“When God made the world, He knew it would be a messy place. Likewise, when He made you, He knew things would get messy. God is bigger than your mess, He is with you in your mess, and your mess comes as no surprise to Him.”—
————— Forwarded message ————— From: Appa<_____@____.com> Date: Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 4:57 PM Subject: You are doing good! To: “tru__@____.com”
Hello My Daughter,
I m sorry I was a little aggressive last night. I also have been a little anxious and touchy lately for no good reason despite God’s comfort and overflowing blessings. So, Dads get mad when they see same traits or flaws in their children.
I also share your anxious heart for different issues and different reasons. I also suffer from my own life insecurity and trauma despite God’s constant reassurances and reminding of His guidance.
In your case, I just want to remind you that your past breakups was NOT YOUR FAULT! Always, I have seen you doing your best as an honest faithful loyal loving person. It was God’s intervention to rescue you from those past disapproved relationships so that He can lead you to the right person that deserves you.
Now, we still don’t know if that person is Paul, but we just hope and pray. As for you and Paul I honestly feel that things are actually going much better than expected. Just remember to respect other person’s pace and style and it should take some time and adjustments. Even God is patient and slow to mold and shape His children for his missions.
Today’s qt verse for me and you is from Romans 10:11 As the Scripture says, ” Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
and to add to that some common grace (thanks, j. park!), i can’t help posting this j. clear guy’s stuff when i want to remember it too:
In other words, the goals and results that seem so valuable to you in the beginning actually become less valuable as you achieve more of them.
So, if the results mean less as you achieve more of them, how do you stay driven?
By loving the practice of what you do. It’s only the people who embrace their work as a craft and fall in love with the boredom of doing it day in and day out that stay driven over the long-term.
Guess what? This answer is now easy. If you love the practice of what you do, if you love the daily work, then you can be happy before and after you achieve your goals.
When you learn to love the process of what you are doing and not focus so much on the goal, you automatically find happiness while staying driven.
If you learn to love the practice of working out, then you’ll be happy right now and you’ll see results later. If you learn to love the practice of marketing your business, then you’ll be happy right now and you’ll see results later. If you learn to love the practice of supporting your friends and family, then you’ll be happy now and see the results later.
Happy and driven. Just one more reason why the system is better than the goal.
today we walked by the tree lined street and she suddenly stopped and said “oh my goodness all those yellow leaves were on the trees yesterday when i ran by them and now they’re all on the floor!” and it was true, all the tree branches were bare, all i saw was dull brown on them and all the loud yellow of the leaves had fallen to the ground.
and as she prayed for me this morning (upon my request hehe), she prayed:
God, we know that it’s not about her making it to the top or winning the praise of everyone. it was never about that, Lord, your design for her here was never for that. it’s about her glorifying you in everything she does there.
and you have provided for her time and time again, throughout the years, and even just this past week.
Lord, help me to remember You. Lord, help me to trust in You.
i am sitting here with my hair still wet from the shower, gray on gray pajamas, and i recall when i was in the little room in silverman alone, with my laptop and just a rock in my stomach, after i had received my first semester 1L grades. it was such an alone feeling moment. sterile, cold.
i dig up the thing i wrote back then, some near-four years ago, and it says:
they were [almost, really just a centimeter away from being] as bad as i thought they would be.
and believe me, i expected some very bad grades.
:o) trying. to keep a smile on.
okay but what’s the point? i failed at what i did. i did a bottom-level job at what i was supposed to be working this whole semester on.
one whole semester’s worth of awful, awful marks. i mean, wow. a whole semester of law school tuition, down the drain.
what did i think, that the professors would somehow serendipitously smile and give me completely unjustifiably good grades?
wrong, dear. wrong.
i did so very badly. wow. this was it. and i failed at it. wow.
i wonder when it will really sink in.
on the flip side,
i have no desire to see or hear from him for the next while.
i’m just too upset at myself, too ashamed of myself, too filled with regrets and self-revulsion to even be worth getting into a relationship with.
i’m repulsed with myself.
these are the consequences of my actions.
but more importantly, this is what happens when you just don’t try hard enough.
when you just don’t get smart enough.
this is what happens.
i know that at this point all i should be saying is, “better luck next time, next time.”
but i’m too disappointed with myself and my own performance to even bother muttering anything.
i hate me sometimes.
