Friday, December 14, 2012

After Sandy Hook

Sandy is the word of the year. For devastation.
NBC Dateline soundbites are ringing in my ears. a postcard perfect new England town. A phenomenal place to bring up children. Kids were not protected. "but the church was still open... Overflowed. The crowds flocked here." And they sang silent night. healing begins. Town will struggle for years to come with its new identity. Tragedy marks you. People gathered at the pub to share stories and food. Healing begins. clips playing up the irony of Christmas lights on every house in the quaint town and holiday tree sales by the firehouse...  But Christmas was never farther away.
Thinking of Luke 2. The disruptive Christmas. The intrusive arrival of the promise so many had stopped waiting for. To usher in true peace. To shatter sleepy self contentment. Awake sleeper from your grave.
Advent. Is hope

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sandy on the ground.

I keep looking at this picture from yesterday of a
double rainbow touching down in lower Manhattan post-Sandy.
And thinking of the line from "O Love that will not let me go,"
... I trace the rainbow through the rain.
Inside in the dark, once the TV and internet are cut off and cellular service trickles to a stop, you just don't know how bad it is outside, without a battery operated radio. High up on the 13th Fl on 13th St, we thought it was a pre-emptive shutdown by ConEd. We knew nothing of the 14th St transistor explosion.

Public schools, NYSE, and mass transit shut down. With no traffic signals, travelling on 2 or 4 wheels is treacherous. Determined New Yorkers were marching across the bridges to get to work today. Roads are barely passable due to high traffic and they're highly dangerous.

Everything below 39th St lost power. Crossing that line while walking/hitchhiking the 9 miles back to Harlem yesterday was like going from night to day.

It is said that many needing rescue in Staten Island were able to reach family/friends/help by Twitter and text. It was not difficult to imagine as my cell signal was lost and the roaming capacities drained the battery (though I had two fully charged spares, a cleaned tub full of water, charged laptop/iPod, a fridge full of ice/food, non-perishables, candles, flash lights, batteries) of the indefinitely long silence/darkness that others may have to endure...

We were prepared. We had heeded the warnings over the weekend, and stood in the lines to get in the grocery stores, and stood in the lines to check out of the grocery stores. Trader Joe's was especially scary.

When the power went out, I had been pre-cooking more just-in-case bunker meals and watching TV. And when my cell signal faded I thought oh man, I can't let everyone know I'm okay--they only know what they're seeing on TV & Twitter. But it was far better than, oh no, I can't let anyone know I'm not okay.

Today as the temperature drops, I'm thinking of those people who are stuck and whose electronics have died... With no heat, power, water, supplies, or any way to charge their devices.

Also hoping against any more casualties from live wires as waters recede and the power gets turned back on...

Dad works at Inteliquent. The communications blackout helped me appreciate what he does--their NYC office at 75 Broad handles 150K concurrent calls per hour. Their battery will dry up in another hour or two, and they are working hard to get a 7-ton generator from Pennsylvania up and running before this happens. The three other major carrier buildings in NYC, at 60 Hudson, 32 Avenue of the Americas, and 111 8th Ave, are in the same boat. The fire department and FEMA alike are not helping--perhaps not understanding the need to keep phone networks and internet working in such emergencies. Their engineers reached the office around noon yesterday (and two stayed overnight to accept a 4am generator delivery) to run a 4-strand heavy gaurge wire for 200 feet or so from the 4th floor to a back alley generator. They're scrambling to get it done in the next two hours. Many communication gears around the city remain submerged and will probably be reconstructed on higher floors--no more basement servers.

Proud of you, Dad.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This Very Present Darkness

These days, I have said to friends, depression is knocking at my door, and I am fearful, though I have been told I need not, and must not, be dismayed.

It crouches at my door. I must not be mastered by it.

Some days I am inexplicably (with reference to my current circumstances) sad and disembodied. This gloomy cloud follows me.

