to begin again

me2I hesitate to start this post. I don’t want to make pre-broken promises. I am broken, so how can my words be anything but?

I’ve never lost my passion for writing. But I have, from time to time, lost my voice. It gets buried within — too deep to find; too deep to retrieve. Clear writing takes clear thinking; for me, it takes fervor, too. I cannot write about something I don’t care about. Or, rather, I don’t want to.

But life has taken some twisty turns lately. It’s been hard to find my way, so different has the labyrinth been from the straightaway I’d imagined.

Decisions have been harder, too — and more life-altering. I’m in my thirties now. I can no longer afford the luxury of screwing up.

And so I’m taking take baby steps. I’ve always been a thinker, and I’m bordering on being over-analytical now. Not to say I can’t make decisions, but . . . when I get to the end of my maze, I want to know I navigated its zigzags the best that I could.

And I want you to know, too — those who have joined me, those who have cared; those who have stayed with me long enough to watch me try (again and again and . . .) to

begin again.

 

p.s. Thank you, those of you, who have reached out to me in my silence. You encouragement means more than you know.

waiting

waitingWhat worries me is the way it sucks it out of me. Life.

There’s nothing new under the sun, a wise person once said. And he is right. And he is wrong. There are new things, because there are new people. Yes, we’re all the same and go through similar things, but only you can experience your life, and even you can only experience it once.

And things never go as planned, and questions never go away. Everywhere we look we have scientists and preachers and stories and teachers explaining: This is how things are. This is where you’ll be. This is how to live. This is what you’ll see.

But in the end there’s a lot we don’t know and can’t control. There’s a lot we can’t see.

Sometimes there are no right answers, no easy fixes, no straight and narrow.

And in these moments, and in the end, it’s just us and the silence, waiting.

 

our gift

 Do you ever wonder what you’re fighting for?

Why the rat race? Why the stress? Why the anger? Why the pain? We’re all going to die in the end, anyway.

A little over a month ago, my favorite professor breathed his last. He was 73, recently retired; a pillar of wisdom, lover of truth. I still can’t believe I’ll never see his name in my inbox again: Dr. H.

A little over a week ago, a shining star expired in a car accident. She was young, and young at heart, and was married to a wonderful man. He had two college-age kids; his first wife was taken by cancer. His new bride was bubbly, vibrant, fun-loving, sweet. She was full of life, and full of love. She was a blessing to everyone she met.

As I’ve been, again, reading news articles (a silly thing to do, I know), and reflecting on the above stories, I’ve been again saddened by the world in which we live. I know I shouldn’t focus on the negative, and I don’t, but it’s hard to ignore all the headlines, especially when they fall close to you. And it makes you wonder, “Why?” and “What’s the point?” and “How much longer do I have?”

In March 2013 I wrote a post I called “Superyou.” In it, I envisioned a world where everyone worked in a field they loved — where your passion was your paycheck, where what you were good at was your mode de vie. Today, I’d like to tack onto that. Can you imagine a world where everyone was doing something they loved, and which somehow benefited someone else?

Dr. H dedicated his entire life to teaching. He was known as a strict teacher, but fair. I knew him as kind and concerned about his students. He was there to help, and that didn’t always mean being his students’ friend. Amy was loving, bubbly, and kind. God and her family were her focus. She was adventurous and loved to travel. She was always worried she wasn’t doing enough when, as the outpouring after her death has shown, she was always doing so much.

We never know when our time will come. The only thing we know is what we do with today. And we also know that it is better to give than to receive. What are you giving? How will you be remembered?

How will I?

more

In case you’ve been wondering: What on earth has been keeping you so busy? I mean, seriously. The school year is over. What on earth do you do with all your time?

Well, folks. Here it is. The Vineman 70.3 (Half Ironman) is less than a month away. I am not even close to ready. Below are pictures from an Olympic-distance triathlon I did at the end of May. The pictures may not show it, but I was suffering by the end!

swim

Smiling because the swim was OVER!

.. Continue reading

on my way

pathwayI can only be me.

Must live the life I’m given,
and wear the skin I’m in,
be wary how I’m driven,
and of the walls within.

Must mind to whom I listen,
think deeply, unafraid,
to ask the questions hidden,
no matter where they’re laid.

Can only be . . .

And always kind to others,
must selfless, always brave,
think not of petty druthers,
a loving pathway pave.

Must worry not ’bout others —
their glories or their stays,
or envy all their treasures,
I’ll follow my own ways.

