The forest was singing its first song to me. I lay there bare and unabashed from the fallen leaves that surround me. I’m covered. This was a victory for me. I’ve always thought I did too much for myself. Now I know I’m beyond what I’ve done or will do. I am who I lay to be.
The Silk Road was once paved with merchants following the path of transaction. It was the growl of the sun that made some wonder if it was worth the toil to set up new shop. But it was the faith of children that made the moon shine even brighter in the cascade of dusty worry. They created their parents’ legacies.
“What will I become?”, asked the young rich ruler.
He pondered his existence in the pose of saints. His achilles relaxed in the closing of his eyes. His shoulders eased from the tenseness of having to wake up each morning. Yesterday was still heavy on his neck. Time laid softly with him caressing the drum of his heart.
I stocked my dependence on the cares of Caesar. It was his face on the token and his subjects to collect the tax upon a restless currency. I was bonded to my own step halfway on a bridge not knowing if I wanted to cross or if I wanted to go back. My achilles tightened. My shoulders fired.
I started running. My arms created a pocket of wind in the drag of my fists. I darted towards the unknown because I wanted to forget that the bridge was forgiving. It didn’t care if I were to turn around. But I did. My legs whimpered under the shade of an oak tree.
I am who I lay to be. Now I know I’m beyond what I’ve done or will do. I’ve always thought I did too much for myself. This was a victory for me. I’m covered. I lay there bare and unabashed from the fallen leaves that surround me. The forest was singing its first song to me.
It was an unprecedented hug- the grip of someone I had not felt and the touch that became my memory of someone that was more than a name at that moment. She was a distinct bliss.
Over the course of a few months it was as if I met myself in an alternative universe – the reincarnation of female genitalia with the weird familiarity that I was her. It was a one sided existence of wishing that she’d become my lover because I couldn’t stop staring. It became a robotic streak of wanting to analyze her nature while seeing how the God in me was the God in her. I felt warm in the presence of conversation and buzzed in the content of her life.
Yet I never really found out who she was. Maybe I wanted to imitate her in the fondness of thinking back to our hug- the content of alcohol charging the fuel of truth that linked our bodies together. The liquid in us was becoming the lava lamp that brightened each other’s souls. It was a dimension I wanted to enter but there were too many doors for me to wonder how I’d possibly get in.
So I left the courage of asking her if I could get to know her more. I started dabbling in the thought that it should be easier than this. My mind vacated the feel of her hug for the surprise of a different affection. Time wondered on by itself without the collar of its subject- only if it had written us back together. So I started thinking I could gamble on a door- the matrix of a thousand possibilities but time only left one key in my hand.
I barged in to turn on the light of my truth for her but she had left a note on her bed.
“I’m not here. And I won’t be. I’m sorry.”
I sat there with my spine buckling in the cowardly curve it was meant to host in fear. I took the note with me and closed the door behind. I entered the portal without the security of that hug and punished my thought of that romance until I hit a panic button.
We’ve all been there before, right? In the excursion of embarrassment, we live knowing we want to be hugged. It’ll be there- not hastened by the speed of our passion but by the gentleness of sincerity.
In the fortuitous night, a ream of circles found its way into the Everglades of the Tangzhe River. It was the boundless beginnings of embryonic life transfused with the mechanism of distinct wonder. The search was clear, not for a new dad but one that was approaching him without an interrupted permission.
His eyes felt cloudy and his retina a bit darker than what it was used to. And while he lost the sight of the image that was there, he made up for with sound. So the dragonflies buzzed overhead and the light of yesterday shone with a force of the fan whizzing under the summer night. He hallucinated in the worries of a demolishing presence- gripping with unapologetic fangs and venom that seeped past the thickest gloves. He wasn’t protected in this. But somehow he knew his life wasn’t over. It was the start of him being told that it was alright.
“It’s alright. Let out your heart. The dark will pass and my light will appear. Be kind to yourself, my child. I love you”.
And so he did. For the next 6 months, he was the prodigy of the image of his father. Striking cords on a guitar and being unabashedly kind to the music gods for making him that much stronger in his craft, his soul would not corrupt. He praised his dad in the medium that knew them together the most. The rot was peeled away and the lingering sourness of an unripe lemon was now mixed with the sweetness of new possibilities. That dragonfly flew and the water receded into the drought of the summer heat.
He left his soaked shirt on the clothesline and came back into the house for one more goodbye until he would visit again next year.
“Bye dad. This night was for you.”
He woke up with one eye satisfied at the vision of the girl that lay with him. He closes his eyes again to plan the tune of the tenor of a free day with his girlfriend. He has a tab of the LA map, history of restaurants, and interests of activities meshing through the web of his frontal cortex. The sponge of its platform goes to work all to think that his heart is sending a different signal.
He shouldn’t be living with her but he is. They shouldn’t be sleeping on the same bed but they are. It’s a game. And the shot clock frightens any trust that he’ll be able to find true love. The times have changed and the culture to love abides by the wide road of lust.
Imprisoned with a key in his mouth, he’s unable to unlatch the Siamese orbitals on his wrists. He inserts the key but it’s rotation 90 degrees east will leave him chipping his teeth and bleeding from his gums. His teeth are recovering from the bitter stalemate of reformed metal that can’t turn fully to let him go. Yet, he likes that he feels constrained.
