Layers

In preparation to go back to San Diego, I’ve decided to finally sort through all my stuff that I’ve been lugging around these past 4 years in college. It’s my pre-packing: sort through and see what you don’t need anymore. There have been some boxes i’ve been taking everywhere I live. I just take them. It’s the easiest way to move. I kept intending to sort them out. But after four years, this is the first time I have sorted through this stuff- some of it 5-6 years since I’ve seen this stuff.

Much like how it is with my room, the junk that I have is actually more like sedimentary rock. Each layer is different, from a different time, with different stories…

It’s funny how this has become such a spiritual experience. Ever since I have graduated, i haven’t felt like I have reached a point of closure on this last season of life. I even took a retreat to try to reflect, and I barely scratched the surface. I changed so much, my perceptions have changed so much… As I blew the dust away from papers, mementos, gadgets… the fullness of these 4 years all of a sudden became a reality.

old papers for communications… I could see my progress from not understanding a shred of the material to becoming a person who understood and could critique every author they threw at me… and the beginnings of my attempts at giving practical edge to my young passions and ideals. I would look at past papers that I got C’s on from TA’s in the beginning of college. I realized I never read them, and realized I should never have hated those TA’s, because all over those papers were some of the most heartfelt encouragements and challenges for me to try harder, perceive deeper, to not complain but critique, to understand.

gifts from students in china. I can still see their faces in my mind. My heart breaks everytime I hear something about China or Hong Kong. No, I haven’t forgotten China… the memories are burned in my mind. The scars are etched there. I still remember hundreds of students running after my bus in tears, saying goodbye. I still remember the kids at LSV asking me if I will be like the other missionaries who just leave… and I was put in a silent shock and just looked at them sadly, because… yes. I would be just like the rest.

old diaries… one from junior high. I can’t believe how much I was in love with Jesus. I honestly miss that fire. I remember staying up into the late hours, on my knees, trying to feel what people kept describing to me… that fire, that presence… of the Mysterious Other. I was (and perhaps still am) such a charismatic kook, and I can’t believe how much I chased after God. I am so jaded and disillusioned these days. I long for the childlike faith I once had. When “revival” was not a tainted phrase to me, and it was something I would scream for, yell for, cry for, beg for… Perhaps “revival” has been replaced by “the kingdom”, but even with more understanding, I feel my passion is in desperate need of resurrection. There would be entries where I wrote in big letters that were etched so hard that they tore the pages… “FIRE” “KINGDOM COME!” “REVIVE US”.  Sure, I have gained what I think is wisdom, but have I sacrificed my heart to earn it? I found several papers I used to have taped on the walls that I used to write down prayer requests and intercede for people. So many prayers answered that I forgot… Have I forgotten how to pray too?

Side by side to those entries are twice as many confessions of my insecurity about friendships, about relationships, about having influence, about leadership, about wanting to flee from church politics, but finding that no matter where I went, systems were broken, and I was a part of that system. These insecurities still haunt me today, but I have grown to understand and engage them better. But they are still there.

There are forms and applications, there are brochures for grad school, there are so many things. So many plans to do things that I never did, and absolutely no plans to be an Intervarsity staff. It is finally dawning on me that this era in life is coming to a close. But more exiting, a new era is coming. A new season. These last four years were rich in experiences and relationships. I am so thankful for what I have experienced. In a way though, this next season is not so new- it is probably going to be just a reiteration of what I have already experienced only in new mediums and contexts of experience.

UCSD- you were good to me. All the professors, TA’s, the suitemates, 706, 1600 building, mahaila, easter, the bible study leaders, the friends, the lessons, the cafeterias, the libraries, the hours of prayer, the times of laughter, the times of committing heresy, the times of delightfully fun sin, late nights eating burritos, even every rejection, the times of just living. Thanks.

But UCSD, it’s time for me to leave. This layer of my life is but a fossil now. But what is in front of me is the present- Sure, I can already label it before I have even experience it- Ministry, career, growing up, “settling”… but what it really is: open skies, alive, unknown and unexplored.

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