Friday, April 30, 2010

first love.

On my way to work, I witnessed a man literally laying on his back on a busy, filthy NYC street corner, just to get a good shot of a random building I've never noticed before and probably never will again. Everyday as I walk through Times Square or down 5th Avenue, there are thousands of tourists snapping shots of images I regularly pass by and don't pay any mind to. I remember when I first moved to the city almost 10 years ago (wow. I feel old!). Everything little detail about the city exhilarated me. I was fascinated by the bright lights, intrigued by the gorgeous socialites, and invigorated by the nightlife. The stench of the subway stations in the dead of summer or the crazy bikers and pushy pedestrians didn't bother me. Much like being in love for the first time or comparable to the butterflies you feel at the brink of each new prospect of love. According to the beholder, the object of one's affection can do no wrong, even the most annoying habits are endearing, and every statement out of his/her mouth is poetry. Time moves in slow motion when you're together, sappy love songs all of a sudden have deeper meaning, and you have a new found appreciate and outlook on life. So how does this hopeful, passionate and blissful season transform into an ugly, resentful and insipid existence for so many? After years, even decades, of being together and seeing your mate's face just one too many times, I figure it would be easy to disregard what it was initially that was so enthralling about this person. Or maybe we get too comfortable and take them for granted and allow the familiarity to breed contempt. Whatever it is, however seemingly imminent, and at the risk of sounding naive and inexperienced, I hope and pray that I never forget what enamored me to fall in love in the first place. This got me thinking about what I consider to be the first and only constant, real, and volitional love in my life. More profound and stronger than any vow we can make with our spouse is the relationship we have with our Creator. When I first experienced His love, I was captivated by the promises and parables, I was convinced that every sunset and rainbow was specifically for me, and every praise song I heard was angelic and moved me to stand in reverence and wonder. And now after years of knowing this love, I'm renewing my commitment to never forget the power of the cross that saved me or the grace that redeemed and restored me. I'm coming back to my first love and believing and asserting that it's only on this unshakable foundation that I will build all my other relationships because there really is no other way.

To true love in 2010. Cheers*

Monday, April 19, 2010


I set my alarm for 6:20 am on Sunday morning, but woke up a few minutes before 6 am to the sound of my own sobbing and a broken record in my head playing "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." Naturally, I was confused and surprised at my own apologetic stance particularly toward this specific person. It's been 3 years since our relationship came to a rude and abrupt halt, and although I had forgiven him years ago, my feelings went straight from extreme hatred and bitterness to indifference. Despite the fact that we see each other, albeit in passing, once a week, I hardly ever think twice about him or care to revisit the disaster that caused me so much pain and utter brokenness. So anyone could probably easily understand my confusion Sunday morning. After all, I was undeniably the victim who was owed the profuse apologies; he should really be the one begging me for my forgiveness. Never in my lifetime did I ever think I would feel it necessary to offer him an apology for what happened between us. But in the clarity and stillness that accompanies many mornings, however backwards or ridiculous as it seems, I was sincerely so sorry for everything. I was sorry for hating him for so long that it literally physically hurt each time I thought about him, I was sorry for judging him and inadvertently putting myself in the place of God, I was sorry for letting my pride get in the way of ever saying "hello" again, and I was sorry that I withheld the grace that could've freed and released me so much sooner. When you think about it, we've all been wronged, some more than others. But in the end we're all in the same boat, desperate for God's grace and in need of His forgiveness, mercy and kindness.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

the grass is always green.

When I was growing up in Kansas, there were countless times where I felt I couldn't wait to get out of my parents' house and move far away. During my last year of college, all I could think about was graduation so I could finally have my independence, start working full-time, and never have to finish another art project or sit through excruciating 3 hour lectures on textiles. And even now, there are many things in the future I'm anxious and impatient about: marriage, kids, the weekend, my hair growing out, and especially football season. Only in retrospect do I regret not thoroughly enjoying all the different seasons in my life, although they might have seemed unbearable at the time. This past weekend, while hiking at Bear Mountain, I was reminded that it's not just all about the view from the top of the mountain. Sure, it was incredibly breathtaking and felt amazing to have climbed 1.5 miles vertically to reach our final destination. But when I reflect back on the hike, what sticks out even more is everything in between the first step on the foot of the trail and the view from the peak of the mountain: the times we wanted to give up but kept pushing forward, losing our breath only to find it again on the many rest stops along the way, pausing to take pictures of our great adventures, and of course, plenty of laughter. I'm taking this as a wake-up call & lesson to enjoy today for what it is and do the same tomorrow and the day after that. All that other stuff I claim I "can't wait" for will inevitably come in the allotted time, and when it does I'll look back and have no regrets of wasting my life away in always wishing and hoping for what's next.