So the day goes, charming his girl to the sights and sounds of LA. And as the lights go out, he wishes upon the star that he’d be able to follow the whispers of a dear voice. He wishes for the stars to come out so that he can come out of hiding. But for now, the battlement keeps him franchised to his fantasies, and without form of family.
He’s left scratching and resting in his addiction to feel pleasure. If she’s dissatisfied at any point, she’ll unlock his wrists and let him go. He’ll feel pain and liberation but he’ll want that feeling again while wishing for the spectacles of healing stars. He’ll continue to dress her curves and flaunt her appeal for the celebration of what’s temporarily his in those moments.
He’ll get what he wants but without the true reconnaissance of a break in the shatter of remnants already present. His feet are ready to bleed and his hands ready to sacrifice to step on his ugly self reflected on jagged edges. His dreams take him back to that seat where he’s crying out for true joy. But he’s warped in an episode that decides what’s best for him and he’s remotely caved in to the seat that takes his shape each night as he falls into the trance of sadness.
He cries. He sleeps. He wakes.
The heavier catapult launches the plank off my eye. But sometimes its momentum carries to strike someone else. The impeding laughter from the tomato hitting the performer becomes the sonic wave that echoes in a shallowness of my sea. Where in our walk did we find time to clean up the mess in front of us only to leave it on the sands of another shore?
Well, obviously I’ve found a way to do that again. And trust me, my excuses are endless. But Lord willing, would I learn to be patient and trust in Him? Please Sejin, it’ll save you a lot of trouble and pain.
Going forward though, I won’t ever touch a long distance relationship with anyone else. Even being seven years removed from my last relationship doesn’t do the trick; if anything, I’ve been alone in my pursuits and insensitive to her needs; heck, I’m just a grown up with an only-child complex. I’m too impulsive and often need life-boat moments to carry me away from this sinking ship.
So I validate that I’m not there yet. I steered into an iceberg that tested the heart of what fancied me in wanting to get to know her. But this same heart that raced in every thought of her is the same heart that that conditions me for marriage. It’s even funny that He would rekindle my heart in marriage because I was so unaltered all these long years by a wave alternate from love and family.
So in deeper prayer, I can only anchor in what has opened up in 2017- that I love Him more than ever, and I plan to run at a pace that’s equal to my partner without making her feel that she’s running alone. If my prayers are sincere, I’ll wait for her to catch up and in due season, I’ll be on board again.
I feel like my younger self wanting to recycle the convenience of feeling good for the moment. Who gave time permission to make me 27?
I once looked to the numerical figures rounding up to 30 and decided that was too far from where I was and who I’d want to be before I grew up. But time hit and I fell. Last year was a statement that I’d die before not getting up on my own two feet.
I didn’t want help- if this was the curse of man, I wanted the toil to whip its cords on me to get me moving. So I sweated and strained my neck by constantly looking up the ladder. Is there anyone coming down, so I can move up? Yet even in my stubbornness, it was the grace of God that prevented me from climbing with only the stability of a right angle.
Hit me hard, 27. Six weeks have passed, and is that all you’ve got? I dare you to punch harder because this soul is recklessly trecking a new path towards true freedom- there is no song that’ll possess me away from the praises that lift up His heavenly kingdom. If I don’t listen the lyrics of those I hurt, you win. If I don’t apologize and want to try better to the ones I love, you win. If I don’t enjoy what I’m privileged with, you win. And you know what? You don’t stand a chance.
And as the bell rings, I’ll be packed with books flipping through the memories of high school hallways, and collegiate laughter. I’m an adult of the number 27, and its course stabs like thorn.
27 is the trail to a fossa of gradual decline of form and movement- anatomy becomes a metaphor for youth, and creativity came with the seasons. I now plant my life in the foramen of God’s glory, hiding in nothing because there is reason to be planted in His awe and wonder.
If 26 was the image of an immigrant man washed ashore on a beating afternoon summer sun then I imagine 27 can be its brother’s keeper.
I, as a deer, will turn my head toward the trees that move too violently. Does it mean ill will against me and my loved one or do they shake in resiliency to protect us from the bitter winds?
At what juncture of our faith do we assume God is testing us? After all, aren’t our feeble minds quick to think that every stage or season in life is a test because that’s the world’s way of filtering through the top from the bottom putting us in our “places”. How are we inclined to think that the same Creator who gave up His son as a ransom for death would merely be gaining back our lives in the form of having us answering correctly on our “tests”?
Yet, what I do see biblically is that He disciplines us and refines us.
In discipline, we are to love Him. And rather than projecting the failure of us through a furnace, He rather molds us first and then like an artist who is satisfied with his or her piece will render the safety of its shape by giving it the permanence of fire. In relationship to the artist’s fingers to his mold, his next attempt is to refine the process developing the character of his work before letting it identify with the fire once again. So, where do we get the impression that God merely throws our rubbles into the fire?
Our lives are not a test and our decisions aren’t the bubbling of an answer choice handed off as a result to become a better candidate of His grace. He is not for an answer but rather for a journey that’s willing to be molded before being perfected by fire. Fire is not His subject, we are, so rather than allowing the naivety of testing to render our relationship with our Creator, let us be dear in our pursuits to panteth for the water.