By golly, Life’s too darn short to waste time trying to please every meddlesome moron who’s got an idea how I ought to be! I don’t need advice! Everyone can just stay out of my face!
spent the day at church. ate at crossroads café with family, josh, and pastor steve. i was impressed at how much food they gave! but they did kind of take a long time. and it seemed to be a gathering place for old people… i think we were surrounded by them. i got a lobster roll with sweet potatoes! but i got tricked, i thought they were sweet potato fries, but i guess she said sweet potato fried. because there were a lot of burnt parts…
the talks by steve were amazing. he shared his own testimony and how it took him 30-odd years to find his identity in god. man, it’s almost frightening to hear what he had to endure, but at the same time, it was such a good story that was used for god’s glory. i guess one thing that shocked me was just how much he felt overshadowed by his two brothers. one went to oxford university and was a very hardworker, and ended up in a prestigious international banking position. another was genius who excelled in violin and music in general, and went to cambridge university. and then there was steve…who got straight Cs.. haha. and though he finally managed to get into oxford to prove himself and to his family and the world that he wasn’t stupid, he failed out of school… but, despite this saddening experience (and i’m curtailing this SO much… he went into so much detail, which truly showed how god worked for the better in his life despite his own plans), eventually, he learned that his identity was not based on performance, and that he never had to earn his father’s approval because it was always there although he always thought that he fell short compared to his brothers.
and i loved his father’s poetry about his sons after a near-death accident that proved his approval of steve:
andrew, the son who always loves and gives. daniel, the son who has always been by my side. steve, the son who has my anointing.
side note: steve’s dad was a pastor of a church in england, and he was the director of intervarsity’s international branch!! since steve didn’t mention his father’s name, i’m guessing that it was pastor chua wee hian (google!). so, his father’s ministry was well known in england during his upbringing.
and for the second session, steve talked about faith. and focused on the temptations of christ and provided his own experience of entering a season of nothing, as in giving up all his speaking arrangements and thus his salary to do nothing! and to wait, for 8 months. and to believe that god would provide. sooooo amazing to hear how he went through that. his messages are so clear and in-depth, and i LOVE his british accent :P and how he just makes things come alive! despite his talks being close to 2 hours, he was really engaging, but my words really can’t express how great his talks were. i have his dvds, and i’m gonna watch them and, if you want, you can too! in all, he summed up his talk about why we have to go through such trials like the wilderness. it’s not as much as do we trust god, but can he trust us?
in between the sessions, we had worship practice for sunday morning. and it went pretty well i think… hopefully the results are the same tomorrow! and, the bass was acting up, but i think karen and i found the problem… the battery. the bass has been making popping sounds as if you’re plugging and unplugging it constantly, and we’ve sent it in before for repair but they’ve never found the problem… if it’s a simple battery replacement, wow. so owned. but i’m glad we found it this time! i was being a bit curious because while karen just wanted to make sure the screws were tight (some were coming out), i wanted to take it apart and look at the wires :) and lo and behold, we saw the battery, so i tested it, and it was almost out of juice. it should be good to go for tomorrow :D
mmmm. bitter….sweet. kind of, couldn’t really taste the chocolate though. anyways, this is the mocha i got with saeyoung today!
today, i went with my mom to get the papers signed for the new church! i’ll admit, it was kind of boring. “sign here, we need to make copies, sign here too and initial it”… there was a lot of legal jargon and questions. but in the end, it was all done! and i guess it hasn’t hit me, but seriously? a 50,000 sq. ft church for 100+ people. god better have some pretty big plans to fill even half the church :P, but there is hope!
so that meeting took a little longer than i thought, but i eventually drove to bc to meet saeyoung for lunch. i had to park in the garage since the lady at the entrance caught me trying to park at the church…and then i tried to take a shortcut from the mods to gate, but then i realized the gates were closed, so it ended up being a long detour. and i guess saeyoung was in the mods because he saw me wandering. i dropped off something for jen liao from nick. and then headed over to meet with saeyoung. we decided to head over to coolidge corner, and eat at lemongrass, which is a vietnamese restaurant. for some reason, saeyoung was a bit clumsy today… he split some coffee on himself, then got food on his arms…. err. ok that was a random observation.
food was not bad. i decided to get something other than pho noodles, so that was definitely stretching my comfort zone, but it was well worth it. and a “bun” is not bread for vietnamese restaurants….interesting. we talked about his future plans after college but its still up in the air: nonprofit vs. seminary. and i shared about my past semester. i think each year has gotten more difficult in terms of academics, but at the same time, the experiences have become more memorable. and i’ve come to enjoy bc more and more each year, for different reasons. though, i did struggle with one problem: making too many asian friends. and so we debated about that. and honestly, there’s no sense in calling it a “mistake” because it isn’t…and that would label the many good relationships i’ve made this year through acf as mistakes…and that’s not true either. saeyoung was advocating for the fact that this “bubble” won’t ever happen in real life because when we work in our field, we will necessarily have to be with people from different backgrounds and as adults, these cliques don’t arise. at the same time, saeyoung admitted that most of the friends that he’ll keep in touch with after college will be asian, namely korean, and mostly christian….so there is a need to diversify too. but, in a sense, acf serves as a comfortable setting for asians to understand christianity and ask questions about it because it’s true that different cultures approach jesus uniquely and to just put a one size fits all on that would be ridiculous. so, i think intervarsity does have a point in separating the fellowships into multiethnic, multicultural, and acf.
