinned against and Jesus has hidden himself among them. Solidarity with the poor is a cleansing of the heart, a receiving of gifts, a relieving of distress, a strengthening of hope. It is coming into my own, into my own way to God. And in the end, it is not the voice of the poor and the needy that you hear, it is the Lord’s.”
June 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
weee blogging in the dead of night! how ive missed thee!
its been a little over 24 hrs since i arrived in so cal, and already a bunch of intense conversations have happened. maybe im getting all of em out of my system during the first few days so i wont have to think about anything serious and be free silly hatty for the rest of my wk long stay. so cal tends to do that, make me free and silly that is. not that im not already free or silly enough as is
tonight my parents sat me down. asked me basically what the eff im doing with my life. no they didnt use the f word, actually they were quite nice about the whole thing. i mean if i had a daughter and i put her through college and shes spending more than half her time doing things that dont make any money or related to traditional career and struggling to pay her rent, i would want some answers — hell i would be smacking some sense into her
i was dreading it for a bit as i was trying to prepare myself mentally for the few days leading up to this. normally i wouldnt have cared as much — the word ‘normally’ here alluding that this conversation has happened once or twice before — but after the crazy ark leadership conference that forever changed my life, i wasnt sure what i could tell my parents. i wasnt sure what i thought anymore. about life. about everything, suddenly moving back to la seemed possible. maybe i can look for a job in new york, dc, milwaukee. why dont i just apply for full time assistant to some executive filing papers answering phone calls making copies? or better yet, do teach for america! yeah be a hardcore social justice person and go teach the poor urban kids and pour your heart out into impacting their lives change the world one student at a time! alright!
all of the above would be an acceptable answer to that previous question still sitting like the elephant in the room. what are you going to do about money? o you have a secure income from some company office. you can now pay off your student loan. why dont you focus on your career and go after it? o good youre moving to chicago to start a real job. how about that ethnic studies major of yours? why dont do something with that? o you do social work, right, something government something education something non profit blah blah. yes of course you graduated from cal, you would go try to save the world, yes very admirable very idealistic.
this is what any reasonable person would reason. they are my parents worries mingled in capitalism american dream translated into my liberal college educated english. trying to make sense of where the hrs of my early twenty go to. yes i am a part time waitress. yes i have a nebulous and informal part time leadership at my church. yes i struggle to turn in rent feed myself and pay off loans. and no im not NOT looking for a real job. no i dont consider myself a starving artist. no im not going to be a full-time missionary or a minister or any of that sort. so what the fuck am i doing with my life?
heres the thing. i honestly cant tell whether i have what it takes to be a full-time grown up. after about a yr of funemployment — half of it job hunting, the other half devoted to ark life — when i wake up in the morning, i still believe that im exactly where im supposed to be, doing exactly what im supposed to be doing. i cant plan very far ahead. its hard for me to think past one season. ive learned to let go a long time ago. all that i couldve planned for my life post grad, all the decisions i couldve made, all the things that i couldve written down in the book of stone to be accomplished in a yr or three or five. once ive told God its all or nothing, dont let me ever just be, i want to live like crazy, i want to really live every second every hr not wasted, i havent looked back since. theres no health insurance for me or a paid vacation time waiting in the summer. no prestigious fellowship or professional recognition behind my name. nothing concrete (yet), nothing tangible (yet). its scary and liberating at the same time to say it; i have nothing.
and when ppl ask, especially if they dont have the same living relationship with Jesus — sadly, sometimes even when they confess they do — i sound like the dumbest thing living. um so you decided to not apply for a job when you finished school, and you decided to stay bc of your church even when you had no money, and youre deciding to spend the next yr or so doing ministry and writing without any plans for your actual career? um yeah. okayyy good luck with that
in my more and more deteriorating korean, i was telling my parents that i feel called to the world and not inside a church even though im doing ministry things right now. i was telling my mom that sometimes i do wonder if things would be really just easier if i find some secretary job on craigslist and think about money first, but that i just cant live that way. i was telling them for the third or fourth time since i walked two summers ago, that what i want to do, what i REALLY want to do with my life, im already doing it. in the microcosmic level. in its most primal and lowest level. and meanwhile, i am searching for the best fit. i am trying to carve my own space in the world. i realize that now.
