Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I've noticed lately that as I'm walking down the street, I'm consistently seriously tempted to ask random strangers if I can hold their babies, just long enough to steal a whiff of the delicious baby smell off their precious little heads and for the baby's body to mold so perfectly into my arms. This is new. I guess this affirms the theory that women have biological clocks because I can hear the tick-tock loud and clear. This consequently got me thinking about that intimidating M word: marriage. My coworker once told me about how his wife cried hysterically for the whole duration of their honeymoon. Like clockwork, she would wake up each morning, crying uncontrollably, look to her newlywed husband and shrug her shoulders whimpering, "I don't know why." I immediately felt sorry for him but understood her disposition. From the morning after the wedding until forever, waking up next to the same person hardly appealed to me. It's logical that I have this point of view because I've never legitimately been in love or had a long-term relationship and, unfortunately and on occasion painfully, I see people come in and out of my life like an automatic revolving door. Despite these deterrents, I'm an eternal optimist and believe, more than anything else, in true love. But to put it plainly, I believe it's nothing short of a miracle when two people find themselves moving in the same direction on the same path, and in God's impeccable timing, decide to take vows to spend the rest of their lives together, for better or worse. It's pretty entertaining to think that once upon a time, our parents each had separate lives before they met. To me, as silly as it sounds, it seems more feasible to believe that all our parents have simply always been together because we never knew them apart (this is actually kind of true for my parents who have known each other since kindergarten). After almost 29 years of marriage, through good times and really hellish, horrendous times, it's comforting to know that my mom and dad still make each other laugh daily and manage to bring out the absolute best in one another. To that, I believe there may be more hope and sense in vowing to stay best friends forever; exclusive best friends who just happen to be married and have beautiful children together. When the M word is presented in such a way, it's not so daunting anymore. And although I haven't found "the one" just yet, it's exciting to think that one day a man will stand beside me who will make me want to make a vow to be his one and only best friend forever, til death do us part.

"Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous." Carrie, Sex & the City.

Friday, March 19, 2010

all that glitters. not gold. In fact, it's meaningless and superficial. Many would consider this point of view honorable, even noble. But when the same apathetic feelings are projected toward life itself, it's flirting with danger. (Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!- see Ecclesiastes). How do you resolve and eventually overcome the sense that nothing we say/do/feel has any purpose? How would anyone be expected to wake up in the morning & be able to face the many challenges of the day, all the while feeling so overwhelmed and completely uninspired at the same time? I could be too much or not enough and it just wouldn't matter; it would make no impact whatsoever. Suffering from 'post vacation depression' (a term which deemed me "spoiled" by some friends), this is precisely what I felt all last week. I was consistently surrounded by others but still felt indescribably lonely and empty. Like Eve when she discovered she was naked, but definitely not as tragic or dramatic, I was suddenly aware of a painful void inside, eating away at any contentment that was left in me. But ironically, I couldn't even feel terrified. I simply felt nothing. If this is what I'm going to experience every time I come back from a tropical retreat, I'd rather relinquish the opportunity & stay put in NJ...actually, I immediately retract this statement (there's just so much beauty out there. Phew! Good thing I snapped out of that). But I'm digressing from my initial point. Eventually, I couldn't stand the indifference any longer. I'm typically not one to feel nothing. It was yet another instance that made me so desperate and hungry for God. I'm all too complacent singing and reading about Jesus being the reason and sufficient for my every need, but to remove the cliche and realize and accept this as the absolute truth is another thing. I couldn't quite articulate what I believed could remedy my predicament but I knew I needed something to penetrate through this exhausting funk. So I prayed a very elementary and humble prayer: "God, show me you love me." If I was forced to describe accurately in words what followed after this plea to God, it wouldn't do justice to the rescuing relief that I got from His divine intervention. Over the course of the next few days, the underlying panic gradually dissipated and was replaced with the assurance that I matter and my life is exceedingly significant. It was as if God had record of every time I belly laughed or shed tears that I would rather not recall. In retrospect, I see that the problem resided when I focused too much on myself, my needs/wants, my issues. But when I shifted my gaze and direction at someone infinitely greater than me, I was able to once again grasp my identity as royalty, a child of the King. Just as in the way physical pain & discomfort may be an indicator that we are not 100% healthy, the awareness of the absence of God similarly reveals the need for a routine checkup and minor operations. And I think it's OK to admit that we are not OK and need help every once in a while. It's all part of the process of becoming less like the world and more like Jesus, from glory to glory.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


