Posts tagged ‘Love’

January 29, 2012

Love at First Sight

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My winter vacation is coming to a bittersweet end.  These past six weeks have been the most physically-draining, emotionally-taxing, yet spiritually-vibrant month-and-a-half of my life.  After all the retreats and related preparation, it’s funny to think that a new semester will be a “lighter load” than what I’ve just experienced.  But through the grace of God, I was able to spend the last couple days of my break with good food, great friends, and an amazing family.

I’m very close with much of my extended family on my mom’s side (my dad’s side is all in Korea, so I haven’t been able to see them in years).  Amongst the seven of our cousins and two in-laws, we call ourselves “Operation Super Pew.”  It’s our eldest cousin’s dream for all of us to attend the same church and occupy an entire pew to ourselves (which we’ve executed on a couple of occasions).  Three weeks ago, we added an addition to the Operation.  My cousin, Betty, and her husband, Kyung, gave birth to a beautiful daughter, and I had the privilege this past week to meet that little bundle of joy.

I guess you could call me a romantic.  I enjoy chick flicks and Korean dramas, and am decently aware of all the cliches and “events” that couples do for each other.  But even in my affinity for the cheesy and tacky, I never really believed in “love at first sight.”  We’re familiar with the scene in movies where the male protagonist walks into a bar, and standing across the room is his female counterpart, whom he falls head-over-heels for at initial glance.  Given my objective nature and accounting background, there are too many factors to consider and a number of intangibles that are being overlooked for LAFS to be possible.  But then I met my niece, Evangeline… and all that went out the window.

For being only three weeks old, she was the most expressive and most innocent person I’ve ever met in my life.  My Facebook photos don’t serve justice to how many of the beautiful faces she was capable of in the fleeting moments that I was able to hold her.  My cousin told me she probably doesn’t even know what faces she’s making or which emotions are connected to certain expressions, but I like to think she does.  Why?  Looking at that picture (above), seeing her smile, and knowing she’s happy … there’s no other feeling quite like it.

Gospel Connection:  As I held Evangeline for the first time, I couldn’t help but feel how much love I had for her.  There was something within me that convicted me to pray for her the moment I was told that she was conceived.  There is something within me that makes me miss her a great deal already.  And there will always be something within me that will look out for her best interests.  And yet, how much more did, does, and will God forever love us, His children!  Before our conception, to this very day, and in the many years to come, God manifested His complete and genuine love for us in the Son, Jesus Christ.  I like to call it the “cosmic love at first sight.”

As I held Evangeline, I couldn’t help but think, “I would give up everything for this child.  I would die for this kid.”  In that moment, I was able to catch a glimpse of the sacrifice that God made for His children.  But just as quickly as that moment came, it was surpassed by the reality that any sacrifice that I could make for her had it’s limits.  As I’m sure my cousins would share the same sentiment of unconditional love for their new daughter, whatever sacrifice they make for her would be conditional.  If we as human beings chose to give up our lives for the sake of a loved one, at best, that would only temporarily alleviate discomfort or prolong that person’s life for a couple more years.  But to fully understand the Gospel and the implications of the Cross, we must come to grips with exactly what was being lost, and what was being gained.  The everlasting, all-loving, and all-powerful God of the universe decided to incarnate Himself in the person of Jesus, so that through His death, sinners like us could have life.  So while my or my cousins’ decision to sacrifice everything for Evangeline samples that love, the complete expression of it is something we may never fully understand.

But the Gospel never stops there.  In the picture of the Resurrection, we are given that new life.  Jesus provides for us the answer in which we don’t have to make that sacrifice ever again.  We are no longer ruled by the limitations of human will and the slavery of sin, but given eternal life under the blood of Christ.  I praise the Lord for my sake, my family’s sake, certainly Evangeline’s sake, and hopefully for your’s, that this is the assurance that we can place our hopes in.

November 6, 2011

3 Korean guys, 2 rakes, and a leaf-blower

Whenever I come home to Connecticut, my stay seems to be categorized into certain roles that I am to play for my family.  The following is a list of such roles:

    • English translator – my mom will save a bunch of letters/notices that she got in the mail from banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, car dealership, etc. since the last time I was home, and ask me to translate what they mean.  Essentially, she wants to know if the aforementioned entities are trying to bill her any random charges because she doesn’t fluently read English.  Most often than not, it’ll be spam mail or standard notices of obscure procedures the consumer doesn’t have to worry about.  You would think that my brother would be able to do this, but his response is always, “Ask Nameun when he gets home.”
    • Garlic peeler – self-explanatory, especially if you come from a Asian-/Korean-American household.  For some reason, there’s always garlic to peel when I come home.
    • Baker – I follow after my mom in that I have a huge sweet tooth.  She always stocks up on box-brand brownie, cake, and/or bread mixes in the house, so I can make them for the family whenever I come home.  It doesn’t take much to read instructions off a box or pre-heat an oven, but for some reason, “it always tastes better made by my hands” (her exact words, translated literally from Korean).
    • Cashier – being small-business owners, my parents will always take the opportunity now to station me at the store to have me close.  I don’t mind it so much anymore.  It gives them a couple hours off their regular 12-hour daily shifts, and me an opportunity to catch up on reading or watch TV (something I don’t have at school or even at home anymore).
    • Cheap manual labor – this one is seasonal.  If it’s the summer, this role manifests itself as Lawn Mower.  If it’s the winter, Snow Shoveler.  If it’s the spring, (because we live in New England) a combination of any of the two just mentioned.  And like today, if it’s the fall, Leaf Blower/Raker.

My dad told me to come home early from church today (a.k.a. no ritual golfing after service) to help clean the leaves that had accumulated on our lawn.  When my dad, brother and I get to working this afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice the work dynamic that took place.  I got outside first, grabbed a rake, and started “priming” the lawn to make it easier for either my dad or brother to blow.  My dad automatically goes for the blower first, most likely because he doesn’t trust either of his sons to carry out “Operation Clean Leaves” as was planned out in his head.  My brother stumbles out later, grabs the other rake and begins working on the front lawn (where the leaves are most visible to third parties, not worrying about the side or back lawns, because people driving by our house/guests can’t see those areas).

Eventually, my dad calls for us to stop whatever we thought was the most efficient way to go about raking the leaves, to help him execute “Operation Clean Leaves” as he devised.  More for the reason of not wanting to hear him nag, the Cho sons relent to his dictatorship.  After about an hour or so, the work gets done fairly efficiently, and we’re all pretty content with our productivity.  I know that if I wasn’t home, it would have taken them a lot longer to finish the job than desired.

Gospel Connection: The initial GC that I crafted in my head revolved around something like “teamwork” and how each member of the body of the Church plays a different role. But here’s the revised GC after reflecting on this episode a little more.

I don’t get to spend too much quality time with my family.  Given that I’m fairly reserved in my emotions and affection towards them to begin with, I’m almost rarely home for too long because of the responsibilities I have in Boston/at GCTS.  Although not very much affection was expressed in words during the course of our leaf-cleaning activity, it was still quality time nonetheless.  I know my dad appreciated my help, the time we were able to spend together, and having done so without a begrudging attitude.  Honor your mother and father.  Sometimes, it just looks different for some people.