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Archive for January, 2010

That was an interesting weekend. It totaled about forty-eight hours, sixteen mood swings, six worship sessions, two awkward waking up’s, and one big lesson about love.

Going into the weekend, I don’t think anyone was sure about what would happen. We had expectations, hopes, things that we asked God to do for us in our time there. And He responded. Personally, I was moving back and forth between a personal frustration with having to drop the Daily Bruin and wanting to be at Frosh Con. And what didn’t help was that I had high expectations for our exposure in South Central LA, but I felt like I hadn’t gained much from it. I’m still struggling to seek the deeper meaning of that day and to grow a heart for those who live in physical, emotional, and spiritual poverty. But what I did realize thereafter was that the Daily Bruin wasn’t the most important thing I could’ve done that weekend: Frosh Con was. Not only that, but I remembered why I loved photography in the first place: because I could take pictures and capture moments of my friends. Whether I’m in the Daily Bruin or not really doesn’t change that; in fact, it probably gets in the way of it. I have no interest in taking pictures of basketball or volleyball players for our school or a broad view of Bruin Walk. So why did I join the newspaper? I’m not sure anymore; maybe it’s because I’d forgotten the core of my love for the art of photography.

The biggest bonus of the weekend, though, was learning about love and the ways that we could share it with those around us. Honestly, hearing about it at first, I didn’t know if what I had to offer to others. I thought that I, who had constantly been hurt by the ones I love and didn’t believe that I had any talent or unique characteristic to connect to people through, couldn’t possibly know how to give love freely to others. And in thinking about this and through talking with Michelle Kim, I saw that these things had no ability whatsoever to hinder my ability to pour my heart into others; that the broken can heal the broken and that you don’t really need anything special to do so; you just need love. And even though I grew up surrounded by hurt and hate, it could’ve only made my heart grow more for those who had felt or are feeling that same pain. Loving wasn’t just about looking over yourself and your capacity to do so; it’s about offering what you can, however little or much, to others in order to ease the poverty in their lives.

Besides, apparently I can write. And I know I can take photos. And I know I can love. Having ever doubted that last one was foolish; I thought that being damaged meant that I had a closed heart. But I don’t think that’s true, at least by the way that I feel about people and how my heart breaks in seeing them be hurt.

So I’d really like to just be able to stop being so concerned about what’s going to happen five, ten years down the line and live for what I can do today. “It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into doing it.” And this boundless, unconditional love that everyone has the ability to give can be used everyday. For me, I just need to start living out my faith and put down all of my shame and stigmas over being a Christian. I was asking myself who I was to be the type of person that asks people to go to church events and to ask themselves about how they personally feel about God and religion. And the reality is, well, that I was being a Change Agent. At first, I had thought that I was turning into the kind of person that I despised: the sort that go door to door trying to convert you into whatever they want you to be lest you be damned. But I’m not; I’m turning into a person who loves and wants to share that love with others. And at the end of the day… I like those people. I really do.

And what can I do today or this week to live that out? Well, I think I’ll invite someone to Can This Wait and go with them to help them explore what Jesus has to offer. I’m not too sure who yet, but a few people come to mind; I have to pray and think about it before I set my mind to it. And every time I see someone sitting alone or with their head down or just someone who looks like they need somebody, I want the courage to go up to them and ask them how their day is. But I think I can progress towards that instead of just jumping into it; it’s kind of hard, you know? And I think I’ll check out that student leadership meeting after Catalyst on Thursday. I may or may not be a good (Paula and I have decided that “leader” is a misnomer) person for the job, and I may or may not have much to offer others in the scope of it all; but if there’s anything in this world that I can do for anyone, shouldn’t I just do it?

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OGDAD Update:
-Today: Held a door for someone in front of Acacia.
-Yesterday: Held an umbrella over a complete stranger.

Did I skip a day? I’ll figure it out later. And now…

What do you think? I don’t know, something about this photo just brings a great joy to my heart; I almost cry when I see it. It’s probably nothing special, but I will say that it’s probably my favorite photo that I’ve taken. Even now, as I’m ebbing between frustration and content, I like to throw all of my windows aside and just stare at it (it’s my wallpaper). For a while, I was concerned that I couldn’t take any incredible pictures with my camera; it’s a bit dated and the lens is starting to show signs of wear from loss of lens cap. But God proved me wrong in like half a day by giving me this, and I’m very thankful for it!

So I got in trouble today by Alex Slevcove and Michelle Kim… for password protecting things, of all reasons. But I don’t have an answer for why I do it, other than the obvious fact of my last post being incredibly rude and angsty. But I think I’ll draw on a lesson from our latest Mark Study: Jesus comes for those who are in need, who are sick and acknowledge their ailment. And like 6’3″ Earl Duque told me earlier today, I live in a community. I don’t intend for my life or any parts of it to be a secret, so they shouldn’t be. Well, that’s easier said than done. I have plenty of secrets. And someday, I’m guessing, they’ll all be out there, and by that time, I’ll have more. Vicious cycle, right?