These days, I miss her. She understood. But I don't just miss her understanding; I don't just miss being understood. I miss her. I feel her absence without jumping to fill it for someone else for the first time since that initial sorrow. I think of how a year ago around now, we were planning for our weekend in Princeton.

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it (Hebrews 2:1). Do not neglect your great salvation, Esther. You have a Savior!

So having put on the full armor, is our only marching order to stand firm? Will Papa really fight on our behalves?

Arm ourselves for the darkness at hand, we must.

Because the fog--It obscures the truth that He already has championed us. And He's irrevocably won.

I pray that mercy would root my heart and mind deeply in the gospel. And that the light of this victory would resight my blind fumbling aim and distorted vision.

I must see You, Jesus. Please open my eyes and fix them on You or I shall certainly get lost in the ambiguities.

A deep fog stalks me. But another cloud goes before. By day. By night (Exodus 13:21). It shepherds me along the Way.

Even those sheep who stray into rabbit trails are not lost to You.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward...

You will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You?

And there is nothing on earth that I desire--besides You.

My flesh and my heart do fail.

But God is the strength of my heart and my portion. Forever.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

We never arrive until we are home.

"Because we are sojourners and pilgrims in this world, struggle and strain will always attend our steps... Here is how an old missionary from Africa once put it:
'To understand the Christian life, imagine riding a bicycle in the middle of a two-way street heading up a steep hill. Your job is to keep the bicycle wheels on the yellow line and keep pedaling. If you veer to the left or to the right, with cars zipping past you on both sides, you're road kill. And as you get further up the hill, the forces of gravity and fatigue make pedaling more difficult (so get it out of your head that elderly people go on spiritual cruise control). The challenge continues until the end, and there is no reprieve until we finally arrive home...
'Of course, we do veer off the yellow line. Every single day. And when we do, Jesus' victory---the cross, resurrection and pouring out of the Spirit---provides forgiveness and healing. But we are nevertheless called to pedal. When our legs feel shot and we're unable to proceed, we pray for divine strength, and somehow it comes. This is God's promise: "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).'
" There are days when the struggle feels too difficult... the burden feels unbearably heavy... . What is God's posture? What are his thoughts toward us? The old missionary from Africa came to mind. I imagined God saying: Keep pedaling, son, despite your fears. I know all the bumps in the road, and, although you falter and even wipe out, my grace surrounds you to the end."

// Chris Castaldo

Monday, September 17, 2012

Last Week's Firsts (or Some Wonderful Things Ending in "Y")

In order of appearance,
  • Voxy
  • Audrey
  • Wesley
  • City Seminary

Monday, September 3, 2012

We are safe indeed.

I feel like I have woken from a dream. I open my eyes and you are as you have always been -- a dear friend; but I have changed. 
Contemplating the relationship that has transpired between us these past few years, I stand with quiet and joyful sadness. Our lack and abundance. Our understanding and conversations. They make sense now. And I stand in wonder how I did not see, though I am grateful that you have shielded my eyes in order that I may see only you, who you are, always now. 
I see now how and why you have always been so edifying for me.
Two broken children.
We are no longer orphans. No longer alone.
The Lord -- He is mighty to save. We are safe. 
// A letter from a dear friend. March 2011.
Lord, You knew, these dry bones could live.
In Chicago for the weekend. So much joyful resighting.
It's marvelous--God washes these years with His mercy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NYC for those given to idleness

“New York loves expanse. It grows upward and spreads its tentacles outward, the island spilling into adjoining lands through its many bridges and tunnels. A person given to idleness, as Parvis has come to think of himself, must move about for the sake of moving, if only to fit into the general scheme of things – an electron obeying the current. Tantamount to movement, he has come to realize, is self-reliance, a fact reflected in the language: 'Take care,' a friend may say to another as the two part. In his old life the same two friends would have said to one another, khodahfez – 'may God protect you.'"

