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In truth.

I’ve been thinking recently that the world is full of “I love you” whores. People throw around possibly the most impactful phrase on earth like it’s a toy. You’ve dated someone for three weeks, and you love them. Someone gives you a gift, and you love them. You think someone’s incredibly cute, and you love them.

Everytime I use the phrase, I try to be very conscious of who I’m using it with and how I feel about that person. I admit that I’m guilty of misusing the phrase, and I sometimes even use it haphazardly without considering the consequences.

But I’d like to try something new. I’d like to try something a little OGDAD-ish centered around God: showing and telling people that I love them everyday. Contradictory, right? Here I am, griping about “I love you” whores and confessing my own abuse of the words, and now I want to use them everyday.

The difference? When I show and tell people I love them, I want it to be completely, one hundred percent true. I want my thought in that moment not to be “Wow, I really like this person and I think they are wonderful.” I want to think “God loves this person, and they are wonderful. And so I love them and desire for them to know just how wonderful they are.”

If I myself am aiming to discover the truth about God’s love for me, then I have to believe that God loves others as well. And that through me, He can show His love for them. Them meaning people from all walks of life, all religions, all races, all places, all beliefs, all sexualities, all genders, all lives. I have to believe that God doesn’t discriminate in the way that humans do.

Because for some people, the words “Jesus loves you.” mean nothing. But the words “I love you.” can mean everything.

I once promised my life to those I loved; I would have gone to the ends of the earth for them just to protect them from an ounce of harm. And I always felt in my heart that they didn’t think much of me, that when they saw me, they saw very little. And I always knew that I’d hurt them somehow, in ways that I never intended and that I’d carry with me for a very, very long time.

But now I promise my life to Jesus, to the things that He has to offer me and to others through me. He has love.

—–

Happy 1337 views!

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All you can do…

… is try your best.

We’re not called to try and be anything more than we are, right? We may be called to do more than we’ve been doing or more than we think we can do, but at the end of the day, we are human. And for that, we are limited.

When talking to people and revealing to them an opportunity in their life quite similar to the opportunities I’ve been provided, I’m rather unwilling to supersede their preconceived notions about the world and themselves. They’re entitled to what they want to believe in, and if they want to change that, it’s up to them to desire to do so.

I can’t even follow my own advice. I recently told someone that if Jesus can change entire lives, then He can change perspectives. There shouldn’t be any doubt about that.

But changing perspectives is by no means easy. People have been wrapped up in their ways for their entire lives; they’re not obligated to change what’s worked for them for so long, and certainly have no authority to tell them that I believe that they should.

There’s the external influences, also. Other people will hinder other people from change. I don’t get that. Let other people decide what they want to do. Gosh.

I’m conflicted. What’s pushing too hard and what’s pushing too little? I’m stubborn. I don’t want to give up, but at this point, a big part of me wants to. But I shouldn’t give up, right? Not as long as I see potential, I don’t think.

I need to pray more often.

Then there’s Courtney.

On Friday, I met a wheelchair-bound woman named Courtney. She said that she was applying for graduate school in film and law here, but I’m not sure if she was… clear on her entire situation? It was immediately clear that she was homeless; there was a sleeping bag perched on the back of her wheelchair. And she was toting around a bag of recyclables that she needed to redeem.

I met her in Ackerman, where she asked where a good place to get a cup of hot water would be. I told her to ask the people at the tea store in the food court and left to go to my appointment. On my way back to work, I came across her again on the patio next to Kerckhoff Coffee House. So I said, “Okay, God, clearly you want me to talk to this person.”

I asked if she ever got the cup of hot water that she was looking for, and she said no. So I went inside the Coffee House and got one for her (really, who charges fifteen cents for water?). She needed it for her ramen.

What occurred after that was a thorough description of her present situation; she had submitted her application for film school, but it had disappeared in the electronic system. She had to put off applying for law school because she wasn’t prepared for the LSAT. Now, as skeptical as I was about that being true, she clearly felt passionate and upset about it all. So I told her that she should talk to the Admissions Office and stake her claim to her application.

