Re: Bridge to freedom

woman standing under a bridge

When the city was just beginning to reopen again, a friend and I decided to go on a hike along one of the city’s urban trails. Lush aging trees and sprouting grass awakening from the spring season’s arrival enveloped the trail, while the ravine gently flows along the path. It was a trail underneath one of the busiest roads connecting the downtown core to suburbia. But the thing that I remember most are the ruins that were once part of an unknown structure. Pieces of concrete blocks scattered against the running water and around the beaten trail. Directly above it was a bridge. Though I couldn’t articulate it at first, it reminded me of a physical representation of how I experience healing. 

I started going to therapy about 4 years ago. I felt overwhelmed with a lot of transitions happening in different parts of my life. It was something that I felt I needed and something that continues to be a normal part of how I spend an hour of my life. During different seasons, sessions were more frequent than others and that was okay too. Therapy isn’t just what’s been depicted in pop culture. The practitioner may not even ask you, “And how do you feel about that?” Nonetheless, I’ve grown to see therapy similar to how you would use a shovel. When circumstances happen and you’re left with broken pieces, it’s the perfect time to create. The time to take out the shovel, dig deeper and lay down a more solid foundation. And you know what? Using broken concrete blocks is not a bad way to start because God has the power to pulverize the blocks into cement powder before transforming it with His living water into something far stronger than what it could ever be. Who we could ever be.  

Reading the book of Jeremiah can be disheartening between the prophecies of Babylonian conquest and the repeated stubbornness of the Israelites to follow their own judgment of what they saw was right. Idolatry, adultery, famine, slavery, imprisonment, and bloodshed continued for years. Even so, Jeremiah’s prophecies included God’s promise of restoration beyond all of the destruction. Truthfully, I kept asking why He continues to give us grace? We have been, and are stubborn hard-hearted people.  

Because despite our brokenness, imperfections, mistakes, and poor judgment, God sees us worthy of His love. 

We may not feel worthy right now, and some days I lose sight of it myself. But as children created from His image, we can find our worthiness in Him. We can always count on Him to accept us with open arms because He gave us a bridge to walk on through Jesus Christ. Although, that’s not a reason to run across the bridge back and forth, between His will and what we [society] think is right. As Christians, our path may not be linear or smooth. In fact, in more ways than one, we may live lives that are against the mainstream. And that’s okay because when we try our best to walk in step with the Spirit, the journey home will still be joyful and filled with gratitude.

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5: 13, 14, 16-18, 22, 23 (NIV)

Always, 

K

P.S.

‘Frank! Frank!’ she cried in a voice that made the whole wood ring. ‘Look at me. Look at me. What are you doing with that great ugly doll? Let go of the chain. Send it away… ‘ Merriment danced in her eyes. She was sharing a joke with the Dwarf, right over the head of the Tragedian. Something not at all unlike a smile struggled to appear on the Dwarf’s face. For he was looking at her now. Her laughter was past his first defences. He was struggling hard to keep it out, but already with imperfect success…

The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis, pg. 126-127

To my 23-year old self

Bright eyed, full of hope and possibilities for what the world could be, and how you can be an agent of positive change in that world. Discoveries are endless, internally and all around. At times, opposition and expectations feel like concrete walls that prevent you from doing what you want, who you want to be and where you want to be. A cage that you somehow need to escape. Oh sweet girl, you’ll figure out eventually that’s not always the case.

It feels like forever since I saw you looking back in the mirror. In reality it’s only been almost five years and we still have a lifetime of growing, maturing to do. Every day is a day for change if you let yourself have that luxury. Now, I initially thought of sharing with you insights that may direct you in the path that you are now, but that defeats the purpose of the experience. So instead, here are lyrics to a song that may speak to you in different seasons:

Keep me in the moment by Jeremy Camp

I’ve been thinking ’bout time and where does it go

How can I stop my life from passing me by, I don’t know

I’ve been thinking ’bout family and how it’s going so fast

Will I wake up one morning just wishing that I could go back?