. . . me.

For when this life is over,
for when my race is run,
I’ll worry not ’bout Rover,
just want to see the Son.

And me is who He’s given,
so me is who I’ll stay.
And me has always thriven,
when me is on my way.

..

*For an audio recording of this poem, click below.

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Image: Pinterest

children’s stories

chinese childI was trying to write a children’s story. I wasn’t any good at it.

My language was too dense.
My thoughts, too dull.
My words too extreme.
My heart, too full.

Because you see…

Life is hard, children. And we make it that way. We grow from you — so innocent, wide-eyed, full of joy — and turn into…? Monsters. We are monsters, children. Everyone one of us. Even the best of us. Monsters. Continue reading

bobbles

So, I wanted to finish this:

We are who we are
yet all we will be –
The people we touch,
the people we see.
The people we love,
the people who care,
The people ‘re strange,
the people who stare.

But, instead, I wrote this: Continue reading

my prayer

San Ramon, California

San Ramon, California, where I work

Sitting in my darkened apartment, listening to the hum of traffic on University Avenue. It’s Saturday evening and my weekend has (finally) officially started. I’ve had thoughts all week about what to write right here. And yet, now, when I finally have the time . . .

the words,

the topics,

seem . . .

Misplaced.

Like me. Continue reading

a penny for your thoughts

bay_bridge_nightSo tell me about change. I’ve been thinking about change a lot recently, as my own life is about to change A LOT very soon. I’m moving to the Bay Area, hoping to find a full-time job in writing/publishing, like, two days ago. As a kid, I HATED change. God forbid my mother ever move the furniture around in our home . . .

It’s funny, looking back, as I’ve come to see I actually thrive with change. I can’t tell you how much I grew as a person when, at 18, I went 3,000 miles from home for college, or again at 25 when I moved to Taiwan. Big change equals big growth. Continue reading

love is sweeter still

photo3

I took this on my run the other day. Aren’t they cute?

You’re the one did not exist,
the one I’d never known.
The one of whom the stories list,
but life had never shown.

You came to me, I didn’t see
you ‘pproach or standing there.
I was turned toward history —
destruction and despair.

You didn’t wait for me to turn
around to say “Hello.”
Instead you swept me off my feet
and laughed, “Where shall we go?”

But still I thought of history —
was scared deep down inside.
I saw the way you looked at me,
but eyes before have lied.

But you were patient, soft, and kind;
assured me, “This is real.”
With gentle touch you did unwind
a heart I thought was steel.

And now we’re walking hand in hand
and love is sweeter still,
than storybooks, which do not stand
a chance ‘gainst what is real —

For storybooks, they have an end,
but we’ll go on and on.
There are things you cannot rend,
not even when they’re gone.

,,..
For an audio recording of this poem, click here:

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Image: Mine. All Rights Reserve

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let us trust (or, happy new year!)

Santa Cruz

Last year, on December 31st, I wrote a post about growth. I talked about the good and the bad that make up the times of our lives. I talked about how we all have a choice: Will we grow and learn from these times, and be generous and grateful for will we have? Or will we . . . Most of you can guess what the opposite reactions to those listed might be.

When I wrote that post and said that I hoped we would choose growth, I was mostly referring to my own growth in Asia during the previous three years. I was remembering the culture shock and the cold showers and the day-to-day isolation and the discomfort and uncertainty that frequently accompanies living in a foreign country. I was remembering how I went from hating my surroundings — to loving them . . . From succumbing to my circumstances — to mastering them. I was talking about the life-altering change to my worldview that I owed entirely to a place I’d previously never ever thought I’d go . . .

Truth be told, I had absolutely no idea what growth would mean for me in the United States, in my home state of California, in the coming year. Continue reading

how to not die: the i.c.u.

Ten years ago today (January 25, 2003), I fell 80 feet (24 meters) while rock climbing at T-Wall, a popular climbing site in Tennessee. The doctors said I might not live; when I did, they said I’d never be the same again. Today, not only am I “normal,” most people don’t even know this incident ever happened. This is part three of my story. (To read parts one and two, click here and here.)

THE I.C.U.

4 a.m.

A scream. More of a growl, actually. Arrrr! Arrrr! Arrrrrrrr! The pirate a few rooms down was hallucinating again.

Footsteps echoed off the laminate floor.

Then, silence.

I could hear machines humming. My machines. Whirrrr. Whirrrr. Their green lights glowed in the dark. I pretended they were aliens. Continue reading