// Dalia Sofer, The Septembers of Shiraz

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


For the followers of the crucified Messiah, the main message of the imprecatory Psalms is this: rage belongs before God (Janowski 1995, 173)–not in the reflectively managed and manicured form of a confession, but as a pre-reflective outburst from the depths of the soul. This is no mere cathartic discharge of pent up aggression before the Almighty who ought to care. Much more significantly, by placing unattended rage before God we place both our unjust enemy and our own vengeful self face to face with a God who loves and does justice. Hidden in the dark chambers of our hearts and nourished by the system of darkness, hate grows and seeks to infest everything with its hellish will to exclusion. In the light of the justice and love of God, however, hate recedes and the seed is planted for the miracle of forgiveness. Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion–without transposing the enemy from the sphere of monstrous inhumanity into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness. When one knows that the torturer will not eternally triumph over the victim, one is free to rediscover that person’s humanity and imitate God’s love for him. And when one knows that God’s love is greater than all sin, one is free to see oneself in the light of God’s justice and so rediscover one’s own sinfulness. // Volf

Friday, August 10, 2012

in Sabah insha'Allah

in Sabah.
the Smiles that melted
the Stitches that mended
my heart.

frayed, frozen heart,
forget him not!

finally got around to revisiting/uploading SLR pictures from last summer. it is good to remember.
welcomed laura to the city today.

Friday, August 3, 2012

On this great thrill of possibility.

Dear Little Sheepish Heart,

No matter how it goes, remember this out-of-body, forward facing elation and hope and gratitude, after how well the interview for the job of your dreams just went. Remember daring to hope that your Father just maybe could be that generous. Remember being injected with such foreign joy, at the mere lick of the possibility...

Remember, He didn't just propose, He promised, and you will know with certainty His certain Yes!es soon. Remember, He did not withhold his Son!

Remember the fuzzy faraway forms, of how He's so laboriously been making you into a trustworthy steward of gifts only He could have willed, coming into slightly sharper focus today. Remember how enslaved you would be if you could boast in these gifts, how enslaved you were when you did.

Remember He feeds you, and He discerns what to you for such a time as this is bread and what for you at another season can only be stones, despite your propensity to confuse the two and to chomp on pebbles. Imagine, if you are thankful for the broken road even now, how you will marvel on that day when He unveils just how just He has been all along. Remember how you glanced backward today and saw a straight path behind you, and an adventure before you. Remember how in these dark weeks, amidst your forgetful fretting, He remembered His mercies, He remembers His children.

And rejoice!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Baby Taylor

Today she spent her last waking hours walking in the park with her family, being fed her favorite: McD's vanilla cones (in excellent taste -- she always was so finicky with her food), and fell asleep in the company of those who loved her most.

Taylor, when you moved into our Harlem home, you became Taytay. How pungent you were! Thanks for the year of cuddles, for warming my feet with your furry butt, for teaching me compassion by your fear of rain and baths, for entertaining me endlessly when you'd scamper away in fear of fart noises, for always staying to listen, and for walking me around the neighborhood (literally). Most importantly, thank you for being the object of such high affection, for showing me her beauty. You brought your family much loyal joy, manipulative cuteness, and miraculously perpetual smelliness.

I'm so glad your last day of cuddles and lovely lady lullabies was not your first. Baby Taylor, you were loved by the very best. See you at home Fluffymuffinpoo (all dogs go to heaven--I think they made a documentary or two about that), where we'll be stinky/sick/sad no more.


This bed is my resting place for the next months in a 1925 Victorian-style house in upstate New York. I wear the floppy flower hat when we work on the organic biodynamic CSA farm and in the community gardens.

Living in intentional interfaith community, and sharing a 2.5 bathroom house with 18 other bodies, is quite a joyful task and learning experience. The biggest challenge for me as far as dialogue with Muslims, Jews, and Christians of other stripes and scales goes, is in reconciling our similarities, not in living with our differences. I am confronted again and again about how much my "faith" is merely about feeling good about being good, and feeling bad about being bad, and how much I still practice vague spirituality, legalistic morality, general psychology, and wider mysticism, rather than hope in Christ alone.

