Monday, April 22, 2013

growing up is overrated || life

I miss my students in Korea. I miss being around a lot of kids. What I miss the most is that being around them brought out the kid in me. 
This is a letter to the young Hannah Love Yoon.

I want to know what happened to you. Where have you gone? You were a fearless and bold girl. You weren't afraid to try new things. You were so active and loud. You were a natural leader. You were kind to your friends. When you were 3 or 4 you'd jump from the top of the stairs or tables knowing someone would be there for you. You knew you were loved. You knew people were protecting you. Don't ever forget that. As you grow older you'll meet some mean people but you'll also meet a lot of good people. I want you to know you'll never be a loner. Never. You'll always have friends in each school year. People will like you. People will want to be with you. 

Growing up is overrated. There are too many angry, bitter and jaded grown ups out there. Adults don't know anything more than you do. I think grown-ups are more confused than they like to admit. Their hearts and minds are cluttered with lies, wounds and bitterness. 

We're all trying to figure out what we're doing or what we're supposed to be doing. We act like we know everything. Don't let us fool you. I don't think we know much. We fight one another. We don't know how to love each other. We compete with one another. We burn bridges, we manipulate and control... but it's because we're all broken and hurting. We haven't quite figured out how to move on, heal and be whole. Most of us are hiding. Whether it's behind our jobs, social status, what we own... we're hiding. It's a bit painful for people to see how broken we are.

Do you remember the first week at your new school? You were bullied but on that same day you made new friends. You thought you were going to be alone but people found you and loved you. You're going to try to use that event to keep people away. You're going to try to build up walls to protect yourself. But you should know if you do that you'll miss out on meeting the most amazing people who will want to be in your life.

You'll be just fine. You'll make it through middle school. Boys are insecure and don't know anything so when they're mean to you don't take it personally. High school is going to feel like hell sometimes. But it's over in 4 years. Popularity is overrated. Also no one is going to remember what you wore on that Monday in June to homeroom science class so don't stress about it.

Even though you'll be tempted to settle for second best in life, don't. You'll get into university, travel, work and live in Korea and discover what you're meant to be doing. So much is waiting for you. Stop hiding. Let your heart be forever young -- young, but not immature. You might think you're insignificant and worthless, but this isn't true. You'll see how much you're loved by all the people who will invest into you through their commitment to you. Your youthfulness is powerful. Too many children are disappearing because they're told to grow up. 

Don't try to grow up too fast. Growing up doesn't mean you have to cease to exist. Don't abandon who you are just because someone told you to grow up. Those who tell you to grow up have forgotten how good it is to be young.

I'm only 26 right now. I don't have life figured out. I think I understand what it means to have child-like faith. I wonder a lot about love, about God and about life. Rather than doing this alone, maybe you could help me out. Keep me grounded. With you there'll be joy, freedom, love and hope. I could use some of your confidence and grit. See you soon. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

caring too much || life

It seems that wherever I go, no matter what season I'm in, I get myself involved with intense people and intense relationships. I don't think I was ever meant to be shallow. I wrote about how I was pretty disengaged in February. But the month of March I think it was the opposite. As I continued to put myself out there, go out, be comfortable with who I am, I found myself connecting people I didn't think I would connect with.

It takes time. It takes time to care, to be vulnerable and to be comfortable around new people. Honestly when I first came to Belleville I wasn't sure how this was going to work. I wasn't sure how I'd connect and who I'd become friends with. It's always a scary place to be when you're starting something new. Anybody remember the first day of middle school or high school? What a terrifying day. I had that same feeling when I moved to Korea in 2011 and became involved with a new church.

You feel completely naked. When you realize you're naked you do what you gotta do to make sure you're covered. You put up a front. You aren't yourself. You don't want anyone to see your weaknesses. You want to love and care for others, but not too much. Caring too much is a risk. You can get hurt. You can be rejected.

We tend to perceive things the wrong way only because of what we've experienced in the past. We're constantly reacting to our past -- making decisions and choices in reaction to our past. We make judgements and assumptions about other people based on our own grid in life.

All the second years have left the school. They're off on their internships and doing all kinds of amazing, new and different things. Not sure why but I started to spend more time with them this past semester. I knew they'd be leaving early, but I think it came way too fast. It was only in the past month that I started to really enjoy their company and their presence. All of us first years are feeling their absence. We miss them. I miss them.

I've gone through a lot of goodbyes and see ya laters and it never gets easy. What is amazing about all this is I know I've got good people in my life all across Canada. When I left Korea I knew I'd keep in touch and stay connected. It's been over a year since I left and I feel even closer to my friends in Korea because we made decisions to stay in touch.

Maybe I come off clingy or too strong in the way I care and love people. Who knows. There is something special about deeply caring for people without any pressure or demands. It's rare when you have those kinds of connections.

I don't think you can ever care too much about people. We should worry more about caring too little about people.

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.” - Francis Chan