… i’d better keep reading hosea tonight.
i think i just want to take a cab home with my books.
honestly, being here kind of makes me sick.
law school. ahh law school.
i spoke to my parents today. as soon as my dad asked me what was wrong or if my heart was hurting i broke down and started crying. i told him i was sorry and i felt so ashamed and i actually…. just told him everything.
he comforted me, he soothed me, he told me i did a great job, and he told me he loved me. he told me that i did great when i know i didn’t do great. he told me to trust in God. he told me to remember today’s QT, that God makes so much out of just nothing. he told me it wasn’t about my grades, and that it was about me trusting in God because He would always provide and carry me. he told me not to cry and say sorry, he said don’t say sorry, because the reason he was paying for my education and providing me with all of these things was because he loves me. not because of my tests (which he never asks about and never has asked about), or my performance in school, so certainly not my grades. he says i needed to think about his support all these years simply as a father’s love. and that i needed to remember God’s love that way.
and for good measure, he said he’d even send me more spending money here in philly if i needed it. har. har.
then i talked to my mom. and she was proud of me and told me i did a very good job. which i told her wasn’t true, it wasn’t. but she said she was still so proud of me and that she loved me.
so . there.
if i were at harvard law school and chief editor of law review and future first female president of the united states of america, but without the mom and dad i have today, i would still not be an iota as blessed as i am today, having the parents i have. they love me.
and that love changed me today. just a little bit, but a true bit. it made my heart softer and swellier and it naturally made me want to forgive others and love them because why hoard this love, love that i’ve grown up with as it’s been drenched onto me, year after year? i receive love from God i receive love from dad i receive love from mom i receive love from my sister
and so the only thing left to do is give love spill it spill it spill it spill it onto everyone around me
"them" includes him, the boy who, for this entire season, left me feeling stripped and empty and cheap and unwanted abandoned i wanted to forgive him and show him love and i did, i think i did then.
"them" includes the unloved the hard to love the people who need love the people who are hardened to love so maybe God will give me an opportunity to love those unloved and serve them and give them power.
i am so blessed. my grades suck but when has my performance in school, my gpa, ever been the determining factors of how far i’ve been taken ? i shouldn’t have even gotten into this school or the one before that yet here i am.
so back to the present.
last night i talked on the phone with my mom, and the night before that i talked on gchat with my dad and mom. things never change with them. God, i know your plans can not be thwarted. you told me so in job 42:2.
on sunday i walked back for prayer after the sermon on obadiah and humility and laboring in vain and pride. the pastor’s wife was there to pray over me then and one thing she said was: ”God, we know that you don’t promise us clarity… but you do promise us your peace.” and then she asked that God would be my peace and give me peace in my heart even in my workplace.
and i take delight in the fact that God hears my prayers. and i take delight in my weaknesses. and i do feel a deeper peace inside of me this week, than the stormy stuff that just kept rolling about inside last week.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
"You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?"
my gratitude and happiness are so largely dictated by my moods and circumstances. i am also a forgetful person, in that i forget the prior 17 good things that may have just recently happened to me, as soon as approximately 5 days pass after the 18th thing, the bad thing.
i forgot, for instance, that just about a month ago, my little daisy met me in new york and we used my firm’s office on the 45th floor of a glass building, the 5th tallest building in the city, as our own personal luggage closet and we ate at nearby japanese restaurants for lunch and dinner and i barely had to do a shred of work the entire time she was with me in new york. and that the first night, the firm paid for my hotel suite and paid for my meals and my train and my flight and i got to shmooze with all those professionals and graze at free sushi and laugh it up in people’s offices and that doto got to take boatloads of pictures on the reception floor, where all you see is the 360 degree panorama because the floor to the ceiling is a glassy clear. or a clear glass.
