Dear 2020

When we think about 2020 years from now there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the first word that we might all be reminded of is coronavirus or COVID-19. You’ve (2020) descended upon us with the same jolly smiles on new year’s day only to completely shatter any notion of expectation of what the year ahead may turn out to be. How it continues to be. But we would all be remiss if we didn’t see the flip side. You gave us many gifts, one of which is compelling us to be still. Surfacing the things we value most. Rooting us in the comforts of our homes. Challenging us to develop a grateful heart despite of it all. And humbling us to hope for something bigger than ourselves because in the grand scheme of things, we’re really not that important. 

Reflecting on the last couple of days of 2020, the word that comes to my mind is forgiveness. It took me 28 years of existence to notice that forgiveness is actually made up of 3 words – ‘for’, ‘give’ and ‘ness’. I guess it’s not the kind of word or concept that I’ve meditated on deeply. After all, as children we’ve been taught to say sorry, to forgive then forget. Although as I’ve been schooled [the hard way] the past year, forgiveness is so much more than that. Pain precedes forgiveness, but so do choice and most of all, love. 

If we break down the 3 words that comprise forgiveness an incredible truth comes out. 

For – with the object or purpose of; intended to belong to or be used in connection with; suiting the purpose or needs of; in order to obtain, acquire or gain

Give – to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; to place in someone’s care; to make a gift or gifts

Ness – a headland; promontory (a high point of land or rock projecting into the sea or other water beyond the line of coast); cape

Nowhere in each word definitions require (or even in the literal definition of forgiveness as one word) reciprocation or reconciliation contrary to expected conventions. So what is forgiveness? Forgiveness is a purposeful gift that knows no bounds. And yes, I hear you when you say that it’s not that simple in practise. In fact, it’s probably the most costly gift that we all have the choice to give/receive especially when the pain runs deep, hope is depleted and trust annihilated. I get it. I have a hard time doing it too without anger or bitterness offering reasons why I shouldn’t. But who am I to withhold forgiveness when I have been forgiven?

Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongue, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words or knowledge are forgotten. 

1 Corinthians 13:8 (Passions Translation)

In a word, forgiveness is love. The kind of love that allowed for all of us to receive second, third, fourth, unlimited chances to correct our mistakes through Christ. The kind of unconditional love that sees and accepts us for all of who we are, come what may. So I ask again, how can I not extend the love that Christ freely gives me every single day? 

2020 may have reshaped our lives in ways we didn’t expect or wanted, and we may not know what 2021 may bring with new strains of the virus popping up. But this is all just part of experiencing real life – the bad, the painful, the beautiful, the fulfilling, the extraordinary. So thank you, 2020, for giving me marked moments. 

Always, 

K

P.S. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-5 (ESV)

Re: Imperfections. That’s the good stuff.

Earlier this year I wrote a letter To my future husband. I admit, it was romantic. The kind of stuff that reminds us of the possibility of love and genuine relationships in a world where partners are as “easy” to replace as a ratty old shoe. You thought I was going to say something about swiping left or right didn’t you? Nah. Dating apps have evolved to customized profiles and gamifying the experience so dating doesn’t seem as daunting or despondent. The thing is, the parts that make it challenging or hopeless are the parts that make it worth it. 

We remember the first date not because it was like a meet cute taken out of a rom-com movie. We remember the dribbles of sweat slowly streaming down the side of his face or the sauce at the corner of her lips while she ate a burger. We cherish the way we know how they like to take their coffee or knowing their go-to order at a fast food chain. We relish recognizing the nuances of their smiles like being privy to the world’s best kept secret – one just to be nice, another during awkward conversations and the real smile that tells us that you actually feel joyful. These are the things that I glazed over in that letter. But these are the things that (in my humble opinion) matter most.

To be seen. And loved. 

To be forgiven. And accepted. 

To unravel. And receive compassion.