Then I asked about her living situation and she had traveled down here from… Santa Barbara, I believe? Where previously there had been fires. Courtney was apparently incredibly afraid of fires. So much that she couldn’t bear the thought of living in an apartment for fear of it setting on fire.

Soon, I found that I had to head off to work, so I bid Courtney farewell and told her to be safe. I gave her my e-mail address so that she could contact me and keep me up to date with her situation. She hasn’t e-mailed me since; I’m concerned, but what more could I have done and what more could I do now?

We’re only human.

OGDAD Update:
Monday: Helped to make something special for two special people!
Sunday: Morale-ing for Dance Marathon… Round TWO!
Saturday: Morale-ing for Dance Marathon!
Friday: Talked to Courtney. More above!
Thursday: Helped clean up at Ice Cream Social.
Wednesday: Uh… ah… yeah, I won’t lie. I got nothing.
Tuesday: Helped clean up at Mark Study.

This OGDAD thing isn’t perfect, you know.

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Asymmetry.

So in the “About” page for this blog, I talk about my old blog and how it was just me complaining about my life. A while ago, I decided to revisit that blog and read it all over again, and it was kind of mind-blowing. Most things I wrote about in such a way that only I would know what it meant, so it was like looking back on some internal moments that I had back in high school. And the reality is that both this blog and my old one are portions of my story that are critical; the different between them is striking. http://rachellewong.blogspot.com/

So I’m pretty exhausted today. Physically, that is. Before I slept last night, I had only slept about five hours in two-and-a-half days; I’ve never actually been tired to the point where I couldn’t will myself to stay awake. But I did get some good time in; just this morning was a bit of a drag. I’m super sore from kendo. And this canker sore in the back of my throat is making me miserable. And my left hand middle finger… is being weird.

Something I did realize as Cindy was giving me a back massage yesterday, though. I’m not symmetrical. Not at all. One of my eyes has a double eyelid and the other doesn’t; my middle fingers are different lengths because of an accident in sixth grade; my knees are shaped differently; my big toes are, too; and my thumbs are just plain nothing like each other. I don’t know, it’s weird.

Meanwhile, I’m stoked that UCLA Kendo took the Yuhihai Cup once again this past Sunday! It was really exciting to watch all of my kendo friends in action; I hope that I can be that awesome one day and participate in our tournament.

This idea of simplifying my life is working out pretty well for me. I know what I have to do at the moment, so I do it. It was a thought that occurred to me a couple days ago that kind of just made it for me: you’ll only have today once. So be productive, do what you’ve got to do, and above all else, enjoy it. I have to remind myself of that now and then.

OGDAD Update:
Yesterday: Service Learning Week 2: Home-Delivered Meals
Sunday: Volunteered at Third Annual Yuhihai Kendo Tournament.

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Part I: Outlook
This is going to be the last… dead serious thing I’ll be writing here for a while. Not because I don’t want to share anymore with the blogging community or because everything’s all fine and dandy now; more due to the fact that I really have to spend some time looking at the forest, not the trees. Doing this everyday is like looking a tree, or just a couple. If I spend more time in the forest, I’ll see things in a much broader view. Also, I expect a lot of incoherence out of myself (see last post) in the next part of my journey.

But a short explanation is due anyway.

It took me a while to figure it out for myself, but the entire talk about anger and reconciliation made me realize how much anger exists in my life and how much reconciliation is required. People have hurt me, and I have hurt people. Accidentally and intentionally; in small ways and in large. We look out and we see a world that’s filled with disaster and hatred, but what about our own lives? We’re all collateral damage of each other’s existence, and we all contribute to the damage.

But me… as much as I don’t like to think my life is any worse than anyone else’s, I do believe that I’ve caused a lot of harm in my life, more than the average person. There have been times when I’ve been so enamored by rage that I’ve hurt people, physically and emotionally, that I claim to love.

And I did think that I was done with that. But then came the realization that there hasn’t been a time yet when I’ve had cause to be extremely angry, likely because I’m surrounded by good people. Yet I know that there will be a day when that happens, because it’s an inevitability of life. Or at least, that’s what I think. Someone says or does something without the intention of hurting you, but you are hurt; so you retaliate. That’s how wars are started. That’s how relationships are broken.

