Single?

It’s been a week full of crazy conversations about relationships and being single and DTRs*.

Sure, there are advantages to being single.

But sometimes, as one friend put it, “All I want is to know; I just want to know that in the end, something will work out …”

And when it’s a subject this close to home, just saying “Trust God and he’ll pull through” just doesn’t quite cut it.

***

* Abbr. for “define the relationship”, which may be described as: “‘the talk’ when a male and female who’ve been seeing each other a bit decide if they’re officially a couple.” Go here for the “Unofficial [Christian] Singleness Vocab Guide”. You’ll be enlightened. Seriously.

Beckham and Being Here

I realized that I forgot to blog about one of the events of the last couple weeks … I met someone.

Haha. No, that wasn’t it—if I’ve told you about it, I’ve told you about it. If not … I might tell you about it.

Seriously, the event was, of course, David Beckham’s debut for the LA Galaxy in a friendly against Chelsea last Saturday. My friend Micah was generous enough to get me a ticket for the game (for my birthday), and so I went with him and Christie, and his dad. It was okay …

Who am I kidding? It was awesome! I got to see Becks, and Landon Donovan, and all the Chelsea players (though I would’ve preferred it if it was Arsenal, and Henry hadn’t left). And, Posh and Katie Holmes were in the box behind us, so we saw them, and … I was fairly excited the whole time.


I really hope he raises the profile of soccer in the States—it was the first sellout that the Galaxy had had in a while, and the highest rated soccer match on ESPN, so there were some positive signs. But at times it felt more like a spectacle than a soccer match, solely focused on Becks. I think, for the game to take off, people are going to have to see it as a viable career and a credible sport to keep playing after high school.

As for me, until I get my fitness back (which I hope will happen soon), I’ll keep putting my beaten-up body out on the pitch once a week (and twice a week in the summer) to kick around with Fuller folks. One of my friends invited me to try out with him for a semi-pro side, but until I can offer more than a hard sprint every two minutes, I’m going to pass.

“Be Here Now”

On another front, the first lot of Fuller folks whose admission I helped process (coz I work in the Admissions Office, for those of you who don’t know) started at Fuller this summer. I’ve been at Fuller for coming up to a year now, and I feel like part of the old guard, watching all these newbies come in, excited and looking forward to their time here.

Not that I’m not enjoying my time here. But you can tell the people who’ve been at Fuller for awhile. Well, I can tell that I’ve been at Fuller for awhile.

In many ways, it’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next couple months—to see how new friendships form and new relationships (there are always new ‘special friends’ popping up), to see what friendships last and which ones don’t. It’s been interesting, and a little sad, to note that of the people I hung out with the most when I first started at Fuller, I only still hang out with two of them.

[
At the end of my first week at Fuller, with Rachel, Stephen and Nikki.]

So I wonder what’ll happen with these new friends that I’ve made (and will make). I wonder what’ll happen in the coming months as surgery looms, and my second year of Fuller, and internships. Will I have any more time this year than I did last year to write music and to find a creative outlet? What will God reveal to me this year about my future?

At times like these, I often have to remind myself to chill out and trust God. Ecclesiastes 11:9 has been a regular verse for me during these last few years:

You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your hearts give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

In other words, as a friend said, “Be here now.”

Monday morning reality check

Monday morning … and we’re back in California. I never thought I’d be sad to be back in CA, but I kind of am. I knew it was going to be hard readjusting after a week of relaxation, reacquaintance and reconnection. I miss Tim and Tiff, and being able to talk honestly with them and pray with them and reminisce about old times—sometimes, I wonder if I’ll ever live near them again. I miss the London crew and being able to talk about football with people who live football and how Henry’s transfer to Barcelona really, really sucks. I miss hanging out with new friends like Tiff’s family and the Florida girls. I miss the blueness of the skies, unblemished by smog—okay, here I’m being a little bit pernickety, since California skies are still pretty blue (bluer than London ones, anyway!).