Everything else is common ground: religious goodness. And I must say, most of my new friends do it better, dress and pray and eat and hope and work and sing, with more piety and skill and religiosity than I. There must be more. Kun said, these are realizations you can't make unless you interact a lot with people of other faith, and that every religion has good principles to live by, and that it is good for me to be put into that context.

Put into that context? How is it that we are not already in this context all the time? We have managed to withdraw, somehow, from this pluralistic world. I suspect that as Christians, we should encounter this conflict far more often than we actually do, and that it would drive us to Jesus Christ each time confessing "I need Thee every hour!" As it is, our cloisters blind us to how un-distinct and ironically un-set-apart we are, how much we are not in the world.

Father, save Your church from mere moralistic therapeutic deism, give us Jesus, fill our discernment with You, and send us out in Jesus' sweet saving name.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Potholes, 2.

The great thing about a stiff old-lady-hip is that I get to feel younger every day.

While I was injured, black people were saying the funniest things to me. Direct speech is a hilarious and lovely feature of African American Vernacular English. It took some years in Harlem to adjust to it, but during awkward furtive grocery store stare-and-averts back in the midwest last weekend, an unexpected trip, I realize that I much prefer the frankness.

Terence, my UPS guy (since I've lived at the same address for three years now, there are many familiar faces in the neighborhood) chided, "ESTHER! You get in a fight again?" A bike accident, I clarified. "With what, a rhino?! Damn."

And my favorite incident--a run-in at the corner deli with an older black woman, in a house dress and curlers. "Giiirrrrrlll, you gotta leave his broke ass." Let me tell you, the "No, no, it's not what you think" that I meant in reassurance was not what she wanted to hear. "Ohh honey child, you don't gotta cover up for him! You don't gotta put up widdat shit, y'heard? Now you run on home now and you think bout what I says. Mm-hmm!"

What laughing, coughing, and sneezing had in common: They hurt my hip. A lot. The other thing they had in common: They're involuntary. So as much as laughing hurt the last two weeks, I remember a long long season, of recent vintage, in which I did not laugh at all, and that hurt even more, even though sometimes it felt like nothing at all.

While I was getting discharged from the hospital that Sunday, my best friends' father was being pronounced braindead after a sudden and severe asthma attack a few days prior. Mercy bowed me. It's why I was home for those silent suburban stares that dared not ask, of the splotches and bruises on my face, what happened and if I was okay.

Lord, let me never pretend I've not seen. Sometimes asking real questions is awkward. But so was hanging naked on a cross, probably.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Potholes, 1.

I'm 22. For a few more weeks. A good year of bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.

On Sunday, I had a minor bike accident. I was in the bike lane, there were cars in the road, so I didn't swerve to avoid a big pothole. I hit the pothole, and unfortunately, I also hit my handbrakes. I flew over the handlebars in Superman fashion (right arm extended, left hand in since it was pulling the handbrake), volleysprawled, rolled, recovered on my feet, and went back on the ground because everything stung. Asphalt is not as friendly as a gym floor. The skin scrapes and road rash tell the story -- left knee, right hip, right chest/shoulder, right palm/elbow, chin, forehead. The brim of my helmet, and my glasses, which snapped in half, probably protected my nose from breakage and eyes from gravel. It could have gone a number of other ways, but my bike is fine, and I will be too. If I must describe the discomfort--I feel very elderly (stiff and sore from the impact, some hairline fractures in hip and elbow, moving about slowly and gingerly) and extremely sunburned (I eagerly await the formation of scabs, which means my skin won't reopen when I move anymore).