But as for my weakness, my sickness, my need; these things I can share with everyone. “Trust those you love; love those you trust.”

So I’m going to un-password protect everything now. Are you watching?

PS Yes, it is 4 AM. At this moment, I’m sad that I don’t have my camera because Philip Silao is wearing a Snuggie and studying; it’s hilarious. This is a picture perfect opport– I have Photobooth. Watch out for pictures later!

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Words in my head right now: Fuck this shit. I don’t know what’s up with me today. It’s a laundry list of negative emotion: upset, angry, frustrated, exhausted, impatient, discontented, unsatisfied. Something about yesterday made me think… What am I doing?

Since when was I the person who gave up something deeply important for church?
Since when was I the person who was inviting people to church events?
Since when was I the person who spent entire nights talking to people and telling them that I believe their attendance at a church event would be good for them?

I’m pretty sure that who I am is the exact opposite of… not who I wanted to be, but who I expected to be. I kind of hate that. God, Jesus, fellowship. These are an inevitable reality of my life now; I can neither deny their existence nor escape their gravity. But part of me still wishes that none of it had ever happened… Why?

I’ve never believed in any of these things in my life, ever. So why now? I’m not denouncing everything that’s changed about me and my life in the past few weeks… I’m just confused by it all. I mean, wasn’t there another time and another place where I needed Jesus much more than I do now? I was… content with life. Granted, it’s much less satisfactory than what I have now, but it was simple and pure and fun.

So where’s all this gone? I don’t know. Somewhere along the way I picked up too many things to do with not enough hours in the week to do it. School. Work. Intervarsity. Kendo. The Daily Bruin.

Oh, that’s right. I’m out of the Daily Bruin for this quarter. At first, I thought I was okay with this reality; that I’d be fine with giving this up… No. In what universe have I ever sacrificed my interests for… anything? And for what? I know nothing about Frosh Con, only this burning sensation in me that tells me that I should go. What is that anyway? God? Jesus? Intuition? Instinct? What I hate is that it feels like I never had a choice. I like to be able to choose. To say yes or no. To go one way or the other. But in this case… I don’t know, someone else has the steering wheel.

And I guess therein lies the answer: the reasoning by which I simply don’t give a damn at the moment. Intervarsity, Kendo, and The Daily Bruin. My priorities are skewed. Yes, work tops the list. But… school is at rock bottom. I just don’t care anymore. And somewhere in my rather angry walk to work today, I quantified all of this into words.

There are two types of people in the world: those who justify the means by the end, and those who justify the end by the means. I am the prior. What does this mean? It means that if I can’t perceive any particular goal or endpoint or final destination for what I’m doing, it’s pretty much pointless. And I guess that’s what’s happened: I no longer see any sort of end to school. So what if I get a degree? Med school that I can’t afford? What would I do then? Become a paramedic? I don’t need to be in school for that.

But another explanation’s cropped up in my head this morning. I simply haven’t had enough time to be myself lately. What we learned in Mark Study yesterday feels like it applies here: I’m letting off that I’m better than I actually am. If it’s one thing I hate, it’s admitting weakness to other people. And though others might think that, in having recently decided to follow Christ, that I’m at a strong point right now… I’m not.

Imagine being a dark room for a very long time and then stepping out into the sunlight. That’s how it is right now. I’m disoriented, confused, lost, and I’m happy to be out in the light, but it’s blinding. And right now, as I’m questioning everything and drowning in my own doubt, it’s kind of like I’m shielding my eyes from it all.

I realized last night that I’m comfortable in the dark. It’s not great, it’s not happy, it’s not even contenting, but it’s comfortable. And sometimes I’d like to just be there for a while instead of having this world thrown at me.

God, I don’t know what to do. SOS.

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Ick.

I woke up feeling… not great today. I’m sort of split between maybe half a dozen or so concerns at the moment; life is not being the simple thing that I want it to be.

I miss the days when I enjoyed the better things in life, and that wasn’t even too long ago. Thinking about it now, I can, but I have to take the time to comprehensively think about it before I can smile.

Kendo, for instance. I love kendo. It’s a shame that I couldn’t practice yesterday (partly due to my chilling out with goodsociety for so long and because of my hip), but I still enjoy watching and photographing it. When I’m there, the only thing on my mind is how I can improve and how I can adjust my white balance to take clearer photos.