But in some ways, I’m glad to be back. Because this is home now; this is where God has me for this season; this is where my stuff is. Because here, I have my own bed and my own room (i.e. I don’t have to share a room with snorers or a bed with roll-overers ☺). Because this is where my life is, with all of its joys and sorrows, struggles and heartaches: this last week in Colorado was a breather, a time to catch my breath and catch up with God, when the routines of the previous months and the worries of life were suspended, at least for a little while; but this—California—is where I’m growing up. Because here, I have friends with whom I can talk about baseball until the cows come home, and they know their stuff.

I needed last week. I needed to be able to share my deepest struggles with my best friends and to be able to pray with them for their marriage and other things. I needed to be able to take time out to just have fun (even though sleep—and consequently, rest—was at a premium). I needed to be able to make new friends who enjoyed my company and found me funny—yes, people here do that too, but it was nice to know that I haven’t lost it. ☺ I needed to be able to play music and be encouraged by people’s response to it—I’d been struggling with whether or not I still was meant to tread the path of music, and playing at the wedding, and people’s comments afterwards, instilled in me once again the belief that I can sing. I needed to listen to Lifehouse’s new album—hearing the band that really got me started in writing songs inspired me to pick up my pen and try my hand at creative musical expression once more. All in all, I needed last week to redefine my purpose and my direction, to reinvigorate my spirit, to renew my joy in life and to hone my calling.

I’m back in California, and I know I’m in the right place for now. I know that I’m here to prepare for pastoral ministry. I don’t know whether the pastoral ministry will follow immediately on the heels of my time at Fuller, or will crop up later in life, but I know, without a doubt, that I will be involved in church ministry at some point. I also know that I will not be called to one thing for the rest of my life. I know that music will play a role in my future, whether in the church or outside of the church. And wherever I am, whatever I’m doing—since I believe that who I am is greater than what I’m doing—I know that God will use me as long as I let him. It’s his story, after all.

Two weeks ago, almost to the day, I wrote this:

God … I don’t know where I’m going. But I do trust that I’m following you. I’m not 100% sure that my relationship with you is as good as it could be, but I know that it’s better than it has been this year. “Pain is part of learning who you are,” sing Lifehouse; and it is. I’m learning that this year: that as I go through the toughest, most painful, and (oxymoronically) best year of my life so far, I’m figuring out who I am, who you are calling me to be, and what you are calling me to.

I have faith that you will prove faithful. Help me to remain grounded in you.

He is proving faithful. He is leading me. He is growing me, molding me, forming me, shaping me, guiding me. He is strengthening me and encouraging me. He is my Rock, my Salvation, my Savior and my God. I am found in him alone, and my foundations are laid on him. I will not be shaken; (I will not be stirred—heheh). I will live with integrity, seeking to make the most of what God has given me in the here and now. And listening.

Almost there …

[Ben, Rob and I at Hermosa Beach pier on a less than sunny day (boo) during their visit to CA last month.]

Alright. There are three weeks until the end of the quarter, and the beginning of summer. I’ve been hard-pressed to find time to take a breath, let alone blog.

Lost in translation?
So I had one of the strangest experiences of my time here the other day. I went to get my course notes for my online class printed out and filled in the request form with the page numbers which I wanted printed: “8-15, 22-24, 51-114, 116-147, 159-222.” Pretty straightforward, I thought.

I came back the day after to pick them up. The lady manning the copy shop gave me a sheaf of paper that was ten pages thick. Hmm, something’s not quite right. I quickly deduced that she’d only printed pages 8, 15, 22, 24, 51, 114, 16, 147, 159 and 222. So I explained this to her. Her reply: “No, that’s not what the paper says. It just says ‘8, 15, 22, 24, etc.’”

I was very taken aback by this, being unsure how else I could write down what pages I wanted printing, short of writing down all 140-odd page numbers on one line. In the end … I had to write this: “8 to 15, 22 to 24, 51 to 114, 116 to 147, 159 to 222.”

Totally unexpected. I thought Arabic numbers and notation were (pretty much) universal. Apparently not applicable in my part of California.

