You know, I like my life.
I like Sundays like today, when I don’t have to rush to church and sneak in the back, hoping no one will notice. I liked this whole week, waking up at 7 or 8am to go swimming with my housemate Emily, or go running on the wooden path downtown while the sun is still low enough to glow warm and make everything look friendly.
I like walking directionless around campus with my housemate Will, hearing his patient insight about dealing with frustrating relationships. I’m grateful to feel comfortable enough to say what’s on my mind, and more grateful that he feels comfortable enough to call me out when I make vague blanket statements, or can’t see past my own perspective. He’s patient, and talks me through things until I begin to see a different way, which is all but necessary when living in intentional community with four others in our program. I’m struggling. I’m frustrated. I’m confused why loving others is so hard sometimes. But, I digress. I like being part of a challenging, intentional relationship that might teach me valuable things about loving others. I like when Will unexpectedly hugs me in the woods, engulfing me into him in a goofy, playful way that lets me know we’re ok, and we’re on the same page.
I like going to the school cafeteria after church and having Korean people to wave at, chat with, and eat with. Oh what a far way things have come since I was that middle school girl with a torn lunchbox and nowhere to go.
I like my when my Korean friend 한별(Hanbeol) comes over in workout clothes, excited and ready for whatever workout I throw at us. I’m grateful for the familiarity of teaching fitness again, even if it’s just us outside on the track. It’s nice to be doing burpees, mountain climbers, and jumping jacks next to someone who’s really giving it her all, as tired or more tired than I am, but still gritting her teeth and scrunching her face in determination. It’s nice to have a workout buddy, to guide and explain and encourage. Lately I’ve felt pretty dumb, useless, and slow, forgetting my co-workers Korean names, failing to control or teach a class of elementary school kids, or overhearing others talk in hushed Korean about that foreigner who “really doesn’t know a lot of Korean, does she?”. But tonight, I was in my element, all of me on board. I like collapsing into the grass after the last of 3 sets of mountain climbers, or burpees, and hear 한별(Hanbeol) collapse, gasping beside me, knowing we’re in this together.
But what I like the most is laying supine on the cold, short turf, exhausted, satisfied, and staring at the impossibly large cloudless sky above us. The deafening vastness fills my mind till I can’t think or feel anything else. Only a couple of stars can just barely be seen.
“And He brings out the starry hosts by number; He calls them by name.”
I love it when scripture pops into my head, giving me hope that something within me is right. I like being aware of our God, not through my own mental effort of bringing Him to mind, squeezing Him into my full, busy head, but being empty, and having the knowledge of God effortlessly fill the empty space with grand vastness and holy understanding. I like praying in the comforting free-ness of a God who hears me, listening also to 한별(Hanbeol) echo the prayer in Korean, on the grass beside me, praying to our God, perhaps up there in that impossibly large sky. I like naming out things that are perfect to us in the moment – the weather, the workout, the time of day right when day meets night, our friendship. All gifts from God, whose love seems so real, and so close to us in that moment.