Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scattered Thoughts on Suffering

Suffering is perceived to be the bane of joy, and yet it is only through suffering that we accomplish true joy. Apostle Paul knew suffering more than anyone else, and yet he found true joy in doing so.

Elle Wiesel once wrote, “I have learned two lessons in my life: first, there are no sufficient literary, psychological, or historical answers to human tragedy, only moral ones. Second, just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.”

Rather than desiring to know why good people often suffer immensely (like Job), I would rather ponder how to comfort a suffering person.

I often feel that hope is the forgotten Christian virtue. We realize that love can move the mountains, bring two lovers to enjoy each other in unity, and embodies the essence of God Himself. We realize that it is by faith that Abraham believed and his salvation was counted to him. Faith is the very virtue we must exhibit (through word and deed) in order to be saved. Hope…how do you tell a suffering person to hope? As Wiesel writes I ponder and ask, “How are humans to be the hope of suffering human beings?”

It is often too much for me to think of my own suffering (which is such a trivial amount in reality), let alone take on the personal weight that my friends and family must suffer.

The weight of despair often weighs heavy upon a heart where there is no hope. A wise professor once said, “When despair lurks, Jesus will help you.” I believe it is true; Jesus will help. Sometimes phrases are easier to say than to believe.

The half-face of the man in the waning moon smiles upon a desolate beach and the waves speak of the darkness that engulfs all suffering beings. Hope comes from the Son, and yet it does not rise for three more hours. Only when we can grasp sunlight peeking through the tomb inch by inch can we understand hope in light of suffering. After all, the same light that killed the two Roman guards is the same light we all desperately place our hope in.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Time

I just got back from over 24 hours of being on a plane/in an airport and three weeks in Europe. Learned a lot, saw a lot, and experienced a lot.

Being gone made me realize how important my family is to me as I missed home quite a bit.

On the trip, people often inquired why America is NOT beautiful while places in Italy are. I'm not convinced that America is less beautiful than a place like Italy by any means. Certainly, most of the churches in Florence and Rome are much more aesthetically pleasing and fun than American churches, but America as a country is not ugly by any means. America boasts of beautiful places such as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, but places in Italy are much older, and thus more historically exciting. This thought is not complete, other than to note that America is beautiful for other reasons that Italy and Greece may not be. Another thing I thought about is how relatively new America is in terms of being a civilization (250 years of existence compared to the 2500+ years that a place like Athens has been around).

More thoughts about the trip that I may record throughout the summer. Glad to be home for now and ready to start work. Going to Yosemite this week. Excited about that =)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Death by Love

The poor world is almost six thousand years old, and in all this time there was not any man died in his own person, videlicet, in a love-cause…Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love. (4.1.81-92): As You Like IT – Shakespeare

Dare I say that Shakespeare was wrong?
Dare I argue against the king of literature?
Angels filled the firmament close to the throng,
In the face of Him who is holy and pure.

Watching, waiting, and anticipating,
Sat the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Perfectly removed; yet wholly participating,
In the realm of mankind, lest any man boast,

And when the time was right,
(Who knows how to gauge perfect justice?)
God sent His Son; so men may behold His sight,
And in return, the Son may die for injustice.

Man has died, but not for love,
The Christ has died, but only for love,
For who can forsake the Father’s Dove,
Who was sent from far above.

Atonement pierced the hearts of men,
Shakespeare is right! Shakespeare is wrong!
We are blinded by glory, and only then,
Do we realize that Christ died for love all along.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On Hope

I am descending into the midpoint of my existence,
Fading into a being who knows only loss,
Running with the great apostle to go the distance,
And dying with St. John of the Cross,

The night is dark, but darkness has not swallowed me whole,
Lions encircle me, but have yet to chew my flesh,
Upon my knees, I know not of Him I do not know,
I pray for hope, and to be revitalized a fresh, deep inside my soul

The darkest night of the soul is upon me,
And spiritual sloth has no place inside this home,
The stars guide me to all which I can see,
But I am like the great apostle heading to Rome,

Far too long I have caressed the fallen sparrow's head,
I have been defiant against providence far too long,
Watering a fading lily, won't bring it from the dead,
Foolishly, I jump inside every grave singing my song,

The path turns right and slowly ascends,
An ant crawls and a single flower blooms,
I have reached the turning point; thy path bends,
And hope looms inside my heart, the empty room,

Even the Christ had experienced some sort of loss,
Even King David descended to a place we know not,
To crush the serpent's head meant to be nailed to the cross,
We watched in disbelief; but we soon forgot,
That even Christ had experienced some sort of loss,

