Archive for February, 2011

I am…

empty. angry. sad. alone. broken. bitter against the world.

searching. wondering. grieving. hurting. breathing for one last breath.

confused. stressed. rejected. dejected. depressed once more.

dried up. torn up. banged up. stood up. yet put down.

barely standing. barely managing. barely surviving. barely living?

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break out in song

So I’m sitting in my Biology Lab right now. We’re doing group presentations today. I seriously don’t see the point of doing group presentations because no one but the lab TA ever really pays attention to them. If we have to put effort into something, why not make it worthwhile?

I was thinking about how it’s a Friday afternoon, and everyone is probably really tired. It would really liven things up if we just started singing. It would be Bio Presentations: The Musical.

We should just have a day when the whole day is dedicated to music. Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone just started dancing and everything was under stage lights? Dialogues would be songs and dinner will just be the next scene. Everything will be perfectly crafted, and everyone will act as they’re supposed to act.

Too superficial? Too fake? I wonder if that’s any different from this world though; we all live according to some playwright’s will.

Well, I must be off cause the girl sitting next to me keeps looking over at my screen and is making me feel self-conscious. I’ll leave you with an explanation by the lovely Natalie Tran as to why life can’t be a musical…along with some other stuff she talks about 😀

Ambitious much?

Ambition. Drive. Determination. Motivation.

I’d like to think we’ve all been at a place where something captivates us so much that we pour all our spirit, heart, and soul into it. Yet after investing so much blood and tears, time and effort, plus whatever else you got left in you, everything just starts to crumble. We are left so empty. Without a purpose. Whether it was a job, a relationship, school, and the like, there comes a time when we get too caught up in things to the point where it just drains us…

It’s taken me awhile to realize that I’m ambitious – a little too ambitious. I’m always thinking up grandiose schemes on scales of ridiculous proportions. Then when it actually takes place, I just get overwhelmed. But it doesn’t matter because I somehow pick myself up, lose a couple more years of my life, and manage to oh so barely get passed the next hurdle.

I’m at that point again when I passed an obstacle, only to be standing in the shadow of the next looming challenge. Frankly, I am tired. I am broken. I am finished. My pride has been broken to the point where I can finally admit it – yes, I have made ambition my god. This idol, I put ahead of everything else, even to the point of physically pushing myself beyond what humans were made for.

No, this is not healthy. And praise be to God that I was made to realize this. Ambition, time for you to re-prioritize yourself and take a back seat.

Let’s go with the Golden Rule

I was having dinner with a friend today when we stumbled upon a very interesting topic. My friend recently had a disagreement with a friend and was slightly slighted because she was not with the majority. Of course there will always be differences in opinion; there is no way that everyone in the world will ever submit to one idea willingly through any human means. But just because we have differing thoughts, ideals, or whatever doesn’t mean that we can be respectful of one another. Why does it matter so much that we have to be right? To make us feel better about ourselves? Because we were brought up that this is the way things are? Whatever the reason, there is no excuse for us to be discriminatory against anyone else just because they have a difference in opinion.

I feel like a big part of this comes to play when it leads to certain, much more poignant topics: Science vs. Religion, anyone? I was reading my biology text book, and we happen to be covering topics on evolution for our next unit. This is a big kicker that sends red flags all over the place. I can immediately tell that the publisher/author/editor/whoever is particularly biased in their opinion. By all means, they should be presenting biological ideas to their fullest. But they do not have to go out of their way to bash creationists ideas or, as they say, “special creation.” They also include various vignettes on the Bible and pro-creationist thought, which is apparently some sort of nonsense story book in their eyes. There’s a passage at the end of practically every section denouncing this theory of special creation. To be honest, it does irk me a bit that they so flippantly throw the Word of God around like it’s a joke of some sort; they are just not treating it with the respect it is due. It further annoys me that Emory University requires all introductory biology classes to read this since it seems like the vast majority of first year students are pre-meds who will probably take this class, even if they decide to be something else later on in the years. This is a biology book, not a book on the comparison (and faults) of other “inferior” ideas.