i forgot, for instance, that about two weeks ago i felt intellectually stimulated, my brain nodes challenged while respected even, by the totally random assignment i had to work on for the person for whom i’d never worked, and how reach for the stars it felt when he said my product was very well written and when he called my work really great. how much ownership and professional dignity i felt when he shared his case strategy with me, when he asked for my thoughts and opinions on the matters. in that scene i so enjoyed bankruptcy law. it felt like a fun near neon puzzle that wasn’t out of my league. maybe a 500 pieces picture instead of a 5,000 one.
i forgot the vision boards lo and i got to make at kristen’s, the cava and lime and cava lunches that i got to enjoy after church with jos and lo, the pleasant pops lounge sessions i discovered for my recent saturdays, the locolat i got to try out for the first time with julie and jos, the annandale car adventure i got to have with lo and dan and don, the same adventure i got to have with them at las canteras,
i forgot, for instance, that for months i didn’t have to work on any weekends, that for months and months i didn’t have to see the face of the one who makes me so anxious and little-feeling, that when i visited the new york office God took care of me really well, all my interactions and all my introductions and all my moments with doto.
and i forgot that while paul was here before doto, he came on a friday when no one was at work because of the upcoming memorial day and that we played and played and i had no work that whole weekend.
i forgot alllll those things, and many more, simply because for the past two weeks i’ve had to be on call non-stop (not even on friday nights really) and endure a constant stream of above-average stress and face snide comments and side-eyes and rudeness and it’s a relatively uninteresting case with much gruntwork and administration to be done. (i state the obvious, but it’s not a lot of hardship for all the triumphant undeserved moments with which i’ve been lavished).
i am so forgetful.
m encouraged me today. her left hand showed Christ and her right hand showed me in my sin. Christ is the yes to all God’s promises. and she placed her left hand over her right hand so that her right hand was completely covered and all God would see was her left.
i like this song. i like the first line and the second line and the third line and the fourth line.
Your glory is so beautiful
I fall onto my knees in awe
And the heartbeat of my life
Is to worship in your light
‘Cause Your glory is so beautiful
Your glory is so beautiful
cauliflower smells like cheese in a big way. and when you roast it it gets all meaty and fantastic.
four out of my six items came today. unfortunately i love the ones i’ve opened so far and so i’ll have to keep them. there goes my plan of hassle free returns. we shall see about the dress and the skirt though.
lo went so far as to email kristen and ask if i could please just have my birthday off of work (it’s a saturday). hilarious. kristen had to inform her in the nicest way possible that it was laughable to even think that there existed birthdays here at the firm. :o)
hahhaha. it’s okay. i know God protects my time when i need it. i’m not worried.
sometimes i really just can’t imagine riding this bicycle for more than this year.
my mom said something interesting last year, which basically went something like: don’t become one of those people who grows up and makes a lot of money to buy a big house that only your nannies get to enjoy because you’re too busy working day and night to even spend any time inside of it.
because it is true. she and i agreed that we’d rather have smaller houses that we actually got to spend time in and enjoy.
on that note, oh how i miss my happy warm home sometimes~ bye
i realized that after revisiting my old wordpress in the contemplation that i might resume writing in it to supplant my tumblr, because i don’t like how the tumblr text box doesn’t take up the whole screen as you write.
this weekend was fun. i had to do a lot of work and it was a subconscious persisting sheet of stress all throughout which is definitely not as bad as conscious stress but still sinister in that it makes you do weird things that you probably wouldn’t do if you had control of your schedule and knew when you were doing what. the things i had to do for work this weekend weren’t hard, it’s just that they were kind of annoying and dragged out and time sucking. but still. better than having my heart pound and rushing to my office and staying there, heart still pounding, until a solemn finish past the midnight mark. such solitude, those walks back home. you look up at the dark sky and you quietly pray your thanks to God, and it’s a simple moment when you know that He’s the only one who knows exactly what your heart feels and what you’ve been through, and that it’s not so bad because He was there the whole time to strengthen your hands as you worked in a flurry. and in that moment, only He knows your [manageable] tired heart.