I’ve been thinking ’bout lately, maybe

I can make a change and let you change me

So, with all of my heart this is my prayer

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment

Help me live with my eyes wide open

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

Singing oh Lord, show me what matters

Throw away what I’m chasing after

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (what you have for me)

Keep me in the moment

Oh, keep me in the moment

Keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (oh)

When I wake up in the morning

Lord, search my heart

Don’t let me stray

I just wanna stay where you are

All I got is one shot, one try

One go around in this beautiful life

Nothing is wasted when everything’s placed in your hands

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment

Help me live with my eyes wide open

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (what you have for me)

Singing oh Lord, show me what matters

Throw away what I’m chasing after

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (what you have for me)

Keep me in the moment (keep me in the moment)

Lord keep me in the moment (keep me in the moment)

Keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

I’ve been thinking about heaven

And the promise you hold

So, it’s all eyes on you

Until the day you call me home

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment

Help me live with my eyes wide open

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

(I don’t wanna miss, I don’t wanna miss)

Singing oh Lord, show me what matters

Throw away what I’m chasing after (oh)

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (yeah)

Keep me in the moment

Oh, keep me in the moment

Keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

Keep me in the moment (keep me in the moment)

Oh, keep me in the moment (keep me in the moment)

Keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (what you have for me)

Maturity doesn’t just mean having responsibilities [tasks] and dealing with expectations. Maturity is seeing all the possibilities and discerning between the voices in your head to make choices with full acknowledgement of the consequences and the values you are standing on. Maturity is daring to live your life greatly with integrity. 

Always, 

K

P.S. “Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes.” 1 Samuel 12:16

Part 2: 18 Thoughts I Should Probably Say Out Loud

A few years ago I wrote  a blog post called ‘18 thoughts I should probably say out loud’ to get out of my own head. It was a way for me to not let some recurring thoughts run amuck. Social distancing as we try to reduce risks for COVID may also mean a more isolated experience for others; more time to think and overanalyze. 

Thoughts are powerful. What we do with them is just if not more impactful. 

  1. I will always choose love over pain, anger, frustration, disappointment, fear and confusion. It’s just who I am.
  2. I don’t recognize the man you’ve become. I don’t know you anymore.
  3. How you get consumed by fear and doubt is up to you. Looking for instances to justify those fears/doubts is a sign that you’ve already been consumed by them. Can you find objective proof? Are you seeing things with empathetic eyes?
  4. “GDP does not measure value, it measures what we value.” (quote from a presentation)
  5. I miss playing outside with my niece.
  6. God is my refuge.
  7. If tomorrow was the last day, how and who will you spend it with?
  8. How can we make sure that those who need it most can continue to find access to meals?
  9. I hope you learn to forgive your demons.
  10. What’s next? How do I keep growing?
  11. Just because something was said under your breath does not make it less painful. Is this the same attitude that you like to receive?
  12. Everybody is just doing their best.
  13. How are you acting on your values today?
  14. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
  15. Self-sabotage is a real thing. Regardless of how intangible it may seem.
  16. I wish you had faith in me. Even just a little bit.
  17. It’s really hard to take the high road all the time. Correction: exhausting.
  18. Accepting love can be just as difficult as giving it, but happy endings do exist. They are just not as utopic as the rom-com movies depict them to be.

Some thoughts should be challenged or better off letting go, while others are better acting on. Choose wisely. Choose thoughts with positive impact. 

Always, 

K

P.S. “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson

Re: 10 lessons the last 10 years taught me

With a brand new decade coming very shortly, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been feeling extra reflective lately. A lot has happened over the past ten years, as they should. Life moves along regardless of whether or not we realize that another decade has come and gone. It’s our duty to live in it, learn from it and be grateful it happened. 

Distilling all of the lessons I learned over the past decade was easier than I initially anticipated. Frankly, because most of these lessons I haven’t fully understood. So here they are:

  1. Grief changes you. It changes you in a way that you never thought sadness could. After enough time passes by, grief also propels you to move on to the next chapter because your life persists. 
  2. Sometimes conflict is necessary for progress, but it is not an excuse to regurgitate accumulated anger. Address conflict with the goal to forgive. 
  3. Your definition of success changes. And it will continue to change as life changes you. 
  4. Understand your core values and stick by them. They will help guide your decisions and who you want to invite in your life. 
  5. Stand up for what you believe in. Even if the circumstances may seem daunting. Though this may not sound revolutionary, there’s a reason why it’s a popular expression. 
  6. Always keep a grateful heart.
  7. Assume that everyone is just trying their best. 
  8. Let yourself accept and claim love. God’s everlasting, pure love is not something you need to earn neither is it conditional. 
  9. Trust in God’s plan, and trust that He will be by your side every step of the way. You are on His time. 
  10. Love deeply and courageously. Beyond the gooey warm feelings. Beyond the arguments and disappointments. Beyond the fears and anxieties. Because loving someone is a commitment you make with yourself and the other person.  A choice you make everyday.

Always, 

K