Monday, February 05, 2007

Walking Out & Walking Past

The following was written (and posted on my old xanga site) about a year ago, in Feb 2006. Re-reading it and looking back at my own self in Feb 2006, I am startled to see that those were the very thoughts deeply believed and beheld a year ago.

How in the world has life evolved and changed in such an astonishing degree in merely one year?

Was that my true self? Since when have I felt so incredibly apart from those thoughts and ideas, that bursting passion and faith that carried me on through the ups and downs of the days studying my life away in the library corner yet dreaming for a whole different universe miles away from me?

Events and people and circumstances have occurred over the past year that brought me to one of the lowest points in life. "Melancholy" is the term pervasively felt or commented by a close friend of mine who reads through numerous blog entries on this new site.

Since when has melancholy come to define my state of mind and soul?

Eager to shake it off. Though that is part of me, that sentimental and pensive and perhaps thoughtful yet melancholic side of me; it hides and casts shadows upon the other side of me that continues to believe, to dream, to hold on to the promises once given to me.

To have faith and to continue to hold on to it - both spiritually and in various aspects of reality - is what I eagerly await myself to become. To walk past the events of the year past and look forward to the future, to reclaim and hold on tight to the passion and faith that once claim the corner stone and utmost beauty of my life -- THAT shall be the new year resolution.

I'm holding my breath, awaiting for the "future" to come, though I cannot see clearly what it entails or what it beholds. Yet with passion and faith I will continue to await.

Walking out and walking past. It's a step of immense difficulty that I have struggled with during countless days over this past year. Yet, it is time.

May all thanksgiving and praises be given to the Him who once renewed and continues to refine my life, event by event, day by day, season after season.


- summer 06 -

I received a 2006 calendar from OMF, the missions organization I went to Laos with last summer and THE BOMB org on earth I think, a while ago but didn't open it up till last night. Immediately I was drawn to the pictures of the people's groups across every page of the calendar. The Han Chinese, the Hui, the Shan Burmese, the Japanese, the Khamba Tibetans, the Thai ... On each picture there's a scriptural reference to the command for missions, and there's also a percentage figure for the Christian population among these people's groups. Except the Han Chinese page that reads "5 percent" for the figure, all the rest read "1 percent" or "less than 1 percent."

Such is the reality of the world that we're living in. There remain to be 2 billions of people who are unreached by the gospels, and a majority of the same 2 billion people also fall into another category of the 2 billion people living under $2 a day.

As I'm planning ahead for this upcoming summer, I'm again pondering on the option of missions. Funny how I just used the word, "option." Yes, the sad reality is that for too many Christians including myself, too often we regard missions as an "option" or a "choice" that one has the privilege to make. However, is that the same attitude that the Scripture holds for the work of missions? Is that what Jesus wants for us? When 2 billion people still have not heard of Jesus or the Christian faith (and henceforth never having the "choice" to choose to believe or not), and when the same group of 2 billion people most likely live in poverty of $2 a day if not less, I am still sitting in my cozy room in Cambridge, pondering the "option" of going on missions or not.

I understand that there are seasons in life and in each season there is a primary goal/purpose/agenda that one needs to focus on. I am a Ph.D. student on East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and this is my primary "job" or career ID that I want to remain faithful to. Yet on the other hand, I too am Christian and this identity remains constant and should override all other worldly identities that I behold (esp. since worldly ID's shift around all the time, and my Ph.D. status will likely or *hopefully* evolve into something else 3-4 years down the road). So regardless of where I am, what I'm doing, or which particular season of life I'm in, my Christian ID is SET in stone and shall never change.

I am a missionary wherever I go, whatever I do, whenever I am. It's a mentality, just like my Christian ID, that should remain constant and never change. However, why is it that while we as Christians don't question so much our ID as Christians, we often think of the ID of missionary as something that only belongs to those who are the bravest or specially called?

Practically speaking, what does this missionary mentality mean for my upcoming summer plans? After all, there is a summer to come and 4 months to spend away from the Cambridge campus, so how shall I live myself out as a missionary during the course of June, July, August, and part of September?

Summer has always been my favorite season and at times is the only thing that keeps me going in the midst of intense workload during the school year. I don't know how many times in the middle of writing an essay or trying to cram for next day's seminar, I'd envision myself riding on the train somewhere in Tokyo and just doing people-watching in front of Shibuya station. Or I'd walk around in my room barefoot and suddenly think of the sensation of walking down hot, sandy beaches along the coastal line of Thailand. Sometimes even the aroma of some sort is enough to bring back memories of Shi-lin night market in Taipei that are too hard for my stomach to bear. Summer, at times, is the only thing that I look forward to in the winter nights of Boston even when my room is nicely heated and resembles of weather in the high 70's.

So what is this summer going to entail or what stories will it unfold? I just wrote a bunch of email to my prof's asking for letters of recommendations for summer research/travel grants. And already I can see myself carving up the summer by segments of 6 weeks here, 3 weeks there, and another 4 weeks somewhere else. I want this summer to be rich with research experiences, packed with both fun and rough times on the road, or filled up down to every minute great memories for another long academic year to come. Yet, most of all, I want to be able to grow and mature, both in faith and in personhood, through experiences and encounters with people that no classroom setting or library books may ever offer. I want to be able to engage in life and esp. relationships with people that surpass whatever that scholars or writers tell me and to claim those experiences as "tasted," not "learned." Most of all, I want to be able to see God and experience His presence amongst and love for people - for all people - not b/c the church or the Book tells me so but b/c I vividly see Him walking amongst them.

So what is this summer really going to be like? I don't know ... With too many applications to fill out and deadlines to meet, I can only keep doing them and hope that God will soon solidify some of the "options" for me. Well, to Him, they won't be options anymore but His will. And all I need to do is to enjoy the ride that He's given me and be as faithful to Him as possible. Most of all, regardless of where I end up going or what I end up doing, I want to maintain the mentality of a missionary (if not becoming a member of a missions trip or some sort for a period of time).

And here in Cambridge as well.


梅ちゃん at 2:44:00 PM



at 2/6/07, 11:28 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

for the new page ...


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