Saturday, February 28, 2015

Christine Kang-Hui

Christine and I crossed paths for only a (too) short, but oh-so-intense time. The time was like Christine herself: Very short, but oh, so intense.

In the year that I knew her, she was like the fortified hull of a powerful ship, cutting and plowing through the thick and defensive top-ice of my heart, to carve out safe passage, open the way to radical healing. Oh man, did she probe. Quite surgically, I recall. She had earlier in her life endured several of the similar pains and struggles I then faced; she knew the terrain of those ravines and credibly testified to the Lord's sufficiency, even there.

Did I believe her? She dared me to. It is hard to dismiss the words and the notice of a dying woman.

Christine was one of the first women to welcome me to Emmanuel. She saw right through my politeness and refused my evasive answers to "Are you okay?" and "How are you?" There were not many corners to hide in at our tiny evening service back then, and certainly not from her watchful eye. She saw through me, and also saw me––her attentive (and sometimes aggressive) kindness was so instrumental in lifting the crushing weight of my invisibility cloak. When I felt I had no fight left, she said she saw feist, story, and song in me and that she was determined to see it surface. She also told me that my ex-boyfriend sucked and that God was holding out for me, someday, family beyond my wildest of dreams. She said she hoped to be around to tell me, "I told you so."

I am thankful to Ken for creating and allowing the space for Christine to minister to me. He would take the couch when Christine invited me over to spend the night. Christine would always say to him, "Can we feed her?" this, "Let's feed her" that (and he did). When we went to the Fall 2011 Princeton Conference on Reformed Theology, he encouraged us to room together. She (absurdly) apologized for the gurgle of her machines and feeding tubes--as she often did for even slightly inconveniencing anybody around her, by her dying. Those were precious days of learning about Gods sovereignty in and over suffering. In the next few months, those around her watched her live out everything she learned of this, and watched her fight for her true and living hope. She was appropriately mournful, and astonishingly fearless, in the face of death. She planned her own funeral and helped everyone else grieve (what!!).

In dying well, as she did learn by grace to do three years ago, she again pointed us along the Way of life before us. I am so grateful to have had this strong friend who forged ahead and who promised to cheer us on from the finish line.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Yesterday, we feasted.

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As the Lunar New Year coincides with Gramma's birthday this year, the celebration would have been a much-anticipated feast.

Just a foretaste of our Banquet to come, at which we'll feast with laughter, though all hunger has been banished––sated forever.

Yesterday, we feasted.
Tomorrow, we'll feast again.

Happy birthday, Gram. Love and miss you so very much. It's any Asian Grandma's job to preside over the kitchen for the big events––you're gone now, but I'm learning to run with your torch, your love of lavish feasting, for any/all Family, with delicious and serious fooding. Yesterday in your honor, I threw a dinner party for 7 kids and 14 adults. We made 220 of 4 types of dumplings, 2 types of Asian greens, 2 types of 湯圓, 壽桃... We had peanut candy, tangerines, and red envelopes. I'm so glad you shared all those things with me.

Our 春聯 were 仁愛,喜樂,和平,忍耐,恩慈,良善,信實,溫柔,節制 because these are the fruits of Springtime, the gifts of Easter's renewal, the marks of the true flourishing we desire.

So much of me is made of what I learned from you, you'll be with me like a handprint on my heart.

Gram passed away Aug 2014 but is fondly remembered with gratitude and joy.

I wonder what banquet lies before her now.

Happy Birthday, 阿嬤!

Happy New Year.

Friday, February 6, 2015

disarmed, dispossessed, and breathtakingly free

We are no longer prisoners of our own warfare.
I want to say with Athenagoras of Constantinople:

I have waged this war against myself for many years.
It was terrible.

But now I am disarmed.
I am no longer frightened of anything
because love banishes fear.
I am disarmed of the need to be right
and to justify myself by disqualifying others
I am no longer on the defensive,
holding onto my riches

I just want to welcome and to share.
I dont hold on to my ideas and projects . . .
I no longer seek to compare.
What is good, true and real is always for me the best.
When we are disarmed and dispossessed of self,
if we open our hearts to the God-Man
who makes all things new,
then He takes away past hurts
and reveals a new world
where everything is possible.
comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her that her warfare is ended
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the LORD's hand
double for her sins.