"strengthen my hands." learned that brief prayer from nehemiah this month. :o) that whole book was basically them building the wall. building the wall as they fought off attackers who wanted to kill them. building the wall as they escaped schemers who tried to trap and destroy them. building the wall as they learned what division and sin they themselves were capable of completing and repeating. just building that wall.
i turn 27 this week. lo gave me a choice between two life mottos that she’d coined for her own year of being 27 years old: ”27th heaven” … or “lucky 27.” i chose 27th heaven. speaking of which, jessica biel really got smoking hot as she grew older. i am allowed to make shallow but truthfully asserted observations in my blog, hear hear.
friday night i watched don jon with jos. it was good and meaningful time. before that i ate brussel sprouts that had been roasted with grapes and shallots. i love a good char on my autumn vegetables but in this batch there was no vegetal green relief to be found amidst the blackened leaves. which made the “good char” vastly less autumnal in what it conjured (food always conjures something emotional, i think) and just reminded me of frostbite in a forest of hades instead. still, i prefer too much char to not enough char. too much herb instead of not enough. more rosewater in the fizzy drink, please! and extra cilantro or rosemary or basil!
pleasant pops failed me because they ended up being stingy with their wifi on weekends until 4 p.m. (trying to cordon off cafe lingerers like me, i see!) and so i traveled up 18th to tryst and they were the same and then i went farther up 18th to starbucks and their wifi was a bust so i ended up walking the whole of adams morgan and ending up close to where i started, it seemed. lucky for me, jolt n bolt welcome me with open arms and a green kiwi-celery-cucumber-ginger-strawberry concoction. the simple things.
later that day, i returned to pops with jos and showed her pictures of pretty things online. i valued her thoughtful input and she helped me realize some aesthetic probable-truths. i say probable because i have not confirmed that they are for sure true yet, but they probably are. i think it’s a neutral-to-bad sign that this past week i purchased six items online for delivery to me. the subconscious stress, i blame. the two-day 25% off sale on shopbop, i blame. the new life plan to dress like a professional and “fake it ‘til i make it” (another motto that lo tossed over to me) in blazers and heels and blouses and maybe one day even skirts, i blame.
oh, i won’t pretend to have experienced a succession of seven triumphs before meeting with you again, my white page ‘ole pal. this week was not particularly glorious, i shopped online a lot and thought too much but didn’t write enough and worked productively a lot but didn’t sing much praise and chatted a lot but didn’t reflect and grow very much and even went to the gym as often as i should have but ate too many wastes of food and not enough nourishing foods (hello, sudden and uninvited pimples!) and i… and i… perhaps i had my moments of victory too, though. they were interspersed with my moments of failure. my hours of failure. my days of weakness and my memorable poor decisions. but like i said, i feel like there were good decisions too, i just don’t remember them exactly right now.
i would like to write every day or a few times a week if i can. i want to write at nearly every moment of my life and yet i don’t because i hold myself back because i most of the time think that what i have is not worth writing down even if i want to. but who have i to please but God in heaven? who have i to please but God in my job, that financial restructuring material, or in my writing, that word language thought material, or in my praise, that song and worship and meditation material, or in my prayers, that silence and pouring out and asking and hearing material, or in my relationships, or in my moving and walking and hairbrushing and cooking and buying and cleaning and sleeping and seeing and smelling and touching and trying to be figuring and resting. WHO HAVE I TO PLEASE but you, God.
also, taylor swift has a song called 22 that i find frustratingly so catchy but i am 27 not 22 so it will be harder to replace when singing due to the excess syllable.