Yes, I am Christian so maybe my beliefs and my reception to this can be somewhat biased. But yes, I also do believe in the Theory of Evolution. I mean, the amount of evidence on evolution is staggering. You’d have to be stupid to admit otherwise. A good deal of my personal knowledge on evolution comes from my freshman seminar class, Concepts and Misconcepts of Evolution. I really didn’t realize it till the end of the semester, but I learned a great deal about evolution. And I’d have to say, there are probably just as many misconcepts about evolution as there are about religion, particularly Christianity. People should seriously learn about the misconcepts of both sides before even starting to refute or support anything.

In my eyes, science and religion are two different ways of telling the same story. Science gives us something tangible, the cold hard facts. Religion gives us something philosophical that helps us connect the spirit to the natural, whether it is ourselves or the Earth. Science shows us that a flower has an extraordinarily complex design. It teaches us that “descent with modification” reflects the truly astounding adaptability in all organisms. From a Christian perspective, I see an amazingly detailed Creator crafting each individual flower. I can have fellowship with an insanely intelligent God with the foresight to give us the mechanisms that will ensure survival in all kinds of environments. In essence, science and religion are both necessary to understand life and the purpose bound to it since there are many things inherently impossible in one and not the other.

I guess these issues are just hitting me more and more now that I’m in college, and I come into contact with people of vastly different opinions on a daily basis. I now have friends who are Christian, non-Christian, and other things in between and across. Even that title of “non-Christian” is something I don’t quite enjoy partake in using because the very assumption of its meaning is discriminatory in nature. What we need is to make like a bell curve and enjoy a happy median 🙂

 

Bridge on Grandview (WA)

Let’s go with the Golden Rule.

Treat everyone as you want to be treated with all the respect and courtesy due to a fellow human trying to make sense out of this crazy world.

oh, how technology connects us all

I’ve been feeling quite nostalgic these past few days. Namely, I’ve been thinking about this past summer when I went to Korea. It’s funny how you can feel so connected to a place you’ve visited and not even lived in. Maybe it is just the fact that I was able to pass through without experiencing any of the post-honeymoon effect that it seems so idyllic in my mind still…Well, I guess idyllic isn’t quite the word for it since there was a lot of not-so-goods that happened on my trip too, mostly concerning family issues. But hey, nothing is perfect right? And the three and a half weeks I spent there were pretty close.

Brandon and I about to watch "Inception" at Coex

Frankly, I probably enjoyed this time so much because I was able spend an extended period away from my parents. Yes, they are my parents, and I do love them (probably even more so now after learning to appreciate what they do for me), but there were certain elements of freedom that I’m sure most people my age can identify with. After all, it was a great adventure to a foreign place that was nothing like the places I was brought up in. I was able to do pretty much what I wanted to do. It was a freedom that I tried to use as liberally as possible because I never really had the chance or the right circumstances to do that in the states. Little did I know that college life would be pretty much me making my own decisions on a daily basis…except with a crapload of school work to do haha. Most importantly, it was a time period when I could find closure and move onto the next stage of my life. Plus, I got to hang out with good friends from both Washington and Korea. Which is good because now I realize I won’t be seeing them for awhile.

I feel like times of transition are an important part of our lives. They mark an end and a new beginning. It gives us time to think about what we’ve accomplished so far and what we have yet to achieve. But as the nature of transitions go, they are evanescent; almost like a limbo between the two places. Maybe that’s why they are remembered in a different light. It is an almost untouchable time of existence marked with a spirit of adventure that sets the tone for the next scene of your life. Others might think of it as a time when you’re neither this or that, an ambiguous state. But I like to think of it as a separate state all together where you can discover a new part of you that will influence your subsequent stages of development.

picture I took at a lotus pond in a Korean history museum

Today during chemistry, I decided to update all the applications on my iTouch. I haven’t done this in awhile, so I had about 26 updates to do! When I did that, I noticed the subway map application I used while I was in Seoul was among the applications that got updated. When I clicked on it, I saw that the application not only went an aesthetic change, but it also included a whole bunch of new functional changes as well. For one, the map of 구리, a nearby city I stayed in, was vastly improved. This would’ve saved me a couple embarrassing taxi rides when I paid the taxi driver to drive me somewhere within 5 minutes of walking distance (I didn’t know where the subway station was -.-). The coolest little addition though happened to be this location specific comment posting application. People who were at the station or nearby could post little tid-bits about their life or ask questions about the nearest restaurant and whatnot. I could post stuff using my iTouch too, which I happened to do. I wonder if anyone will respond to mine?