Kind bystanders insisted on calling an ambulance, though I did not black out and did not wish to go to the ER. One lady drew a compact mirror out of her purse, showed me the unicorn-horn-goose-egg forming on my forehead, and I said okay, okay, I'll go. External swelling, as scary as it looks, is good; the fluid is draining out instead of swelling in the brain. I called my friend who I was on my way to meet, before church. Rachel, her husband, and two of my other friends were going to visit EPC for the first time. I told her to go ahead into the church, find Scott or Kathy, they would know what to do. Meanwhile, sitting on the curbside, terribly nearsighted, I cancelled lunch with the Dalberths (we had a good laugh later at my text: "Bob actually I just got banged up pretty bad after hitting a pothole while biking. Maybe dinner?"). I called my old coach to tell her she was going to be my emergency contact since she lives in the heights... and that she had ingrained that ninja sprawl quite well, apparently. Rachel met me at St. Luke's. Her MD-PhD husband stayed as well; they were supremely heroic and reassuring.

They got to meet many from my church Family in the waiting room including the four elders who visited. I was glad. That they were church both in service and in the world of tetanus, potholes, bike accidents, bad decisions, emergency brakes, broken glasses, broken skin, slow and smelly "Emergency" Room service... in this world, that Jesus moved into. in this world He so loved. All four friends said they would come back next Sunday.

My little sister doesn't like hospitals much, but she was brave and wanted to visit (she brought me soup and she liked my monocle). Her mommy was very kind to me, so is she. She got to see me walk out of the hospital alive and well!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Prospectus, 2.

Marina Keegan, Yale '12, wrote: "We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time."

I'm 22.

She died in a car accident last Saturday "at a time when the members of the class of 2012 have separated for the foreseeable future, and underclassmen have scattered for the summer. There is no physical space for us to mourn..." She had just commenced; graduated magna cum laude five days before her death.

What she had was what I aimed my heart at, what I wanted out of college, the years I was so sick with envy, wanting the "opposite-of-loneliness" that she described.
It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together... [College] is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers — partner-less, tired, awake. We won’t have those next year. We won’t live on the same block as all our friends. We won’t have a bunch of group-texts. 
This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse – I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now. 
But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York...
Actually Life is more than the "tiny circles we pull around ourselves." More than college.

There is permanence, non-elusive Joy. There is certainty beyond "We can't, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it's all we have."

We build our sandcastles, meanwhile, Christ is building up his Church. I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, we confess. The True Church of all places and times.

As I wrote before, I would have built my life upon these fleeting tiny circles, on possibilities and probabilities. I tried. But Christ had mercy on me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Out of the depths of ruin untold, Jesus I come

Been spinning this song on repeat lately. :)

Looking at the last year, I could never regret the times I responded this way to grace's draw, as costly as they seemed at the time... bids me come and die, and find that I may truly live. But always, always, I've been drawn into more freedom and more life than I could have chosen or hoarded for myself.

Jesus I come
into Thy freedom, gladness and light
out of my sickness
into Thy health
out of my wanting
into Thy wealth
out of my sin
into Thyself
run, don't walk!
into the glorious gain of Thy cross
out of earth's sorrows
into Thy balm
into Thy calm
out of distress
crawl if you need to,
or have friends carry you
into Thy blessed will to abide
out of myself
to dwell in Thy love
out of despair 
into raptures above
out of the fear and dread of the tomb
into the joy and light of Thy home
out of the depths of ruin untold
into the peace of Thy sheltering fold

just come. rest. dance.
ever Thy glorious face to behold

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Remember college viewbooks? Those glossy marketing pitches that schools mailed to you junior and senior year after PSAT's and state tests.

Come and see, they beckon. 
Hear what our own have to say about us!

Join us and this is what you'll become.

Join our mission! Catch our vision!

Ah, enlightenment.
So you apply yourself.

The university prospectus.

* * *

I remember viewbooks. How religiously I read them.

I collected them. Fascinating, pretty things of hope, promise, life, future, and identity to me. Tantalizing.

I was sold. Somewhere in a basement in Naperville, there are still 30 some viewbooks fileboxed away.

* * *
Such appeal.