Right now… It’s hard to describe what i’m feeling right now, because all of it is a jumble and a mess. you know what i think? i recognize that i have not written in a while. i think that maybe one of the reasons for my writers block is that in my profession, everything i write has to be so CLEAN and CRISP and PRECISE and error-free, because if it isn’t, you always lose something—credibility, trust, the untainted memory of your past “good” work products, your ultimate reputation, and job security… to name a few. all of it is very reflexive off of what other people’s reactions will be. whether other people see those mistakes, those deficiencies, and what kind of response it will elicit. and so i kept writing things down in my paper notebook. because part of me wondered what i’d lose if i wrote something i wasn’t happy with the next hour or the next day. but today i write, because i’m going back to a place where i used to write more than i do now.
ladies, gentleman, audience of three, i am currently on board a train to philadelphia, pennsylvania! correction: an aCELa train. courtesy of my employer. my firm. i’m being transported to philadelphia for free, and i’m staying at a hotel there for free, and i’ve never been to this hotel before because it’s so expensive and luxurious looking and there was just no reason to blow extra money like that. i’m going to run along the schuylkill river, my favorite trail in this whole wide world, the trail where i cried as i ran because that is what happens when one begins to understand, for such isolated moments in time, God’s love for oneself. God protected those moments, they were just between me and him, and the setting sun i suppose, and the river by my side too, i guess, and the occasional flock of geese that inhabited the area. and sometimes i’d breathe too hard as i wept or i’d feel that ever-there feeeeeeeling you feel when you just want to be in God’s presence and not move and the feeling comes from a part of you that’s deeper than the ordinary tasks of living expose, that i’d have to stop and sit at the bank of the river. i remember key moments like:
on this bench i thought on the truth that Jesus’ love is so humble.
on a grass ledge over the water i thought of God’s love for me as my Father, how much he wanted to show me life in Him, after annie planted the image at the very same spot earlier.
under one bridge i always looked at the sun and the water and during the fall that picture of the trees that emerged more into view with the more steps i ran… was always beautiful, and sometimes breathtaking.
and as i ran in the more open space by the water here, i thought of what a love between a boy and a girl would look like if the boy and the girl both desired the pleasure and the glory of God more than themselves. and how much more beautiful than anything on this earth, any romance movie or novel or song, that would be.
anyway, that was a tangent. i guess the thing that really gets me, that really knocks me down about this trip, is that i’m going for OCI. those dreaded three letters from my latter youth. on. campus. interviews. and i’m going to serve as a “hospitality host” for this firm of mine, i’m going to sit at the suite designated for my office, and i’m going to make conversation with students at the law school who will walk in with their durable resumes and who will seek to impress these law firms while simultaneously gauging which law firm most impresses them.
i forget the exact number, but i may have had about 25-some law firm interviews when i was a second year law student looking for a job like all the others.
not a single callback.
the next year, i came back as a third year law student. i was one of only a handful of third year law students who were unemployed and still looking, still hoping for the wacky and relatively unmerited miracle that someone would decide to take a chance on them and offer them a job that their grades took them out of the running for.
not a single callback (again).
so, emails. what felt like a hundred of them, but was perhaps more like 50. emails sent to every law firm in california that i could think of, using every possible way to shirk explaining my grades. i heard a hundred doors shut, though not at the same time. it was… repeated, repeated, repeated defeat.
and then, in october or so, there was an opening in DC. a well known firm with a top ranked group in a highly specialized field that i knew nothing about (and later still knew nothing about after taking a class that i did so poorly in), was looking for a third year candidate with “stellar academic performance.” clearly that was not me. but, long story short, details about intermediate doors omitted…
God opened one door. just one. i got my first and only callback that would ever potentially lead to a job, and i remember that as soon as i stepped out of the metro station, i squinted in marvel because it looked that day as though the sun had followed me there, from the schuylkill river to dupont circle. the trees, the shop windows, the bookstore signs, everything reflected the sunlight five-fold, with such happy aggression! i can’t even describe to you what the sunlight looked like that day, i only see it in my mind.
and i still remember the opening lines. my current boss sat down across me, at the table at which we now take many of our internal case calls, he looked me direct in the eyes and said, “so tell me about yourself.”
five hours later, the interview was over. i was spent, my friends had prepped me, and i felt peace knowing that i’d tried my best.
and then in november, the day before my flight home for thanksgiving, God sent the voicemail to my phone. like how the stork leaves the baby on the front doorstep!
my mom and dad audibly yelled when i told them.
and i told my law school sisters. and i think they near cried a little too.
i looked at the resumes of the law students we are interviewing. there are many of them. more than half are summa this, phi beta that, law review here, dean’s list there. and everyone wants a job. every day my inbox is saturated with more than a few articles that repeat the same [true] soundbite over and over again: law school graduates are looking for jobs. i’m stressed out about 2 or 3 things that i have to finish by the end of the month, and every day at the office is like a social battlefield of sorts. but i know that on the 15th day of this month and on the last day too, i’ll be paid for my meager services. and even though my dad says otherwise, i think i’ll be paid more than my skills and contributions probably worth.
i can see the tip of this structure from my office.