Speaking of goodsociety, those kids together make one amazing band! I’m envious of their individual and group talent, and the truly captivating part is that they’re all our age. I wish that more people knew how crazy good they are; give credit where credit is due, you know? It’s so random how I photograph them and make wallpapers and banners for them, but I enjoy using my creative talents to tell a story about other people. Hence the camera.

And that leads me to OGDADing. Always makes my day a little bit brighter. Yesterday, Paula, Sarah, and I left Lester (Leslie and Esther) a little gift on Leslie’s laptop. Afufufu. I wonder if that counts as a good deed… Today, well, I don’t know what’ll happen today, but who does?

But right now, at this moment, it’s all about studying for the quiz and midterm I have tomorrow for the classes I haven’t been going to. I’m not too sure what’s up with my attitude these days; I really don’t care about school right now. I might be reading and taking notes right now, but there’s no intent to it. I should figure this out soon before I’m on academic probation…

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The song in my head.

I… don’t play the piano. Never have. Never took lessons given by old, Chinese women. Never learned how to read notes. But I understand the basic concept of the piano, and maybe that’s what allows me to make music, or cacophony. Most likely the latter. Still, when I sit down and play the piano, it’s the same song every time. Well, not the same song, per se, but definitely the same tune. It changes each time I play, but it’s always recognizable. So here, probably the only musical piece of mine that I will ever record.

Revealing Heart

It’s probably not fantastic, but what I understand about it is that it’s straight from the heart. So I like it, because listening to it is kind of like telling myself a story. I just don’t know what the story means.

Anyway, first midterm went down today. I either aced it or failed it. Yeah, it’s one of those. Time to get caught up on everything else.

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Yesterday and today.

Hard-pressed to think about any good deeds I did yesterday, none come to mind. And I guess that really is the challenge: doing good things even when, in your mind, you can’t remember that you’ve made the commitment. Because remembering something that’s going on in the background is much more difficult than remembering what’s in the foreground. The background is this; the foreground is studying, work, going out, having fun, being social. So maybe it’s not just about making the world a better place, but also making yourself a better person. Because when things are happening in the foreground and the background; that’s when you know that your time is always being spent wisely.

Today, though, I got to help Leslie carry her stuff back up to her room!

Leslie Jonan + Ugly Doll = ...?!

This girl hurt her neck iceblocking the other day. She, for some reason, then hauls around three weeks worth of clothes. Honestly, it’s not that heavy (though she thinks it is), but carrying around stuff like that could make her hurt her neck. Again. And I already feel bad enough since iceblocking was done partially for me.

So the adventure starts anew; OGDAD all over again.

(The Facebook group is really kicking it off.)

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Preposterous: How could I have gone three weeks without learning a thing from two out of three classes? Now I have midterms in two of them and a quiz in the other. I’m prepared for one midterm, which is tomorrow. To prepare for the other two classes, I’d have to do maybe two or three chemistry homeworks and read maybe one hundred pages about aging. By Wednesday. Doable? Of course. But I can’t help but sit here and ponder how it is that I got to this ridiculous place.

School is the worst part of school. I’ll be shameless for once and admit that I’m actually pretty gosh darn smart, but I never do anything with it. I’d rather barely get by and have fun in the process. As many have said: yes, I’m here to learn; yes, I’m paying for the classes I don’t go to; and yes, this is what I build the foundation of my future on. Yet, however much of the slogans of academia are thrown at me, I find myself quite apathetic to the point. Maybe it’s because I’ve figured out that my dream job actually requires merely a few months of vocational training, at best. And that it’s what I want to do with my life, in a way. But my family would never settle for it.

Why am I in school, again?

In other news, good news! I wrote previously about how not going to Frosh Con isn’t really an option, so banking on the fact that I’m going to go, I decided to invite someone to come along for the ride!

This is Ben. Ben Thacker (pre-haircut that was then ruined and is now required again). He’s agreed to come to Frosh Con next weekend and to give Weekly Mark Study a shot! I’m really excited for him to join us, and I hope everyone welcomes him with the open hearts I know they have. If it’s one person who I want to see the things that I’ve seen in the past few months, it’s him. I pray that God meets him in the places in his life that he needs Him, just like He met me. I’m stoked to see what happens!

Speaking of Frosh Con, I know for sure that I’m going. It’s just a matter of figuring out whether I’ll be able to come back for Photo or not. I’ve been praying about it (a lot), and I think it’ll all work out somehow. And speaking of Weekly Mark Study, it’s on Tuesdays at 7:30 PM! We should have dinner with everyone beforehand, because we’re cool like that. I’m really happy that we were able to put it on the one day I’m available during the week, but I’m also really sad that a couple of people have to leave us for it. I really hope that they find new homes with one of the other studies, and I’ll miss them a lot.

Once upon a time, I thought that prayers fell on deaf ears… but I’m sure God is listening, right?

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