Saturday, December 29, 2007

Open Letters

Today we know Paul through his epistles.

I wonder what things would be like if I lived my life in open letters, if instead of private and protected blog entries and signed, sealed, and delivered musings and caffeinated (or Tabasco Sauce marinated) one-on-ones with lovely confidantes and the occasional confident I were held publicly accountable.

I wonder if I can ever reconcile all the different compartments of my life and live as I so admire in some of my friends as an open book. Well I guess I don't need to wonder about this one, because obviously I haven't succeeded. Christ is the Only who can firm and gather such a scattered heart as mine into a life of consistent worship.

But then where is that line... Between transparency and discretion, edifying rebuke and destructive scorn, sharing and gossiping. Much to learn.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Five Love Languages

I dug through my old Xanga (did any Asian not have one back in the day?) and found my March 30, 2006 results for a quiz based on Dr. Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages:

Quality Time: 10
Acts of Service: 7
Words of Affirmation: 6
Receiving Gifts: 4
Physical Touch: 3

So of course I took it again to see if much had changed in 20 months:

Quality Time: 10
Words of Affirmation: 8
Physical Touch: 5
Acts of Service: 4
Receiving Gifts: 3

Obviously the quiz has its limitations and some of the questions are very telling or just silly (like choosing whether "kissing me unexpectedly" or "giving me a gift for no occasion" excites me -- wouldn't both of those excite anyone? and what if I just like spontaneity in general?) but I'd say it's pretty accurate at identifying your primary and secondary ways of receiving love. The questions remind me of those career map survey thingies we did in high school -- "Do you enjoy watching for forest fires? Do you enjoy packing things into boxes?"

In answering many of the questions, I had to think about which of the two I was most craving or lacking at the present. Which helps me understand a little bit of what Plato meant in his Symposium when he said that love was the child of lack and abundance.

Also it's interesting to note that the way you express love to another, although I guess we tend to surround ourselves with people who speak the same love languages so it's some form of mutualism, can vary from person to person, and I think that is because if we really loved someone we would try to understand him and to place his needs and desires above our own. And I think this is why we sometimes have to learn to love certain people whose ways of communicating love differ from our own. But as long as both parties try to speak the other's love languages, maybe in some mutually commensalistic arrangement although this would clearly require more effort, the relationship can work out. A somewhat related thought: I don't necessarily believe in "the one" but that is a wholly separate discussion.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Hooray for December. Definitely one of my top 10 favorite months.

One winter, my brother and I made an igloo. It was so... baller. What a convenient word, to be used in place of anything adjective with remotely positive connotations.

My mood is so entirely governed by the weather, it's sickening and SAD.

Today it got dark at 4PM. The shortened daylight hours constrict the span of time in which I can safely tromp around Harlem. Perhaps this year I will finally invest in full-spectrum lighting.

Today the heavens opened up and unleashed some freezing acid rain fury. Is there such a thing as acid snow? Slushy New York city streets, socks wet and grey, puffy down jacket and puffy down comforter and puffy down pillow are at home.

A snippet of a conversation I once had with a dear dear boy:

XX: Oh my goose!
XY: Oh no, what happened to your goose?

And now I can give a plausible answer: I killed it and stuffed my belongings with its feathers.


Where with my soul all was well
Here, still I'm always sheltered from hell
Where I'd been since the 80's
Here, men don't hold doors for the ladies
Where even strangers are polite
Here, I can't wander the streets at night
Where Fridays meant church, not bars
Here, the streetlamps upstage the stars
Where the carpet was lined with my hair
Here, I can't ever go with my feet bare
Where each meal had a serving of rice
Here, at the subways I count up the mice
Where I could always just hop in my car
Here, every person is just so bizarre
Where my mother looked out for my health
Here, are extremes of both poverty and wealth
Where I barely ever saw my dad
Here, I know he cares if but a tad
Where I airsoft-hunted rabbits with Josh
Here, pooping pigeons are my entourage
Where birds sing and the willow trees weep
Here, the sounds of the city stall sleep
Where I leeched Carina's WiFi
Here, everyday is a chicken and fish fry
Where my mother at me always frowned
Here, still her lectures and warnings resound
Where every next house had a lawn
Here they'll raise skyscrapers until the sky's gone
Where my bed- and bathroom are unkempt
Here I'm so crazy... lame poems I attempt
Where life was so comfy I settled
Here I've learned that I'm not self-contrettled
Where everyone knew of my name
Here the bohemians put me to shame
Where at times, I could kneel and be small
Here, I think I have no choice at all
Where I tried more to write meaningful things
Here is God still... and then my soul sings
Where my heart stays although I leave
Here, for the comforts of home I do grieve
Where the Lord prepared me for pain
Here, it seems godless but remnants remain
Where it's comfy but we still lack shalom
Here, I dream of again going

Well I'd say more about home vs. the Big Apple, but this is getting boring and difficult because rhyming is hard and obviously these couplets don't really contain direct comparisons and are starting to just be nonsensical strings. It's hard to stay afloat, alert, hungry, focused in a fast and godless city, my corner of which always smells like fried chicken and where living somewhere between the urban poor and the rich & famous, I forget ubuntu, forget shalom, and start to think that I'm okay doing nothing where I'm at. Cowering from pigeons is easier than fearing the Lord. Groping around in a dark pit is easier than reaching out and trusting that the pit is not too deep for His presence, because He is present... even here.