Imagine if you will, the moment the light crept into the grave,
When the stone rolled away, did light overwhelm the cave?
Or did it peek into the darkest hole ever to be seen?
Or was it sneaky, like a sunrise being painted on the scene?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

If You Keep Adding Stones, Soon the Water Will be Lost in the Well

Thy traditions of courtly love has flowed swiftly down,
From waxing to waning moon. The books we hold unlock
Thy world’s greatest mysteries that the heart has bound,
And What if Romeo never drank for whom he charmed,
And Juliet had not died in her lovers’ arms,
Upon their tombstone would read the greatest lovers for a day,
And time has not forgotten Shakespeare for another blissful May,

And what if the greatest lovers became jealous,
Of the non-existent tale written just about us,
Of the love potion that Tristan and Isolde partook,
We may drink of the same fiery passion that shook,
The very breadth and soul of them alike,
So that the fire that pierced the eyes of Dante,
Pierce our very heart like an arrow hitting the strike.

And What if Paris would have sacrificed Helen,
So lives would not be sacrificed upon the fields of Ilium,
Would Greek Mythology then remain hollow?
Would there be no more stories to follow?
What if Odysseus had no Penelope waiting at home?
And every twist and turn he battled,
Led him closer to Ithika, but further from Rome?

And What if Florentino had no Fermina to wait on?
Would he still drink of cholera when she is gone?
Would love even be there if Noah had no Allie,
And 365 letters were not penned by his own hand,
So that the white picket fence lay upon dusty land,
As dust settles over larger rocks comprised of sand.

And what if there was love as strong as this,
So that Venus mourns for love to never be amiss,
That even Mars and Jupiter bow down to worship
The bow of Cupid which never misses its mark;
As it strikes the path of the ascending lark.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hope and Mercy in 2009

I think the greatest thing about New Years is the fact that everyone has hope all over again. While my parents are hardly superstitious by any means, they have always held to the Japanese tradition that one must clean the house on New Years Eve so that it is immaculate. Heaven forbid you start the New Year dirty. And so the new year provides the hope to change. The errors that were made in 2008 won’t come back in 2009.

With the hope that all the goals for 2009 will be fulfilled must come the grace to accept one’s self when all the goals are not fulfilled. Not everyone will be in better shape this year than in 2008 and not everyone’s marriage will stabilize while they were rocky the previous year. What then do we do when we fall into dark times? Despair? Hope against hope? Certainly not!

Let us hope to accomplish every goal we set out to achieve, but do not despair when we fall into the bitterness of sin. Though we hope to be perfect (Phil. 1:14), we must have the faith that the mercy of God will pull us through every dark night and waning sunset the soul experiences. As our hearts are rejuvenated in the new year like a weary traveler coming upon an oasis, let us offer up our first fruits of this new year to the Lord.

May the hope that hath died be restored,
May the passion that hath ceased be renewed,
May the apathy that hath existed be asphyxiated with passion,
May the despair that hath seeped through be killed with hope.

“Grace is what God gives us when we don't deserve and mercy is when God doesn't give us what we do deserve” – Anonymous

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Because It Never Breaks Even...

Quick Poll: Can a guy and a girl ever be super close friends without one of them falling for each other?

It's been a thought project of mine for the semester. Half of my friends would probably say no and half of them would probably say yes. I've always believed yes, but now I've gone back and forth and am not too sure either way.

Oh and a Poem:

Love may speak of volumes,
Through the cracks of wrinkled skin,
Embedded deep within are the memories of life,
Happy moments intertwined with sadness of strife,

And though it is impossible to fathom,
Impossible to know,
The first smile would take us there,
And our first dance would bring us near,

Because now even walking is difficult,
And breathing is laborious,
The smile reveals cracked teeth,
But the eyes still sparkle the same,

The leaves fall representing the death of a season,
They freeze and crack; caught in the breeze,
I sneeze and smile, as you hack and wheeze,
Death be not proud, for death conquers all but one,

To die is to live, and to love is to die,
So hold on a while longer and laugh once more,
Sparkle as you did many years ago,
And show the light inside the dying eye,

And many think love looks like this or looks like that,
But can you paint love on a picture?
Or write about it in a poem?
Can you pick it up and hold it for a while?
As you squeeze it with the tip of your tongue?

Neigh it is impossible to say what it is,
Until one looks upon the wrinkled skin of a dying spouse,
Until one sees the leaves fall from a dying tree,
Until one gazes at the last sparkle of a twinkling eye,