Dear Gomer

I was reflecting on the book of Hosea when it dawned on me that you are among the select women in the bible whose story was told in more detail than a few verses. Perhaps not the most commonly known or the most sought after character to emulate like Hannah or Ruth, but your story lives and it’s an important story to hear.

Was it hard to accept that you could be loved so deeply and unconditionally by someone? Was it hard to see yourself as lovable? Was it hard to trust and believe that someone can embrace your past despite all its thorns and choose you, out of all people?

Was it hard to let yourself be loved? 

Living a life of prostitution was probably not your desired first choice. The piercing glances that you may have come across along the streets of the northern kingdom of Israel further etched markers of promiscuity, sin, and judgment in your mind and heart. Did you ever conceive that an alternate life was possible? Or did it seem like a fruitless endeavour to hope for such a thing? To not only be loved but relentlessly pursued by a prophet called by God over and over again. Hosea pursued you over and over again. 

Did it seem too good to be true? Did you wonder how it could be real? I imagine the experience could have felt jarring. To have already accepted all your life that poverty and survival was all life was, and yet unexpectedly there’s more. To see yourself, a woman ostracized in society, all of a sudden receive status and privilege without having to work for it or be born in the right family or look a certain way. Will Hosea wake up one day and realize that you’re not the woman he should be married to, let alone pursue? But I don’t think God made a mistake selecting your story to be told. Choosing you was a choice that God equally relentlessly made. No matter how many times you went back to sin, forgiveness welcomed you with open arms and a warm embrace. 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:13-14

God chose to see the woman, not the sins. The beauty that He created carefully for you to eventually accept within. 

Always, 

K

P.S. 

You are not too much. 

You are not too little. 

You are not too broken. 

You are not too unlovable. 

You are not too weird.

You are not too sensitive. 

You are not too loud. 

You are not too shy. 

You are not too strong.

You did not make too many mistakes.

You are accepted. 

You are wanted.

You are loved. 

Dear 2021

Boy did you come with very unexpected surprises! Some pleasant, some not so pleasant. All in very interesting timing. You’ve inherited COVID with absolutely no choice, and it most likely will be part of our regular vernacular for years to come whether or not the pandemic dies down soon. I think by now, we’re all pretty exhausted, rattled and/or fed up. And yet, I still stand by what I said last year…there’s hope for something bigger than ourselves amidst all of this. 

Upon reflecting on the past year, I kept circling back to the notion that chaos is necessary to move things forward. We can see this manifested in nature, people, culture and so on. If we look at the labour market alone, remote working conditions are prioritized, top talents are choosing to leave their high-profile jobs to start their own ventures and conversations about what it means to be an effective leader in this day and age finally included traits like empathy. Sometimes we need a little chaos (or a lot depending on the situation) to shake things up and challenge our core. So if I had to choose, the word that comes to mind when I think about 2021, it would be chaos

In today’s definition, the word chaos means being in a state of confusion, disarray or disorder. Although the origins of the word are suggested to come from the Greek word cháos or an open formless space, an abyss or void. Interesting isn’t it? How meaning evolved to denote space and time into a feeling about something. And that something is often out of our control. It feels chaotic to us because we can’t control the outcome we want to have or expect to receive. It feels chaotic to us because we don’t understand what’s going on. But did we actually fully understand before? 

Chaos compels us to trust. To trust in God. To trust that He is in control. To trust that He is an immovable fortress. To trust ourselves enough to try to make wise choices, albeit perceived high or low risks. To trust that if something fails or is not completely what we expected that we won’t fall apart. 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Genesis 1:1-3

As 2021 comes to a close, let’s remember that the everlasting light that shines ever so bright will set us free from the chaos towards creation and abundance. 

Always, 

K

P.S. Chaos Theory + tabula rasa. 

Re: Growth charts

Months ago I wrote about how plants are like people and the impact our environments have in our growth. Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t follow up with the diversity in the ways in which plants grow, the varying ways we grow.

I’ve been joyfully growing different plants since that post in October. More recently experimenting growing red bell pepper seeds and an avocado seed from food scraps. Sustainability is something that I value, but we’ll dig into that later (yes, pun intended!) After a few weeks of nurturing my bell pepper seeds, I started to notice how fast certain seedlings were growing, while others held a much slower pace. And so, even if they came from the same bell pepper their growth charts were not equivalent, the ways they developed roots were not equivalent and the direction that they were growing were not equivalent. My avocado seed actually took more than 100 days to start a stem, and the root is much thicker in comparison to the roots found on a bell pepper seedling. I watered all of these plants the same way everyday, yet their outcomes are not totally the same. Why? I’m not going to pretend to know why because I don’t. Although, not knowing does not limit how much I can and want to take care of these plants. The uncertainty of their growth charts don’t dictate the love I want to shower them with and the joy I receive seeing them flourish at their own pace and at their own time. So why is it so hard for us to translate the same level of compassion with fellow human beings? One word: expectations. 

As only Christ can speak to me in such a way that I may be saved, so others, too, can be saved only by Christ himself. This means that I must release the other person from every attempt of mine to regulate, coerce, and dominate him with my love. The other person needs to retain his independence of me; to be loved for what he is… 

Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pg. 35-36

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together shares a powerful message about what it means to live in community as Christians during a time of hatred and great division, a hopeful byproduct of experiencing Nazi Germany. Who would have thought there was such a thing? Nonetheless, I was humbly reminded by Bonhoeffer’s book while tending to my seedlings and feeling the frustrations of navigating through difficult relationship dynamics. To put it simply, I was reminded to meet people as they are as God meets me as I am, wherever they may be in their life journey. And yes, I recognize that this is easier said than done. But if I can’t make room to see humanity being reflected in front of me, how could I carry the same level of compassion I’m willing to pour over my plants? How could I connect with people meaningfully? How could I love people truly? We learn and grow in so many ways, because we are beautifully diverse in nature. 

Always,

K

P.S. Be brave, curious and kind. 

Re: There’s a time for that

I was walking along High Park over the holiday break. The pond along the west side of the park had frozen over, some parts more solid than others. Caution signs plastered at the edges for visitors and children to mind the freezing water and unstable icy surface. Somehow ducks still found their way across the centre of the pond, swimming and splashing in the water while looking for whatever food they can find. Because there’s still life beneath the ice even if we may not see it. 

With a controversial political upheaval and continued uncertainty of when the world will open up again, it feels like we’ve been in this period of desolate winter for so long. And 2021 just started. During my chilly afternoon walk at the park, all I could think about was Ecclesiastes 3. 

A time for everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to tear and a time mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

Friends, there is still hope, we can still have peace and we can still find joy. Sometimes the fear of uncertainty overshadows the freedom of living in the present. And sometimes running away from the past dilutes the truth and beauty of its story. This might sound super romantic or to some overly optimistic, but it is undeniable…

What’s meant to be will find its way. 

The ducks find their way no matter what season. Made resilient, so will we. 

Always, 

K

P.S. In my humble opinion, strength is not the assertion of force, toughness, will power, the loudest voice in the room or even the ability to fight. Strength is confident security.