The treadmill spoiled me this winter. The conditions were always reliable and consistent: temperature steady at 70 degrees, water fountain within 10 feet away, ESPN displayed on the flat screen, bright lighting (albeit fluorescent and unflattering), & smooth trails. No matter how wretched the weather was outside, I could always rely on my sanctuary in the gym, running in 30-45 minutes intervals at 6.0 mph with a 5 minute cool-down. There were no surprises or challenges, nothing standing in the gap besides my own personal restraint and the threat of succumbing to my laziness. If I felt particularly tired or out of breath during a run, the end of the track was just a push of a button away. Honestly speaking though, each time I stepped off the treadmill, I never received a sense of satisfaction. Sure, it took effort and motivation to get my heartrate up, I definitely worked up a sweat and my legs felt sore somedays, but I literally went nowhere. Regardless of if I ran 5 miles or 15, I was exactly where I started with nothing to account for it except for burned calories. But now that spring is fast approaching and the great expanse of the parks and streets are beckoning me to tread through them, I figured it's time to venture outdoors. Afterall, it's been almost 4 months of simulating actual running on a stationary high-tech machine with a belt that goes round and round. So as I expected, today was rough. It was chillier than I typically prefer and my ears began to ache. As I jogged through Central Park, I had to maneuver through the clusters of pedestrians & mind the fellow runners sharing my path. Making my way back down 5th avenue, I had to stay alert to avoid the oncoming traffic and aggressive bikers. The later and darker it got, the more difficult it was to bypass the potholes, uneven roads, patches of slippery sidewalks and I relied on the streetlamps to light the path. As cumbersome and inconvenient as it may be on certain days, there's nothing quite as liberating as running through wide open spaces. With the next several months of opportunities to run outside ahead of me, I expect there will be times the sun will be beating down on my shoulders leaving farmer's tans and sunburns. I'm sure there will be days I get caught in the rain when I'm still miles away from my destination. If there's a wreckless driver on the road one day, I might even run the risk of getting hit, even with my reflective gear on. And maybe, like it has happened in the past, during a long run I'll take one too many wrong turns and lose my way. I'll look around and find that I've wandered off too far and can't find my way back. But no matter how lost I am or hopeless I feel, I always eventually manage to find the road that leads to home. There's really no other option. There's no "stop" button or easy way out. Even the familiar paths will change through the seasons and wear & tear. Looking back, I realize that whether I have a tremendous run when I actually feel as if I could run all the way to Kansas or even when I struggle through every excrutiating mile & my shins are begging me to stop, I still finish feeling victorious. I know it mattered. And such is life. It's not just all about sweat & pain & endurance though. There are sweet rewards along the way.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


It's rare that a thought enters my mind, like a divine or magical encounter, that I can legitimately point to as an epiphany or revelation from God. I suppose one could say the circumstance was anticlimactic & somewhat bittersweet, coming back home after a week of escaping familiarity and detoxing in paradise. But as the pilot announced that we were making our final descent back home to each one's sobering reality, I looked outside the window and couldn't help but feel a little overwhelmed at the perspective thousands of feet above the ground. The buildings, houses, and lakes looked like tiny lego pieces I could easily displace and there was no sign of actual life apart from the cars that seemed to be moving in slow motion. It suddenly occurred to me how minuscule I am in this vast world. I felt so insignificant and also a bit embarrassed at how I believed my life was just about me, my actions and what I make of myself. It's difficult to shake off the sentiment that I'm in control of my destiny and life is only comprised of what I can visibly see, however beautiful or mundane it may be at any given moment. I closed my eyes and tried to take it all in, the stark truth that life is so much bigger than I could possibly grasp given my limited wisdom & experience. Then as I stood at the brink of becoming depressed and despondent, God reminded me of the times I could almost literally hear His voice, as if He knew exactly what I was feeling and knew precisely what I needed to hear and believing, if only for a second, that I had the God of the universe all to myself. I thought of just last week when He spoke to me so powerfully and gently without words but through a supernatural, healing peace and grace so real that I couldn't deny that I was His beloved. It's revelations such as these that convince me of God's hand in my life and there really is more than we could ever begin to comprehend. Whether it is due to this expanded view or simply my low tolerance for idleness & boredom, I just can't live the same way anymore. Neither do I want to. I want my actions to have purpose and for my time & energy spent on relationships to deepen and enrich those around me. Then I began to wonder about all the amazing opportunities we must miss out on daily because of fear: fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of taking risks. Maybe that's why we stop having fun as we get older. We let fear overrule our desire for greatness and fizzle out any inertia we could've mustered up to take more risks. The real tragedy is when we look back on our lives, maybe even in just the past few years, we won't have any memorable stories to share. We won't be able to relive the time when we overcame a giant obstacle, stepped up when someone else needed us, or did more than was required or expected. Idleness, if we allow it, will rob us of the best years of our lives. That is, of course, if we're content living with a life sans passion, meaning & love. I'll take the good with the bad, the losses with the victories, if only for the sake of not being lukewarm. But more so for the hope of one day seeing Jesus face to face & hearing "well done."