Sunday, December 25, 2016

Holiday Thoughts

For winter break, my brother and I took a 12 hour drive down to Georgia, where my parents are. So I'll be spending the week and a half here, in Newnan, a pretty rural town. Finally, some peace and quiet, away from the hustle bustle of the campus city life.

Take meee homeeee

It's been 3 days. THREE days with my family, and I got really angry/fed up with them/myself. I felt like they treated me like I was a baby and gave me little voice in discussion. Like I wasn't taken very seriously, and notions of deficiency in character and unhealthy self-criticism crept up on me. Didn't feel too good.

I'm with you, Calvin. :')

I am exhausted.

How can I claim to love the Lord with all my heart when I have such a hard time showing patience and understanding and listening to my own family? I know for a fact that I fell short so many times this week. Of my own expectations, of others.

Why is it so hard to love? To love fully and deeply? The challenge lies in that it requires all of us. I think I fall under the illusion that it's a natural thing to love. I mean it can be, but for active life-changing love, love to those who we take for granted, it really takes a tremendous effort.

He looks just like me

But maybe my focus has been all wrong. Maybe it's not about how much I love others. Maybe it's about knowing how much God loves me and coming to a full realization of that truth. It certainly makes it easier to love others knowing that.

Happy Holidays.

- Jinwoo

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

Your love is like the rising sun to me,
Breaking the darkness with its light.
Let the brightness of your countenance shine forever.

You give and give in full view of my selfish ways -
my ways, O LORD, my ways.
And yet, still, you insist on blessing me.

Why, LORD?

You are higher than all I know,
all I could ever imagine.
God, God, why have you blessed me so?

You surround me with your love;
I will sing LORD, of your Glory and fame forever and ever.
Let your praise be on my lips continually.

Only you have the keys to my heart and mind
Only you know me through and through.
You give life, you give hope.
You give abundantly, without relent,
without holding back.
Where would I be, without you?

Let the light of your countenance burn brightly on your servant forever, O LORD.
Let it be as you have said,
as you have said from ages past,
as you have said in the deeps.

Let your words stand true, Father.
May it be as you have said.

So give me a song to sing,
and I will sing it to you, God.
I will sing it to you.

Inspired by Give me a Song by Will Reagan & United Pursuit

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Where will the extent of our influence go?

Where will the extent of our influence go?

A warm soup for a hungry soul?
A hug that brings with it a light?
Or maybe a fist hurled in a fight.

The untangling of a beast,
caught in a net?
A look of the eyes, to be met.

Love given to a lover.
But deceptive in its inception,
It - takes and breaks - us.

Stronger than any other being,
We look to Him, the king of kings.
Satisfied, filled, renewed.

No, your influence has no end,
Even death could not rend.
Come, and mend.

*Inspired by Nocturne Op. 9 Andante by Chopin

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I hope this is the last of the past of me

The end of the semester is drawing near, and I grow impatient* with myself when I look back and see missed opportunities. How I could've studied more, harder, smarter, etc. etc.

One refreshing truth I find myself coming back to is this: I chose to be here. I like being here. I am so grateful to be learning and in a community that promotes silent contemplation, studious solitude, and discussion of ideas as part of a fulfilling life. 
What a beautiful campus we live on.
A theme that came up in my conversation with my English GSI and my therapist was about how that balance in motivation was so tricky to maintain. We want to be good at something, and yet, when we throw ourselves blindly and recklessly into a subject (or life?), we often end up hurting ourselves by clouding parts of our identity during the process. Failure in that area we devote ourselves to seems to attack the very core of our beings. We forget where we started, which was eager anticipation at the learning that lay before us. Instead, we end up tumbling forth in disarray, dazed and confused, wondering: what happened to that initial excitement and passion? Is this really what I want for my life? Why do I feel so discouraged?

I wish these feelings would not come to us at all, but inevitably, they do. And it's not wrong to have these doubts. They allow for us to discern what it is we really treasure. We either press on toward the goal, or let go in search of a new one.

If you are discouraged, it's okay. I believe it is all within the process of figuring out this mystery of life.

*Through bashing my head repeatedly against thick tomes, (literally and figuratively) I achieved enlightenment concerning my struggles: Knowledge acquisition doesn't come easy, whether it's Biology or Hegelian philosophy or writing essays that I'm mastering. All these areas take time to get better, and maybe that's a good thing. Just gotta appreciate the process and give thanks through and through. 

Here is some wonderful music to cheer you on to the end. Let's finish strong!

See you all next week.

Love, your friend,

- Jinwoo

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Paradose of Doxical

I find that I am very selfish.
And when I do selfless things, I do it with selfish intentions, so my act of being selfless is selfish.
What a conundrum.

Here's a picture from 2012.
Do you recognize me?

(Front, 4th from the right!)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Regarding Influence

There's an old saying that goes: "It takes a village to raise a child."
This is where I grew up.
It means something along the lines of: a person is shaped by much more than his immediate family; the extent of his being influenced goes far beyond that.

That statement holds especially true today, due to the ever-growing methods of communication (Ex: Mobile phones, facebook, social media, this blog). We are able to interact with others on a global level. It can be scary and daunting when you think about it. 
Hi Mom!
In this sense, I suppose we are held more responsible - to try and grasp life on a global scale. We are called to see how our lives fit into this messy, but wonderful world

This can create a lot of pressure for us! The older generations (as far as I know) didn't have to keep social dynamics on the internet in mind. There was no aspect of "online presence".

I am so Pinterested in your Facebook right now.
Picking apart at this idea of influence, one can see it's a complex topic. But we don't really think about how we're influenced too much, do we?

And here are some questions I wonder about but haven't really come to a conclusion to: when do we stop being influenced? When do we coagulate and consolidate our beliefs? Do we ever? Should we? Can we?
Did I zip my fly this morning?
We're always under some influence, aren't we? Even when we are not "studying", everything we do, watch, listen to, shapes us in some way. I wonder what truths or lies we hold on to underneath the surface of our hearts.

Take a moment in your day to notice yourself - seeing the things that influence you, that you allow to influence you. Do you agree with its messages? Do you agree with you?

Let me know your thoughts below!

- Jinwoogle