The thought of how technology connects us all is almost overwhelming. From this application, I almost felt like I was in Korea again. The subway schedules were there. I remembered rushing over to make it on time to a train passing by. My usual route into Seoul was so apparent. I always felt exhilarated, even though I took the same route almost everyday. Reading through all these posts was just like interacting with the regular commuters. Random bits of conversation going back and forth. The distance wasn’t there at all.

Rainy Day in 구리 (Guri)

I happened to check my email today. To my surprise and delight, I found an email from my aunt in Korea. This aunt took time out of her busy schedule and showed me around Seoul along with my older cousin. I really appreciate her for that because I would’ve completely missed some parts of Seoul without a guide native to all the districts and neighborhoods in the capital city. I’ve only talked with her once over the phone since coming back to the states, so it was great to get back in touch with her. She told me about her biking adventures (she recently learned to ride the bike) and updated me on how my cousins were doing. It was a refreshing string of anecdotes that connected me to her and the rest of my family there. The distance really wasn’t there at all.

My Lovely Aunt (=

All of this reminded me of how just like that time before, I am going through a similar transition period. How long it will last, I can’t determine. But I’m not in any hurry to rush the process. I’ll try to remain steadfast with my faith and see where it takes me.

memory is such a fleeting thing

“I don’t remember when I woke up. Was it an hour ago? Two hours? No, the sun is up too high in the sky…It must be around noon at least. Where has the time gone? I don’t remember when I woke up.

I find myself at the table with my family. I don’t quite remember how I got there, but I’m so glad I did. We are about to have Sunday brunch like we always do, and it feels like forever since I have seen my wife and two children. I haven’t noticed it before, but it seems as though the years are beginning to show on my wife’s face. Although she is still beautiful as ever, her wrinkles have increased and her hair has paled – maybe something is worrying her these days. I’ll have to ask later. I look towards Jenna, my oldest, and ask her how school is going for her. She looks at me with a quizzical look on her face, saying that I asked her that already! Silly girl, she must be having one of her temperamental mood swings. After all, she is a 14 year old girl, and they have enough troubles with makeup, boys, and whatever else pre-adolescent girls do these days. I will just steer clear of her way today, lest I have her using me as a stress outlet. Jacob, my son, asks at that point if he can go out and play football with his friends. My wife, Anna, interjects and tells him that we need to get ready for church, and that’s that. She says she doesn’t understand how many times she has to tell him in one morning. Funny, I don’t recall Jacob asking before, but I naturally assume Jacob approached Anna with this topic before.

Did I eat today? I don’t believe I remember eating anything, yet I feel full. My dear wife Anna comes down to the kitchen and asks me if I’m coming to bed. She is still as beautiful as ever, but it seems as though the years are beginning to show on my wife’s face…wait, coming to bed? Is it that time already? She yawns yes tiredly, saying that she is tired from a full day at church. Church? When did we go to church? Anna gives me a concerned look and says that I’ve been very off today. Ha, I don’t even remember what I did today. Nonetheless, she proceeds to take me by the hand towards our room. I guess I do feel a little tired.

Anna needed the car today, so she dropped me and Jenna off at the school today. I guess today is bring-your-daughter-to-work-day; I can’t remember the last time Jenna followed me to one of those. I reached down to hold Jenna’s hand as we walk. As soon as I did, Jenna jumped back and gave me a paralyzing glare. “Are you trying to embarrass me? It’s bad enough having to go to the high school you work at,” she venomously whispered. She promptly ran into the building, leaving me shocked, confused, and at a loss for words. I suppose Jenna has been getting older, but to talk to me like that? I hoped she did wouldn’t get lost in the high school, but I had to get ready for my first class of the day.