Series finales
This fortnight also marks the culmination of a number of TV shows that I watch. Coinciding with the end of the quarter is the freeing up of a few hours in my week: Bones, The Office, Scrubs, 24, and Lost. And Veronica Mars, but I don’t really publish my following of that show. Until now. Doh.

[Yes, watching TV is another factor in my week being busy, but I’ve never watched TV without doing some work or reading at the same time. My grades have not suffered thus far (and I’m going on my eighth year of higher education. Thank you very much.]

Anyway, that gives me another 4/5 hours to my week, which will be greatly appreciated with this summer coming up.

Summer plans
Speaking of the summer, in case you’re wondering—well, you’ve read this far, so you’re at least a little interested in what I have to say …

  • I have two weddings: Micah and Christie’s in Orange County next Saturday, at which I’m the ‘lead usher’ (I’ll tell you when I know what the difference between ‘lead usher’ and ‘normal usher’ is); and Tim and Tiff’s in Colorado in four weeks’ time, at which I’ll be the best man (probably the only time in my life I see myself being a best man).
  • I’ll also be taking a couple of 2-week intensive classes (unless one or both are gone by the time I register tomorrow morning) at the beginning of July and August, respectively.
  • I’ll put in some hours at the Admissions Office (so I don’t go broke when I have to make my next car insurance payment or buy my ticket back to HK for Christmas).
  • And I’ll go to the beach lots, play soccer lots, hang out with friends lots, and spend lots and lots of time with God. Amen.

I’ll let you know how the implementation of this plan goes come September. I’ll also blog again soon. (No promises, though.)

In the meantime …

I just watched the latest episode of 24. There are six episodes left until the end of the season, and having finished tonight’s, I was left profoundly dissatisfied. Not because it wasn’t good or exciting (thankfully, it’s picked up in the last few episodes), but because it wasn’t finished. I was tired of the lack of conclusion, of the fact that there isn’t a happy ending for Jack Bauer, at least for another six episodes. (And even then, we know he’s gonna have at least two more crappy days, based on the fact that 24 will be running for another couple seasons.)

I suppose it’s analogous to watching The Lord of the Rings, and having just finished The Two Towers, realizing that, amidst the jubilation following the Battle of Helm’s Deep, there’s still at least another three hours until a happy ending: Frodo and Sam still have a ways to go before they get to Mount Doom, Aragorn still hasn’t claimed his throne or gotten together with the girl (and that’s only going to happen if he survives). Maybe I’m alone in wanting happy endings, things to be all okay, and people to get along. But I don’t think I am.

See, I think it’s in all of us, this desire for a happy ending. It’s even in creation itself, according to the Apostle Paul, which “waits with eager longing, … groaning in labor pains” (Romans 8:19, 22) for the happy ending to come. From that statement, we can note a few things.

First, this desire for a happy ending – for an end to senseless war and violence and killing (yesterday, more than 30 people at Virginia Tech were shot), for an end to millions of people dying in Africa everyday because of lack of clean water and AIDS and other preventable diseases, for an end to dysfunctional relationships, betrayals of trust and heartbreak – this desire is natural; it is inherent in creation itself.

Second, there is a happy ending: it’s not just a pie in the sky theory that might possibly come true; it’s gonna happen, whether we want it or not; Jesus is coming back, whether we want him to or not (Isaac Newton predicted that Jesus would come again in 2060; only 53 years to go …).

And finally, it’s gonna hurt in the meantime, it’s gonna be hard. Now I’ve never experienced labor pains. And I’m glad I never will. But I have many friends who have given birth, and have shared their experiences (one of the wonders of living on a hallway with families). [Episiotomy: enough said.] It’s not going to be easy, being in this place of tension and longing for what’s to come.

But here’s an encouraging final thought: in the meantime, we’re not alone. Jesus said: “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (i.e. until he comes back again)” (Matthew 28:20). And life with Jesus now … it can also be pretty good. Go figure.