though, i think i need to find a balance of sorts. to not lose the relationships i’ve made so far, and to also seek new ones. but i guess that does bring into question why i need to “make more,” whether that stems from insecurity, popularity, or something else. i’d like to think that my motivation comes from wanting to understand people’s stories and from hoping to be christ to others. in a sense, to fuse the call to be missional and relational because jesus did that perfectly. sitting with sinners, loving the outcasts, and healing the sick. and well, i think the best thing i could do next year would be to invest in the underclassmen. ok, well they’re all gonna be underclassmen, but i think there’s a need to encourage and to validate their identities and strengths in order to raise up new leaders. i guess pointing out weaknesses would be important as well. but i need wisdom in “phrasing” that… i wonder how jesus felt leaving the disciples with the job of spreading the gospel, especially since all of them deserted him just a couple days before and his number one man peter denied him three times… and yet jesus encouraged him. that takes a lot of love and trust…
but, i do have to admit that i’m not very good at maintaining relationships. it’s sort of like the sims. i kind of just get the relationship meter up to 100, and then let it deteriorate from there… ugh. relationships are hard work…i want to make sure that the ones i make and the ones i keep are those that i will treasure for a lifetime.
after dinner, which saeyoung paid for… doh. he’s still mentoring me :P by teaching me to “pay it forward.” but he told me i could make it up a bit by paying for his coffee, so we went to café fixe at washington square. i’m a coffee noob, so i asked him to order for me, and he got me a mocha since i told him i liked chocolate. they filled it RIGHT to the top, so it was such a struggle bringing it to the table. and then i couldn’t drink it because the design looked so cool! but i eventually did. and it wasn’t too bad. though i think i still prefer the extremely sugary coffee coolatta. :D
we talked a bit more. about dating and such. him and susie. and how that’s going, and what that’ll look like during the summer and after college… very intriguing. and we touched upon the fact that when telling a girl you like her, you can become very vulnerable. and when a girl doesn’t respond at first, emotions and such can be so tumultuous and…it’s really unhealthy to be like that. and yeah, i guess i can understand that. i really don’t like it when my emotions try to dictate how i think. it removes my sense of inner peace, and i really try to reclaim it through rationality. anyways, in that lull of waiting for a response from susie after telling her, saeyoung was kinda showing me how he responded, basically in a “pessimistic” way. though, perhaps it’s not pessimistic, but it’s expecting the worst so that when something good does happen, it’s a pleasant surprise. so if rejection, well i guess that was expected, but if she reciprocates, well that’s grand!
i’m not so sure i buy that…especially since such a mindset can be detrimental in understanding hope and faith, i think. but, then again, being overly optimistic will just result in disappointment, and i know saeyoung means well in trying to protect me by embracing for the worst emotionally before it actually happens. i guess i do that when it comes to grades, and so i don’t feel as bad when things don’t go according to plan. but, in terms of expecting the worst, i think that conflicts with prayer. because part of me wonders how you can pray for someone and think they’ll get better if you’re really just concerned that the worst may happen to them…actually that might be too much of a stretch, but it can be a slippery slope.
but on the drive back home, i kept pondering about this. actually, i first dropped saeyoung off at kenmore before heading home in traffic, but during that time, i got to think. and i wonder if god would think that like that when loving his children: embrace the worst scenario, that they won’t respond or would retaliate in hatred/rebellion but be surprised if they respond in love and adoration. for some reason, i don’t buy that. maybe because such a mindset involves fear. and perfect love does not have fear. but love still entails rejection. so how does one deal with rejection?? just move on and pretend it never happened? or sulk until you feel better? or love more? or find a new object of affection/distraction? that’s very puzzling to me. there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer, and i just wish there wasn’t that initial rejection. but hey, i guess that’s life and life is a broken reflection of what’s to come. actually, now i remember saeyoung sharing some advice about this. to avoid taking rejection personally. like an insult to character. but it’s hard to believe that if someone says they don’t like you. yeah that would suck….but i think that points to an issue of identity. and if i want to be unaffected by rejection, i need to affirm my identity. ok sounds good. i’m glad i worked this out on paper. haha.
as i drove through lots of traffic, i realized that the coffee definitely made me want to pee, and i had to hold it in for an hour or more until i got to my dad’s office to pee. slightly uncomfortable but i sang along the way to distract myself.
church was pretty chill. it was nice just to talk amongst a smaller group, and we brainstormed about what to do for the new church: paint walls or collage/mural. we need more ideas though… and matt brought up an interesting topic about how god is unchanging yet we change. and like, how can two opposing sides (protestants v. catholics, or republicans v. democrats, etc.) say that god is on their side and go to war both figuratively and literally? so, that was a bit over the middle schoolers, but it seems like he really is digging into the harder questions, so i’m impressed.