Merry Cristmas

Merry Christmas Eve!

This post is a departure from my regular content, but I just wanted to thank all the people reading my posts, following and commenting.  I am so grateful to be part of this blogging community, and to find renewed motivation to keep writing and create visual art. 

오뎅국 (Odeng-guk)

I am blessed to visit my parents in NC. My mother made me 오뎅국 (Odeng-guk: fishcake soup) for breakfast this morning.  My comfort food of choice is homemade home cooked Korean food, and also good Southern cookin’.

My daughter and I at a Christmas party

I won’t be posting on Christmas Day, but I wanted to wish happy advent season and Christmas for those in the Christian tradition and happy holidays to all.  

My daughter is away with her momma visiting their family in FL, but I am blessed to be surrounded by my family and friends as we get through first year of major holidays coparenting.  

Thanks again to all the readers and writers who share their thoughts, art, and experiences. May you be held in the Light of a loving Higher Power. To my Buddhist friends, much metta and peace. May you be healthy, happy, and free from suffering.

A Poem for Calm and Peace in the Midst of Chaos

“Inner Peace” (10w poem)

even in the midst of chaos

my heart is calm

————

Dear Friend,

I wish I could tell you that your   life will always calm and peaceful, but that would be a lie.  My own experience that the storms of life always comes, but if I ground myself with a strong spiritual foundation then I am more apt to navigate the chaos of life with more calm and ease.

One of my favorite writers and fellow former L’Arche member, Henri Nouwen wrote: 

“A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself us.”

I find the willingness to stay when things get very difficult challenging, my first instinct is to run. However, looking back, most of my growth has happened because I stayed and lived with change and kept my heart open even in the midst of chaos.

As a chaplain, I have been able to accompany people when their world falls apart. The calm and peace I maintain comes from my own trust in a loving Divine Presence. Quakers believe that there is that of God in everyone, and instead of just telling people about what we believe, we are encouraged to “let our lives speak.” I love silence both in community and alone, and I try to nurture my soul through centering prayer and meditation, because I can’t give away what I don’t have.

Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun and teacher, suggests that:

“The next time there’s no ground to stand on, don’t consider it an obstacle. Consider it a remarkable stroke of luck. We have no ground to stand on, and at the same time it could soften and inspire us. Finally, after all these years, we could grow up. As Trungpa Rinpoche once said, the best mantra is ‘OM–grow up–svaha.'”  ( from “Three Methods of Working with Chaos)

So don’t run, but embrace the obstacles and storms in your life and fully live into them. Sometimes the calm and peace finds you, even when everything is falling apart around you.

In the Light,

Your Friend Admist the Storm

via https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/calm/

Letters about Sadness

Self Portrait: the blues

Dear Friend,

I know you are lost in your sadness, and your heart is hurting right now. Everything in your bones is telling you that this pain you feel will never go away. I am here with you, and instead of telling you not to wallow in your pain I will simply let you know that you are not alone.

I too know what it’s like to have heartache, but I say that not to lessen your pain or even to say our pain is the same, because it’s not.  Each pain and ache is different, and as you travel down the depths of sadness I will be here waiting for you.  I pray that a loving God of your understanding travels with you and guide you safely to the world you are trying so hard to be in, even though it feels like you are sleep walking.

Time takes time, and please I hope you do not fight laughter and joy returning to your life, when you start awakening to life again.  I thought I would be numb forever, and somehow slowly my heart started remawakening to each day.  Sometimes I still cry, but I laugh a lot too. Don’t forget you are not alone, and I’ll be here waiting as you make the journey back home to your heart.

In the Light,

A fellow traveler 

a poem for those going through difficulty 

the sun

the sun 

glows warmly 

even in 

cold days 

shining hope

My own personal difficulty this year has been going through separation and divorce. I have been able to talk about it freely with some people in my circle, but not everyone I know.  My experience has been that life is not an either or, but a both and.  Even this year, I have been able experience wide spectrum of human feelings and emotions, some days I am sad and few moments later laughing and so grateful I can enjoy moments with my 2 year old daughter.

Slowly, but surely, I am experiencing fun again in my life. My divorce is in its final stages and I am just waiting for the judge to sign the paperwork.  It’s been a journey to let go and let God, even with this. I am embracing hope and trying not to live in resentments or fear.  Today, I am grateful to experience love and support from all around me, because I had the courage to be honest and ask for help when I needed.  Also, sharing my own journey and my difficulties has allowed others to share their struggles and how they have made it to the other side. I hope each of you keep trusting and walking through the dark, even when things seem so bleak. I am here to say that there’s hope. 