“I had a professor one time [who] said, “Class, you will forget almost everything I will teach you in here, so please remember this — that God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and he has been speaking through asses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself.”—Rich Mullins
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us.”—Henri Nouwen
it is 50% i-see-the-good-in-it and 50% hard/potentially embittering and spirit-crushing and makes-me-feel-like-i-am-just-a-terrible-low-and-down-thingggg, i would say.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 corinthians 12:9
so counter to everything we are taught here. what do these words truly mean, Lord?
there are really only three reactions that i have to watching any dance video:
1) S.S.S. - this stands for Secret Smug Satisfaction. smug because i believe that the choreography is not very good; i could have done better; i could have choreographed better; i wonder what gives this person such confidence as to enable them to post this in public, as a reflection of their best, as a work product, as a … thisisme statement. satisfied because i feel good knowing that i’m “better than” this dancer at least. secret because all of the thoughts and emotions above are just really damn ugly.
<self-preserving disclaimer: S.S.S. typically comprises < 6% of instances of my reactions because i rarely find, nor do i seek to find, dancers on youtube who are “worse” than me.>
2) Jealousy - this one’s easy. the dancer is better than me, hotter than me, more talented than me in all respects, and i grow uncomfortable. i can’t tear my eyes away from this person because she is so hot and so good and the combination is near mesmerizing. so i sit there, paralyzed, because i cannot stop admiring them while envying them while wishing i were so much more than i am and simultaneously fatiguing myself as i chew and rechew the realization that i will never be that good and never be that hot. i stew.
3) Joy - i recognize the sublime. and it is easy because who ever has a choice when they are being swept away? i hold my breath (involuntarily, obviously) and my face breaks into great wobbly smiles because i cannot believe that there exists such beauty and intelligence and lightness and finesse in this world, but all in one person, as her bodymindemotion moves and moves and moves. and we get to see! and seeing makes me joyful because it is beautiful to me, and it does nothing for me in my personal life, or my career, or my well-being, per se, it is not helpful to me in any practical way, it does not add anything to my ability or skillset and it is … technically … useless. but it lifts me up for as long as it is being seen (by me) and i guess it’s because i’m just happy that it’s there, in existence, and knowing that it’s there, and seeing what it is…. touches me. the fact that it is what it is and it is beautiful, makes me HAPPY! no, SO HAPPY.
that is all. there i said it. in reverse order: the good, the bad, and the damn ugly.
and that is why the past still mystifies, touches, sometimes shoves, and demands of us.
The past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past … . That is why we dwell on the past, I think.
note that i just wrote to a person a few minutes ago.
At work right now. I was about to submit a big set of pleadings to the same girl who got very upset at me last time but I decided to double check my work just in case.
Thank the Lord that I did! I think I found more than several gigantic errors in half of the docs. I get scared just thinking about what would have happened if I hadn’t forced myself to just go through the procedure of checking twice.
Wanted to thank you and share with you that victory/huge showing of the Lord’s grace today. felt like i was co-laboring with the Lord in the office! and kept saying “whew” and “oh my GOSH” with every mistake i found.
….. you have saved me like whoa today, Lord. you are disciplining me and teaching me here. i am learning. thank you.
oh my goodness coffee is amazing. what CLARITY! and physical DRIVE! i know it’s not an ideal relationship, human body+coffee, but at this finals-approaching time in my life, i do believe it was God’s little superpresent to me.
this morning it snows. it’s beautiful so i went out on my balcony to snap four pictures. i ate oatmeal. (that was a strange decision). the oatmeal settled into a warm little mealy mound in my tummy. i feel good.