im so fucking unique theres nobody else like me in the whole damn universe from beginning to end. who the hell can tell me that i need to study for grad school or pursue a public policy fellowship in the east coast or apply myself in the asian american professional networking scene more? i gotta make my own path. if it kills me in the process — its like what 50 cents raps about, get rich or die tryin — i would starve to death happily. well thats a figure of speech, i dont want to starve. thank God who gives me a restaurant job so i can at least eat for free! but the point here is this. i NEED to do this. this praying for the full redemption and restoration of Body of Christ in the secret thing. this writing my heart out whether anybodys caring or reading thing. this nagging and pushing ppl to be on time for the launching of my magazine thing. this less than 20 hrs a wk waitressing and telling my co workers about Jesus over beer thing. this volunteering with friends churches and local schools to take kids on a field trip and starting a girl mentorship thing. i need to do it. even if i have to wreck my brain articulating all of the activities in professional language on my hundredth resume. even if i get rejected after thirty thousandth in person interview saying that i dont have enough competitive market/work experiences. even if i feel like shit for the nine hundred forty two millionth time after a party of ten leaves less than tax for my tip at the end of my night shift. yeah, i need to live my life
my dad told me a real cool story from his senior yr in high school. his pe teacher thought my dad was smart and should apply for a physical education/sports management/policy program at the most prestigious university in korea. but my dad was dead set on his mission to become a pastor already. he also has had an amazing track and soccer record in his youth and would contemplate every now and then why he didnt go for the full-ride sports scholarship. decades later, when my dad was the associate pastor at a small korean church in la, he saw that pe teacher again. across the pacific ocean after twenty something yrs have passed, they met at this most random place ever. and now my dad wonders what life wouldve been like had he at least paid attention to what this pe teacher recommended. no regret no no. but c’est la vie. if he had gone on to become the korean world cup soccer team assistant manager or something, if he had become a physical education policy researcher in korean universities, what if? life is long
yup. at the end of our conversation. bottom line. thats what we all agreed on. life is long. im only a baby. what lies ahead of me nobody knows, but the only thing that matters and what lets my parents free from worrying about my future is that i know what i want in life. this aint the ‘figuring out life’ post grad ennui. im not wandering aimlessly in the pained economy hustlin for food. im learning to own it, own my life, own my mistakes, own my decisions as an adult in training. im learning to continue on hope, not what i can see, but on the city with foundations whose architect and builder is God. after three yrs, ten, thirty later, when i look back on the prime time of my life, wherever i end up, teaching english in the most remote jungle village in africa, making billion dollars worth policy decisions in dc bureaucracy, or raising a beautiful fam with some adopted boys and girls in a boring suburb. i want to say with confidence that ive truly lived. the prayers sown into the city of berkeley oakland the sf bay area for revival, the relationships for which ive sacrificed EVERYTHING, the conversations and the poetry that flowed out of the communities ive built and cared for. they would bear fruits lasting a lifetime and beyond. let God be my judge. when Christ comes again He would find favor with me. ive wasted nothing ive held back nothing ive regretted nothing
hattys inner person is encouraged. i think i can go back to writing my cover letters again. i have peace about moving into the ark ladies house and being faithful to the ark leadership for another yr. i now let my bank accounts at peace and rest. He cares for me
intense conversations/reflections done! free and silly for the rest of beach bumming mall hopping reckless driving so cal glory!
forgot to mention the chocolate cakes and the fatherhood. fasting while home is not a comfortable thing to do. fasting anywhere is not comfortable period. ive been dreaming about blending a chocolate cupcake with some almond milk. damn you Holy Spirit conviction. and fatherhood is, well, about fathers… its a wonderful thing to have a father who loves you and speaks truth in your life. no matter how dysfunctional the relationship has been or currently is. to have your father tell you to search for what you want in life — if the earthly father knows to give you something good in his limited humanness, how much more our Heavenly Father? — ah i dont have words for it. pastor dennis loves to say, fathers call out the destinies in their children. i have both an amazing biological father and the best Father in the history of fatherhood. they both see greatness in me. they both spur me on to become the most compassionate and powerful person im meant to be. it has been about seven yrs since ive begun praying for my dad and for our relationship. more and more God reveals ways in which i grow in respect for my dad. God bless fathers everywhere. our generation needs you
ok for reals. back to free and silly hatty shopping and starbucksing