They were an appeal to your freedom and choice.

An appeal to your wallet. All this bang for your buck! Or 50,000 bucks yearly. Worth it!

An appeal to your time. In just four years, they promise, we'll make you youer than you! A difference of a lifetime!
An appeal to your imagination. To become one of those Brooks Brothers-clad souls, walking, laughing, books in hand, a leather messenger slung cross-body, under towering stately oaks and flying stone buttresses. Imagine! the life! the access! the privilege! Join the aristocracy!
(all images above adapted from

An appeal to your affections.

* * *

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy...
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven...

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
// Matthew 6.19-21

"It's obvious, isn't it?" says Eugene Peterson. "The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being."

* * *

The prospectus, appealing to your heart, shows you who you'll become.
And in your choice, your priority, it reveals to you who you already are.

Where you aim your heart, where you set your sights,
There. is your reward, your heaven.

It will dominate your vision, hold your imagination,
warp time and experience,pull your whole life to itself.

Yet once more I will shake not only the earth,
but also the heavens...
in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore let us be grateful
for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken...

August 8, 2007
for our God is a consuming fire.
// Hebrews 12.26-29

i was H-bound.
hopkins-bound. hell-bound.

Christ had mercy on me.

He loves me.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


The year I learned to love team sports, was the year that I began letting go of all that my parents had never done for me, and all that they'd done to me. For example, they didn't let me play even when I made the cuts in high school. And I got to let go of my bitter what if they had?s.

So props to the bros who first believed and took a chance on my noobness. A first taste of playing like a team and playing to win. And later, a stark glimpse of what it costs to not trust and cover each other and play as one.

Growing up means mom and dad can't be excuses anymore, for me not going for it or anything. Walking on to the team that season and having to earn my place--it was the year I began unlearning Mom's insistence that raw talent was all that mattered. Sugar and gold and clay alike need grueling. Working my way off the bench into the starting lineup, earning that white jersey, man, I had the time of my life! It was a godsend, a healthy distraction, the blessing of busyness, to keep me forward facing and forward moving the two seasons. I believe in team sports! ... Bullieve? :)

So CUNY's athletic program, like its academic program, is a total joke. So we were a ridiculously large, ragtag rookie team. But in Division III we played--with Heart. The mental toughness you had to muster in order to be in that gym, for those hours--such a gift. A safe space. A sweet mercy for that autumn. If I flaked or was late to stay in bed and cry, they ran suicides.

No, you man up. You never turn your back on your teammates. And if they turn, you don't let their jealous hate sabotage you.  The ones who execute, not the ones who try, are gonna be the ones in the game. If coach and captain say you stay, stay your ground. See what a long way you have to go, and know that learning this, too, is progress. Persevere.

Jen & Me-Oak; awesome coaches

Know irrelevant voices from the voices you should listen to. Leaders are those who went before you, who brought you on seeing who they could make you, who you would become. Trust them. Do the discipline of forsaking entanglements for now to fight, and play, and practice. Worries will wait. The coach who dug down deep to draw out diligence and competition. The value of now. This point. This play. Grace for yourself and for your family; it is, after all, a game moved along by mistakes. Don't think yourself above errors.

You never rise to the occasion, you only fall back on your training. So bring yourself, your whole self, your mind your strength your game, to the table. Every time. Be all there.

My cute lil Pokemon

There is more, much more, that volleyball tangibly taught me. But asked why I give my Saturdays now, I say, you only can give what you've first received.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


When I'm traveling in Japan, people think I am Taiwanese.
When I'm traveling in Taiwan, people think I am Japanese or of one of the tribes.

In the states a lot of people think I'm mixed or halfie, or when I say my family is Taiwanese they wonder if there is any indigenous or Dutch/Portuguese heritage.

Here are some fun DNA Microarray answers from 23andMe.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The rain, it's here.

Friday, March 30, 2012

In this world you will be rejected.

Today I read letters from parents who truly meticulously Love.

