More Than Meets the l.

Whew, what a week! I had been meaning to write this post for the longest time, but haven’t gotten around to it until now. I had the pleasure of meeting up with two really awesome brothers this week, and they are the main reason this piece’s concept was conceived.  In AACF (Asian-American Christian Fellowship for my new readers), there is a term that floats around called a “MOI,” or Moment Of Impact, although I personally prefer Moment Of Identification.  The gist of the meeting is to find out more about the brothers and sisters around you, or as I like to hashtag “#knowyourfamily.” This brings closure within the Body and having transparency is conducive towards so many blessings within the Christian walk; when the Body knows who you are and is able to love you that much more, the prayers become stronger and relationships fuller, manifesting what Christ envisioned in His Body (Colossians 2:2).

However, I have found that more often than not, my brothers and sisters delve deep within the confines of their respective pasts during our MOIs.  At first, I have to admit, it was a little unsettling.  Given my background, where openness is definitely there, but not partaken in, and also my cultural background of being a good Asian kid who doesn’t burden others with my problems, it made sense for me to feel slightly unnerved.  From my perspective, I was just some little freshman kid; how had I proven myself worthy of being trusted with this information? The answer to that question lies within the fact that these brothers and sisters have nothing to hide – I need only ask a question, and I can safely bet that an entirely unexpected answer is headed my way.  What appeared on the outside seemed to rarely match what they clung onto on the inside, and it surprised me how deep the conversations would get.  I personally enjoyed the deep conversations because I liked – and will always like – discovering the many sides to a person’s character in the great story of life.  Many of these conversations shattered my pre-conceived notions of their pasts and how they came to be the dear family they are today.  Who I thought was a womanizer actually had a much different tale to tell, and someone I thought to be the happiest person on campus had so much sorrow to share.  Within the word “I” is a single thought: the thought of our own identities.  As humans, we are all given to passing judgment of one sort or another upon others.  However, those judgments are so often very wrong, and it turns out that we find there is much more to those around us than meets the “I.”

I was planning on writing a bit more, but an unexpected (but very welcome) phone call came in at around 12:36 am until 1:48 am, so I’ve naturally been drained of all mental faculties.  I hope this encourages those of us in AACF to MOI with more people and get to know their own definitions of “I,” and that this may also encourage non-AACFers to go out and have their own version of a MOI with the people near and soon-to-be dear to them!

What If.

What if the sky was red and physics wrong,

A second was long and essays a song?

Were roses called pain and a heart called “brain”

Flying on ground and geniuses insane.

A whimsy a promise that never was broke

Or mountains tender streams of ice-cold smoke.

Broken hearts fleeting, were heartache a joy

Seas billowing high and wolves were so coy.

What if soldiers spoke in silent law courts

Or cats made to howl and dogs spoke in snorts?

Relationships singular, one for one.

True love legitimate, not just for fun.

What if God didn’t provide us His Son?

Simplicity.

Simplicity is, by definition, the quality of being easy to do or understand, yet how many of us truly understand the concept of simplicity itself? We find that more and more, our vast deposits of experiences transmute our lives into webs of increasing complexity.  We gradually deceive ourselves into believing that having more tangibles makes our lives more fulfilling somehow, that creating more chaos leads us onward to gaining inner peace.  When the web gets tangled, we blame others – for the rare few, ourselves – for what is going wrong with our lives, and we become morose and hunger for more problems, people, and positions with which to puff up our sense of importance.  We have begun to gain a sense of self-esteem based on how many involvements preoccupy us, procuring a false identity dependent upon the image of “leading a complicated life.” Somehow, the notion that being a “complex individual” became intriguing enough for the majority of society to accept it into the upper echelon of personality types.

I hope you caught onto the irony of the previous paragraph; it took much searching of vocabulary space to eke out those phrases onto e-paper (especially when I was feeling very uninterested in the topic initially). What I’m trying to say is that instead of searching for simplicity, we are going the opposite way. And how contradictory is this to our spiritual lives, where we can confidently say that Christ is all and is in all? (Colossians 3:11b) The age old adage of “taking time to smell the roses” wasn’t a joke; it was prescient at its foundation, realizing that we would no longer understand simplicity with our present societal standards.  Simplicity, in its very nature, is experiencing life to the fullest.  Anything and everything is capable of stimulating our sense, but it depends on how simply we perceive things for them to take effect.  The very complexity that we cling to now is the same thing that is preventing us from partaking in the lesser known joys of life; the way that strangers might smile at us from time to time, seeing the greeting of two close friends, sitting down to just take a load off.  We are so caught up with fashion, self-portrayal, and emotional insecurities that we fall further and further down the slippery slope. Instead, if we just lay it all down before God, all the baggage we’ve carried our whole life, the thoughts that flit through our mind’s space, the judgment we pass on those we don’t know – if we lay it all down and bare our souls before the Author of our creation, we find that our load becomes light.  Simple living is, at the surface level, living without care for the surface level, but deeper than that, it is allowing all things, big and small, to touch our hearts.

