Friday, August 16, 2013

Meanwhile, I keep dancing

I came across this quote some time ago in a book on writing: "I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing."

Cooking and writing. These are my dance steps.

After I gave birth to Emeth, I did not return to the kitchen for weeks. One evening, I walked into the kitchen and prepared some salmon. At that moment, I started breathing again. A light flickered at the end of the tunnel.

Today is one of those tunnel days.

Now, I can either wallow in my incompetence and insufficiency, or, I can dance.

I choose to dance. And I invite you to dance with me.

I am going to dance about how I read my Bible.

(Was that a yawn?!)

I know, it doesn't sound spectacular, but it is.

For months and months Hans encouraged me write down the things I am learning in my readings. But like always, it takes me awhile to do what he asks of me. My (bad) excuse is that I have so little time. Writing things down would take so much longer. But, I finally decided to give his suggestion a try, and it made all the difference.

All I do is I read the verse, I paraphrase it in my own words, and I write it down.

Some days, I get through ten verses. Other days, I get through one. Not only am I better able to notice the details of the text, but I retain so much more of what I am reading. And as I retain what I am reading, I am better able to meditate on what I learned. And there is a bonus. Because writing is my dancing, I read with so much satisfaction. The Lord scribbles joy on my soul, as I scribble on the pages of my notebook.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had the privilege to speak and listen to Yahweh face to face. They had immediate access to the fullness of his glory. At the Fall, humanity was expelled  from Yahweh's presence. Since then, and until Christ's return, communication and communion with God has not been and will not be the same.

In his mercy, Yahweh gave us his Word. This is how we can be near God: by mediating on his Word.

I walk. I lie down. I rise up. Meanwhile, I keep dancing.

Sometimes, I find him under my chair.

Friday, August 9, 2013

My anti-honeymoon treatise

{For Cat and Gideon on the night before they leave for their honeymoon}

I recently re-read an email I wrote to Hans before our wedding -- my reflection on the concept of "honeymoon." I was hilarious, and not in a good way. I was opinionated and emotional (I still am). To this day, I wonder why he married me.
We should rid ourselves of this ridiculous concept of honeymoon all together!!!  It gives a false notion that the beginning of marriage is the best portion -- what an extremely perverted view of marriage!  The truth is, we, by grace, should strive to resemble Heaven more and more as we progress and grow in our love. Our affection should more and more reflect God's intertrinitarian love.
To call the first portion of marriage our "honeymoon" is unhealthy and misleading. Our true honeymoon, the sweetest days of our lives, should be the last few days of our earthly lives.  I shall look forward to them, and ask God that upon our death bed, we would be the versions of ourselves that most resemble our dear Savior. I hope that at the moment right before we die, our love for one another will most reflect Christ's love for us.
Apparently, I wanted our honeymoon to take place, not right after our wedding, but on our death bed. How morbid!

So, I insisted that we call the trip after our wedding "lobsterstars." Because we ate lobsters by the roadside. We ate with our fingers, with lemon and corn, and had them several nights in a row throughout the trip.

We made memories, our first memories together as husband and wife. We climbed a few hills, got lost in our canoe, caught in the rain, and fell into the lake. We had many serious conversations, a few disagreements, and laughed a lot.

I have no recollection of what we were trying to do.

We just got back from our big trip to Minnesota, celebrating Cat and Gideon's wedding. Traveling with three children, five years old and under, was no walk in the park. We made new memories, some I would rather forget. Sometimes, we were utterly exhausted. Even so, I can honestly say that I experienced more joy on this trip than I did during our honeymoon, or, whatever that was.

I have a few favorite moments from this trip. Among them is the seven-hour conversation we had in the car on our way home. I enjoy my husband, admire him, and appreciate him more now than ever before. Not because we are any less sinful, but I think that we have learned to be quicker in repenting and forgiving one another. We have learned to be a little better at listening and understanding each other, becoming less defensive and more trusting. And the Lord, in his mercy, gives us joy when we obey his commands.

I had very little idea about marriage and everything related to it when I wrote that anti-honeymoon treatise. I might have overstated a few things. But I am so glad I saved that email, if only for the pleasure of laughing at myself.

Time away from the normal grind of things are helpful for us to evaluate where we have been, where we are now, and where we are going. Stripped away from the busyness of life, we are better able to see, listen, and understand one another. These are perhaps the most precious aspects of our honey-lobster-moon-and-stars, every single one, until death do us part.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mission accomplished

{my gift for the bride and groom at their wedding feast}

Yee Ling, one of my earliest memories of you was how often you got lost. We would be at the mall, and you would suddenly disappear. As you can now imagine, this was quite unsettling for Ma.

So, she decided to put you on a leash.

It was pink. Ma tied it around your waist at the airport for fear that we would lose you among the throngs of people.

I was ten at the time and you were two. I felt horrible seeing you on a leash, so I begged Ma to take it off. I promised her that I would watch you instead.

Since then, we, your three older sisters, have been watching you.

Gideon, now that you are married to Cat, please make sure she does not get lost! And know this: her three older sisters are watching you.

No, seriously, we will be watching over, and praying for both of you. We are now family. And we are so excited.

My sisters made me cry at my wedding when they sang this song. They made me looked like a baby frog. I feel the need to reciprocate (the song, not the tears). So, I rewrote the lyrics. And here it is.
What made you hug me even in your sleep
Or give me these pearl earrings to keep?
What made you let us take all the best toys
Or babysit my three crazy boys?

Why do you always try to be there
when we really, really need you there to care?
You're always willing to share.

Love makes a Meimei be a Meimei like you
Love takes genetics and turns them into
Something to last eternity through
Love makes a Meimei be a Meimei like you

What made you brave and gave yourself away?
What made you say yes, and asked Gideon to stay?
Sharing the feelings that you held inside
No longer keeping secrets that you have to hide


Cat cried.
Mission accomplished.

Happy wedding day, baby sister.
We're still here, and we're not going anywhere without you.