Today I feel carefully loved, today I remember having been loved that way in all my yesterdays.

Today I'm tucking away these letters for the days of forgetting. For tomorrow's storms.

Child, study your sorrows and lean into how Accepted, how Provided For you are.
Study the way you are feeling today. Because I love you, I ask this of you: lean into your “otherness” – learn the contours of its face, feel out the steady grip of its hand. Because I intend it to be your lifelong companion. It is a truer friend than those who surround you now. More than I want your comfort I want you to be an alien and a stranger. . . that not-fitting, that dissonant chord, that unease in the midst of ease that has been the faithful travel companion of the children of God for millenia. . . 
Here is what you must come to see: what the lunch table calls your enemy I call your friend. “Otherness” is a sensation not to be dulled or diminished but to be cultivated and cherished. So though it goes against every mothering instinct, I will not pull the thorn from your flesh, not because I want to withhold comfort, but because there is no true comfort in a lie. This world is not our home. We are sojourners, travelers on our way to the only true comfort the human heart can know. I will not help you populate your life with things that lessen your grip on this reality. 
Because I love you, yes. 
// "Otherness" (Jen Wilkin).
What the world calls your enemy I call your friend.
The pain, it was provision. Not a curse.
He does not curse His children.

The rules and boundaries... are not to bind you, but to keep you safe... instructions, so that you will know which way to go... a trellis, so you will be able to climb and find the sun.
// "In the Sun" (Irene). 

Friday, March 2, 2012


Unflashily familiar--this too is mercy.
Last time around, I was hung up on the silence of God.
Now in the stillness, I am embraced by the Substitution of Christ.
When some beloved voice that was to you
Both sound and sweetness, faileth suddenly,
And silence, against which you dare not cry,
Aches round you like a strong disease and new-
What hope? What help? What music will undo
That silence to your sense? Not friendship’s sigh,
Not reason’s subtle count; not melody
Of viols, nor of pipes that Faunus blew;
Not songs of poets, nor of nightingales
Whose hearts leap upward through the
To the clear moon; nor yet the spheric laws
Self-chanted, nor the angels’ sweet ‘All hails,’
Met in the smile of God: nay, none of these.
Speak THOU, availing Christ! – and fill this pause.
// Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "Substitution."

Speak, Lord, tenderly into the present pause. Grow your church in the space she left us--in the space He left us.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What have we against Death?

I am not my own.
Q.   What is your only comfort in... death?
A.   That I... am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who with his precious blood... so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation...
// The Heidelberg Catechism, Q1.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

While dying she taught us how to live.

pc: Jimeng Loh

To visit the bench, enter Central Park at E 102nd
I want to live and enjoy every moment without forming an idolatrous attachment to such moments and life... I want to submit fully to His will and be available for whatever mission He has for me, including impending death, while I still don't lose hope as it is appropriate for a Christian to do, not resorting to fatalism and hopelessness. I want to despise death and pain as God does while still embracing and accepting that necessary transition until Jesus returns. I only hope and pray that God will teach me how to do all these things. There is no way I could figure it out on my own. But if God is by my side and guiding me, I'm sure I could learn...
 ·  ·  · December 29, 2011 at 9:48pm

... and not only to Christine but also to all who have loved His appearing.

where death is just a memory––see you at home

in loving memory of Christine Kang-Hui.

Friday, February 17, 2012


"... is not a symbol but an instance, a 'case' of human affection in its natural condition, true, tender, suffering, but in the long run tyrannically possessive and ready to turn to hatred when the beloved ceases to be its possession. What such love particularly cannot stand is to see the beloved passing into a sphere where it cannot follow."

// C.S. Lewis, on Till We Have Faces, in a 10 Feb 1957 letter to Clyde Kilby.

Not my envious love, but His redeeming love--a new song--shall be my refrain, till I see Him face to face, and ever after.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Third eye... Sixth sense...
You must tell the Story wherever.

// Yohan Kim