God is capable of designing the universe, placing stars into space, and breathing life into creation, but we are not.  So why pursue the big things, the fame, the self-satisfaction of knowing that we have “done something with our lives” in such a manner? Little do we know, the simplicity that resides in a dormant part of ourselves is capable of granting us far more than the mantle of intricacy ever will.  God has hidden things from the wise and revealed them unto babes (Matthew 11:25), but if we cannot lead the lives of the simple, how clouded is our judgment and how deaf we become to His gentle call.  This is not to say that we should not attain the heights of our potential, because God certainly has great things marked out within our lives, but we should rather recognize that faith is simple, and living simply is having faith.  When we read children’s books, there is no guile required to understand the meaning of the story because of that quality of simplicity.  And if we can just conform more and more to this characteristic of simplicity, we may find that it becomes our due felicity.

Bits and Pieces.

A heart, it beats, it beats, it beats.

Apart, it seeks, it seeks, it seeks.

When kindred hearts meet, a flame ignites

Seeing each other dimming the lights.

A glow far brighter than galaxy’s bright gift

Diamonds ‘midst sands wind needed to sift.

Yet light soon fades, and shadows swift swarm

The heat that once burned is now just lukewarm.

Grief soon sets in, with talons of fury

Eyes once bright have become now so dreary.

Hearts once whole have become shredded to bits

Pieces littering the darkest of pits.

A thousand, a million, innumerable

No longer a heart and no longer a soul.

Destroyed with just flame and purged for the ages

Sad songs passed down generations by sages.

The pieces collected, forged once again

A heart newly formed, making amends.

Essence of Eloquence.

The essence of eloquence,

the gift of feigned penitence,

Draws forth the callous of the soul

And forces words to make a whole.

Deigning to deceive

Full thoughts one may retrieve

Yet knowledge is not provided

and audience soon becomes divided.

Lexical brashness and flaunting

make employing meaning somewhat daunting

Taunting others who you think less

little do you know that you’re the mess.

To put it plain and simple,

Eloquence is a smile

without a dimple.

It’s Bright Outside.

When things are hard and your heart is breaking,

when silence sovereign and when life is aching,

take some time to look outside,

stow away all your confidence and pride.

Replace it with the Sun’s rays

and listen to the birds’ sweet lays.

Take out the darkness and despair

Run your fingers through each lock of hair.

And witness the beauty of your life,

ignore the voices, ignore the strife.

Then let all of your emotions outside you slide

and realize that’s it’s bright outside.

What it is to be a Brother.

So, for this week, I haven’t really been feeling the poetic vibe yet (besides a short eggsample poem I wrote recently); therefore, I am going to start with a writing piece.  Now, in my college experience, I’ve gone through three bikes already, all crumbling beneath some terrible misfortune that follows me.  I’ve since tried to learn how to skateboard, but it’s coming along at a mind-numbingly slow rate of progress. Today, I skated to my Greek Mythology class, but it seemingly took the same amount of time as if I were to walk, so I just decided to walk around campus after that.  Some hours later, some of the AACF brothers and I decided to go to Shemei’s house to help her with putting up a bed.  The other three brothers had bikes but I only had my board, and I wasn’t comfortable with riding it at high speeds.  So, all four of us just walked side by side until we got to Shemei’s house.

This got me thinking: how easy would it be to just say, “Well, I’ll meet you at Shemei’s place!”? Yet instead, these three brothers chose – my apologies, Robert Frost – the road less traveled by and walked their bikes with me holding onto my skateboard.  At the time, I guess all I was really feeling was shame because of my inability to ride quickly enough, but looking back on it, I marvel at the hearts of these three brothers.  Not only was it inconvenient and sluggish, but it was also fairly tedious for them to have to walk their bikes.   They even walked with me back to FT, and as I’m sitting here, I just reflect upon how many people I know who would do such a thing, and the number fits pretty snugly on one hand. Something about the simplicity of the gesture and the light-heartedness with which they did it filled me with gratitude for having them as partners in my spiritual walk; many times what we do speaks volumes more than what we could ever say, and their actions certainly spoke chapters to me today.

And isn’t this the truth of our relationship with the brothers as Christ’s Body? Sure, we might joke around occasionally, as in my now infamous rock picture, but when one member of the Body suffers, we all do; today, my burden was bore by them, and because of their help, my spirits soared.  As brothers, we are patient, humble, encouraging, present, and so many more adjectives towards one another as we build each other up in love, together grasping the full dimensions of the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:17 – 19).  The concept of love has been groped for by many scholars, philosophers, and romantics, yet what I know for fact is that it’s not merely a concept; it’s an experience, a thought put into flesh and given livelihood.  It’s a beautiful thing that comes in many forms and in many situations, but ultimately, it stems from Christ, who is all and in all.  It isn’t everyday that I experience something so basic, yet so astonishingly moving at the same time; but then again, I am taking a class that’s teaching me to live life more intensely.  Welcome, O love! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of brotherhood and to forge in the smithy of my spirit the bond between my brothers in Christ!