Over the years I blogged about ‘my unorthodox philosophies on love’ or love in general. Correction, I blogged about intellectualizing and rationalizing love without allowing myself to fully feel the depth of it because I was afraid of what would happen when I inevitably love someone more than myself. Living in a self-assertive cultural zeitgeist, it feels countercultural doesn’t it? 

I don’t really know how to end this random blog post so I’ll just post this question – If our imperfections make us who we are, why do we look for the ‘one’ perfect person or idealize relationships when things aren’t easy?

Always,

K

P.S. I’m not going to quote 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It’s hard to resonate with until you truly feel His [God’s] love. Otherwise it may turn into an unachievable standard that we impose into fellow human beings. Who wants that? There’s really only one Being that could love us like that. And what a gracious love it is. 

To my future husband

I don’t know where you are, when we’ll meet or whether we’ve already met. But I do know that I will always choose to love you when the time comes. Every single day. Until then, this is an open letter I’ll keep close to my heart.

Dear K, 

You will fall deeply and unconditionally in love with a man who cares to understand and accept you. He will show his empathy towards you through his speech and actions. He will love you unconditionally and faithfully, the same way you’ve fallen in love with him. He knows the value of a good woman and will choose you, and only you, especially in moments of fear, anger or disappointment.

When it comes to his time, he will show you that you are a priority. No work could ever be big enough or more important. Nonetheless, you will show him respect as work and his ambitious goals are equally important as yours. He will similarly treat you with respect and admiration. And he will not be ashamed, but proud of you as his partner and best friend. 

Over time you will grow together and align in values. You will have beautiful children and build a home together. This man will not only want you to be a part of his life, he will build and cultivate a Christ-centered life with you. A choice he is not hesitant to make because having a family is something he has truly wanted for himself. He will never leave you or make you feel alone. He will protect you and care for you and your family as a symbol of his appreciation and gratitude for your life together. He will not take you, your commitment and love for granted.

You will grow old and have wonderful squishy little grandchildren running all around the house. Each day may not be perfect but always filled with a grateful heart and a joyous smile. 

Stay hopeful. Have patience. 

Love always,

K

P.S. This letter is to those relentlessly putting their hearts on the line with the hope of a happier ending. Loving someone is the most courageous choice and action any of us can take. It requires trust, hope, friendship, integrity, vulnerability, commitment, and most of all, faith. 

Your day will come, just be ready to receive and accept the love freely given to you.

Re: Heyo!

img_9018It has been well over a month since I last posted a blog post. A lot of changes and transitions, professionally and personally, have happened over a short amount of time that I needed to take some space to distance myself from blogging for a while. Frankly, every week I would plan on writing a blog post on a topic that I’ve chosen weeks or even months ahead but it has been very difficult to sit down and actually write the post. Part of the reason is because there are a lot of thoughts running around in my head, some of which are incomplete and utterly confusing. This evening I decided to sit down and write this post because in retrospect, I created this blog because I wanted to take you all along in my journey. And it’s not a straight path, far from it.

Granted, I still don’t feel like I’m in the same headspace that I was in 6 months ago, but I thought it was important for me to write about forgiveness. Over the weekend, I wondered how could God be so forgiving of our mistakes over and over again? Why is it so hard for us to forgive others at the same degree?

Being human makes us susceptible to failures, imperfections and innumerable mistakes. It is and can be very difficult to forgive those who have wronged us repeatedly and ourselves. Pain, anger, embarrassment, pride and insecurities often take over so much so that we forget that we are all similarly human. We crave the same degree of infinite forgiveness that others seek of us, yet we often decline to show the same kindness. loveThe only answer I can come up with that addresses my question adequately is love. Love at its purest form is patient, kind, humble, and of course forgiving. An elusive verb and feeling.

I guess the trick is to not take love for granted, but strengthen it.

Always,

K

P.S. Always choose forgiveness, even when it’s difficult. Harbouring bad feelings just isn’t worth it. Besides, you can’t change people… you can only love them.