church

some people come to ask questions. others come to find God. and then there are those who come to find a sense of community.

i’ve gone to church for as long as i can remember. in my early early years, i went to church with my grandma. it was a tiny church, and i remember we moved locations several several times. there was no structured children’s program or youth group. all the kids just had one sunday school teacher. but i remember participating in the yearly Christmas program, always doing the same “Silent Night” routine with candlesticks.

in sixth grade, i began attending Inland Korean Presbyterian Church in Pomona, as it was called back then. i still recall my sense of fear and anxiety on my first Sunday in Sunday school, and how I asked my mom to sit in the class with me. i don’t know what the other kids thought about that, but my mom graciously and comfortingly obliged. and that summer, i joined the youth group. Inland youth group gradually became home over those awkward years of adolescence, trying to “find” myself and my identity in God. i attended Inland Church for about 15 years, minus the four years that i went away to Smith College and found my community at Amherst Koinonia Church, but that’s a whole separate blog entry in itself, so i’ll save it for later. through that time, IKPC changed… it grew… we outgrew the first building and the congregation agreed to build a shiny new two-story sanctuary with rows of palm trees in front. IKPC became Inland Church (PCA). the youth group split into separate middle/high school and college groups. the college group became an English Ministry. the young adults entered. The English Ministry became a young adult ministry, while the college group went back to being its own separate entity. the youth group split between junior high and senior high. and so it goes on and on. though i haven’t returned to Inland since i left around 2005, i’m sure many changes have occurred since then, and will continue to occur.

City Light Church has been my community for the past five years, but it too has changed gradually. and i think that’s where i’ve found the disconnect and discontent within myself: having difficulty with change, but never wanting to grow complacent. stagnant. trying to find a balance within the two states.

so there are definitely questions i’ve been wrestling with, emotional states i have found myself in, wondering what is the best for me, but then again, knowing “church” is not about me and filling my needs. why do i go to church? why have i gone to church? to ask questions? to find God? to be a part of community?

does any of this really matter?

some would argue that it does… ask me on a different day, and i would probably agree… over the years i have found community within the church. i have found stability, comfort, security. i’ve found a sense of home.

but lately, i guess i’ve been growing restless again. no matter how great this current community is, i can’t help thinking that there must be more

bloom

i don’t usually post personal pieces here. but this particular one has held my thoughts captive for awhile. not because of its poetic qualities or nature, but more so because of the message i was trying to convey in writing it.

a dear friend, an artist and graphic designer, had asked me to write a piece on girls and sex trafficking and redemption, to inspire her for a piece she was designing for a group show.

i realized i have difficulty writing “on command”; thoughts and lines come best when they simply flow out of my conscience. i also don’t know much about young girls’ experiences who are caught up in the sex slave trade business, but i can imagine, based on the reading and research i have done. i also gathered thoughts and feelings related to the work that i do as a therapist, because many of the children i work with have been abused in some way, and they are on their own journeys of healing and redemption. finally, i wondered about all of the rest of us, who are on a similar journey towards finding ultimate beauty, personality, identity, in that perfect eternal relationship, where we are no longer afraid, looking towards the One who loves us, and who calls us home to Him.

– – –

Battered and bruised
broken, abused

Used.

Tossed and left aside
Motionless I’d lie
Wishing I could die
as my mind drifted up to a cloud in the sky

‘twas the only way to get by.

They’d take me and trample me onto the ground
Rip out my petals and shatter my crown
Tell me they’d love me but leave me to die
Blinding my eyes and my heart with their lies

Numb to the pain
‘til nothing remained
all of my efforts to stop them in vain
looking for freedom… it never came

Ashamed.

Someday I hope to emerge from this night
like a flower unfurling herself to the light
shyly I’ll come with my eyes shut tight
hoping you’ll see me
notice my beauty
recreate me
help me to rise
to be redeemed
safe from my past
loved at last

as tears of joy run down my face
warm and safe in your embrace.

escaping the gloom…
and Ready to Bloom.

March 2010