Bless them, change me

Dear Spiritual Friend,

It’s easy to be grateful, when everything in life is going your way.  It’s often more difficult to be grateful and keep walking the spiritual path, when people, places and things all seem to work against you.

Most of us want to be happy, and it’s pretty difficult to be happy when we have relationships that disturb and rob us of peace and serenity.  Often the most difficult people in our life are the ones that we’re the closest to from family members, children, friends, co-workers, spouse, ex-spouse and etc.  Most of us do not loose sleep over a random interaction with a stranger we met briefly on the bus, but we may replay our last conversation with a loved one before they died, or when a relationships became broken and never the same again.

These moments seem to be forever etched in our memories, and especially into our hearts.  They linger long past the actual events and circumstances have passed.  I have no pithy wise words to share with you, but a simple prayer that has helped me get through these rough moments.  A friend told me once that he prays “Bless them, change me,” when he encounters difficult people in his life.  I too try to pray this prayer instead of praying that can be broken down to the essence of “F them, bless me.”

I hope to write to you more, but in the mean time, I wish you the best on your journey.

 

In the Light,

EunSung

To My 9 Years old Self

Dear EunSung,

I know everything is new right now.  You and your family just moved from South Korea to Asheville, NC.  I know you feel a little bit overwhelmed, and everything is new.  Remember to not take things personally, when well meaning folks talk down to you because you have a foreign name.  Be patient with your teachers when they stick you in a closet with a Mircofiche machine half the time at school, instead of letting you just be immersed with the other kids.  You and your family moved to an area at a time when ESL did not exist.

More than anything, little EunSung, be patient with yourself.  I know you’re a very sensitive child, and it will be hard for you to find ways to express yourself.  Be patient with your mom, dad and brother; it will be stressful to all of you as you adjust to a new culture and a new language.

And the most important of all, there’s a God out there that you’ve not experienced yet that loves you for you.  A God that does not judge you, even when human beings fail to live up to the standards of this love.  God loves you, even when white rural churches in NC could not totally accept and love you and your family.  Don’t loose heart.  God loves you for all of you, even you being Korean immigrant in a strange place, and eventually your family will choose American names to assimilate due to fear of being singled out and made an other.

Your journey will be sad at times, but all of it precious in the eyes of your Higher Power.  All of your pains and joys will eventually be used to serve God and help others.  But for now, you’re only 9.  Enjoy each day and have fun.

Love,

Your Jaded Older Self

 

PS–Your beloved Cubs win the World Series in 2016.  You fell in love with the Cubs when you watched them play at Wrigley Field on WGN, as a immigrant boy in the States trying to fit in.  What’s more American than baseball?  The Cubs had you by the 7th inning stretch, when Harry Carray sang “Take me Out to the Ballgame.”  Enjoy all of it little EunSung.

Solitude

Evagrius Ponticus, an influential desert monastic, writes that we should “seek out places that are free from distraction, and solitary.  Do not be afraid of the noises you may hear. Even if you should see some demonic fantasy, do not be terrified or flee frm the training ground so apt for your progress.  Endure fearlessly, and you will see the great things of God, His help His care, and all the assurances of salvation” (V1:35, Teachings on Asceticism and Stillness in the Solitary Life).

I am not a monk that lives out in the desert. I live in the 21st century as an urban dad. I work as a chaplain to pay my bills and child support, and spend time with my 2 year old daughter.

However, I do identify with Evagrius’ words. My separation and upcoming divorce in a month has been a wilderness experience of my heart. I struggle to return to the inner cell of my heart to rest in the deep silence of peace and serenity from my Higher Power, or what Quakers call Divine Presence.

I have struggleded not loose myself in fantasy and anxiety of the future or wallow in what could have been different in my past. Grief is hard and “enduring fearlessly” as Evagrius suggests has been diffcult. But I have been doing the best I can to let go and let God, and trusting in a hope I do not understand or believe at some moments.  All I can do sometimes is take a tiny step forward, and for now it’s enough.

I am not sure what great things I’ll see, but so far it’s enough to see our daughter happy and growing up in two loving households.