I feel like a stranger at my own school. I don’t know half of the faculty here anymore. Since when did we hire so many new people? The only thing familiar is my office; I’ve had it since I started my teaching career here at this high school. At that moment, Wesley, my star pupil in my afternoon psychology class, comes in to tell me that I’m late to my first class!  When I ask him how he knows my schedule, he tells me that he is my teaching assistant: “Don’t you remember? I graduated a couple years ago, and now I’m at a teaching academy.” Utterly confused, I ask Wesley to take me to the class. During my walk, I notice something distinctly different about the school, although I’m not quite sure what it is. Upon entering the classroom, however, I realize that I don’t recognize any of my students. Something is definitely wrong.

I’m in a white room that looks like the nurse’s office at my school. I see my wife Anna coming in; she is still as beautiful as ever, but it seems as though the years are beginning to show on my wife’s face. She seems particularly concerned today though. Her eyes look a bit teary, but before I can ask what’s wrong, a man in a white coat also steps into the room. Where am I? Have I been sleeping? I don’t remember when I woke up. Was it an hour ago? Two hours?”

******************

What would it be like to be amnesic? And not any kind of amnesic; someone who can keep their old memories but not able to form new ones. What’s familiar might remain the same to you, but it could change for everyone else. It’s like being a prisoner of your own mind. Even time becomes irrelevant simply because there is no future and only a fringe of the present. You basically have to live in the past. And not just any past: your past. I would hate to be like this, but would I even know it? Would I even be able to feel sorry for myself? I don’t know. The brain is still a mystery to us all.

Memory is a fleeting thing. But if I were to become like this, I would hope to have a lot of good memories to fall back upon. Something I’ve learned these past couple of years is that the past is something you can’t change. That’s why we can’t give up and need to better ourselves continuously, even when times are hard. A life full of regret would be a painful thing.

Still, we should be thankful for the memories we do have. Getting lost in nostalgic thoughts about the good times is sometimes the only thing keeping me from going crazy 🙂

disappearance

Have you ever come across or thought about someone who just disappeared from your life?

They weren’t necessarily important people in your life… Like maybe someone you used to go to church with. You never talked to them, but you just got used to seeing them around. Then one day, they simply vanished. Maybe it wasn’t all at once; it could have been a gradual process. But then again, you were never close with them or really talked with them that much. You just happen to notice one day that you don’t see that person or you look back and you don’t remember the last time you saw them.

I guess with the advent of stalker technology such as Facebook or Twitter, practically anyone is searchable…assuming they aren’t reclusive individuals who live in caves on mountaintops or something like that. You don’t even have to purposely look up the whole catalog of “missing” people you have stored in the back of your mind. You could be looking in an old photo album and see someone tagged to an old group picture or something. “Oh, I haven’t see this person in ages” you say. Then you just proceed to click on their name which links to their profile. Then by taking a quick glance through their page, you can kind of get a sense of what they’re doing with their lives now. Maybe they went off to college. Maybe they got married. Maybe they live on the other side of the continent now. Who knows if you’ll even see them again?

But what about the people that you don’t find? Maybe they don’t want to be found… Maybe they removed themselves from somewhere because it was a part of them they wished to leave behind…before starting something new. I can identify with that to some degree. I mean, there is a reason why I meant to leave for good when I left for college. There is a reason why I went to the other side of the continent. Make no mistake, my past made me who I am today. But I am now hoping to start a completely new chapter away from all that. A new chapter of my life that involves even a different outlook on life.

So yes, reclusive being upon the mountaintop, I do understand why you left your city, your people for the quiet of your cave. Although I myself may never go to such extremes, we both have the same heart. It makes me wonder, would anyone ever remember me as that guy from my church who I never really talked to or got to know — where is he now?

Human relations is a funny thing. Somehow we get around knowing just about anyone through someone else. It’s kind of scary in a way that you are always being watched by someone you know or someone who knows another person you know. But then again, that’s the fun part of interaction too. Finding out about the various ways this world has twisted around relationships; sometimes it is on the level of divine irony. And you know what, it probably is; who says our Creator has no sense of humor? In actuality, He probably has the best jokes out of everyone. After all, He created everything.

In a way, we can never vanish exactly the way we want to. There’s always a trace because we leave our tracks on others’ hearts and minds. And they don’t quite disappear so easily.