I was actually once told that humans only have the capacity to destroy. You can disagree and say, “You’re wrong; look at all of the progress we’ve made!” But where does all of that progress lead? Small arms, assault vehicles, weapons of mass destruction. Our race has become so entangled in conflict with each other that there are organizations composed of millions of members attempting to stop it. So you say, “But those people are doing good!” But the reality is that they perpetuate the cycle. How much can millions do in a world of billions? And what do they really offer? Good samaritan by day, but when they go home, they wear clothes and eat food which can be traced back to funds used for the very things they attempt to combat. And it’s true: they can’t help it. Nobody can trace back their every move to the essential core of it all.

And I also won’t deny that there are some truly good people in the world.

I’m simply not one of them.

It’s the knowledge that hurts me the most. The knowledge that, in all probability, the people I love will hurt me, and I will hurt them. It scares me to think about that, but I acknowledge that there hasn’t been one person that I love that I haven’t hurt. As much as I talk about having grown my heart and going through a transformation that Jesus has started in me, can I truly say that I will never hurt anyone ever again? I’m surrounded by love; a love that could end in pain for both sides. And only time will tell.

————–

Part II: A return to simpler things.

Awkward to transition from one to the next like this, but I think this’ll be a breath of fresh air!

This is the Nom Nom truck! I saw that it was going to be in the Court of Sciences on Thursday, so I intentionally brought my camera. I didn’t get to eat any that day, though, because I didn’t have time between work to get any. It made me smile big, though, for sure! This truck is ridiculously cute. Like me.

And this picture’s for Esther! I know how much she likes taking pictures of the sky, and this was most definitely an amazing sky to take a picture of! My camera somehow gets really good lens flare. Well, it can be considered bad, but I like how it makes my pictures sometimes.

Wesley looking at me for not getting a picture of him blowing out his candle. Oops! My camera was in auto-focus still from getting the waitress to take the group picture, so it took a while for it to go. My bad! Still, he and his ice cream sandwich look funny here haha.

OGDAD Update
Today: Gave leftovers of Pad See Ew to… everyone haha.
Yesterday: Caught dinner with the Paula! And we talked. And were cute. (Does that even count?) I’m getting really creative with these…
Thursday: Helped Tammy with kendo tournament volunteer “training.”
Wednesday: Got meal for Earl Duque! Who now has his Bruin Card back.
Tuesday: Let people borrow my special Mark Study markers! A lot of people. Especially Daniel Allen.

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Their smiles.

So I realized something while I was doing my morning routine today that made me, well, pretty happy.

Two weeks ago, while preparing to give my testimony in front of all of Catalyst, I was scared for two reasons: one, what insane person is actually comfortable doing that in front of a crowd of their peers? And two, I didn’t want people judging me for who I was or what I’d done. It wasn’t even just things that I’d done years ago, but more recent events, too. I mean, that’s how my time at UCLA began, right? Not telling anyone anything about myself for fear of being judged.

But something struck me today while loafing around in my room in the morning light. Nobody, not one person has yet to come up to me and say, “You’re an idiot.” Well, I doubt anyone would do that literally, but I mean with the way they speak to me or look at me. Nobody’s eyes go, “Wow, you’re jacked up.”

And maybe that’s because we’re jacked up. A few people have come up to me and told me about how they could relate to my story, and it’s helped me to realize that my life’s not the only one that’s been on the rocks before. I’ve been thanked repeatedly for sharing with everyone, and at this point I just think, “It wasn’t for me. It was for everyone else to see the glory of God.” So thanks for the people who said thanks; it makes me feel like I’ve reached people’s hearts with my words.

And I like that. I really do. Because at the end of the day, seeing their smiles is what keeps me going.

—–

OGDAD Update:
Oh, crap, when was the last time I did this?
Thursday: Fetched food for Leslie. Mm, Rendezvous TWICE!
Friday: Brought Paula’s stuff to cars.
Saturday: Exposure… haha, does that count?
Sunday: Vacuumed at Frosh Con location.
Monday: Service learning at HSMPC. Called out bingo for the elderly!

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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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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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