Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reflections (written in 2000)

Staying is different from living. I have stayed in Hyde Park, Chicago, but I have not lived here in a sense much less enjoying this neighborhood; I was not aware of this community of neighborhood. Most of time I just passed by the streets or maybe I thought I didn't have to know this community. I stayed here in Hyde Park as guest. But today I realized that I live here. This afternoon my wife and I went out for lunch. By the way the weather was just perfect. We went to a small neighborhood restaurant. Food was wonderful together with nice people there. After eating, we walked around the Harper court to see what was interesting around us. We found many interesting stores such as health foods, records store, and face and body care shop, etc. For the first time since we lived here we realized that living is different from staying.

Stillness in the midst of busy-ness, 3/1/2000
No matter how busy, there is always a place for stillness, a time for calm down, a time for a little reflection, a time for thinking back to my past life, a time for thinking ahead of my life. 'Busyness' doesn't have to do with my absolute time. Rather, it has to do with my mind capacity. Even Jesus often times found a still place, a kind of solitary place for praying, for thinking ahead of his life, even though he was so busy taking care of the needy. I need ten minutes with my own place of being myself. It can be a corner of the library or any place that I find easily according to the day's situation. The richness of life is from the little time of contemplation. I enjoy being alone, at least for ten minutes a day. I stand before God as a solitary unique person.
A little flower that knows the time, 2/29/2000
After a long hibernation a tiny flower in front of my apartment was in bud. It could not be seen easily before our eyes because we don't have still mind and open eyes. But this afternoon I saw it awakening from such a long sleeping. I was just amazed by this flower that knows the time to come out and to tell the season to us. A time to know the season, a time to rethink about our past winter, a time to awaken my hibernation, a time to restart and a time to work.  

Going round is not really going round, 3/7/2000
My daily life is full of busy schedule. So often times I am hurried to making my schedule going well. I choose the best way to keep my schedule fine. I am probably too much tuned to economic living that needs efficient time management. As always, I try to find a short-cut to get to the meeting place. But life is not used to such a well-planned economic system. Rather, life needs a free, flexible, indirect way. That is to say, GOING ROUND gives us time to enjoy the time and the process of getting there. How did I get this idea? This morning I walked around the nearby park Nichols in the morning. With the fresh air I tasted a smell of maturity of the spring. In fact, this park is close to our apartment by several blocks away. But I don't use this park all year around. I could have used this park going to the school or the bank I was going to. Life is not always giving us a best shortcut. Intentionally I choose a round-way. Going round is also going.

A new definition of living together, 3/8/2000
When we say we live together, it usually means living together with other people (human beings). But living together is not complete unless we extend its meaning and boundary to the whole creation. Namely, we have to include birds, dogs, any living animals, any kind of living things on the world such as trees, plants, grass, and more than that, even including the earth, air, the wind, whatever exists in the world. But unfortunately because of our anthropocentric orientation we have been thinking in a way that we maximize our own benefits at the price of our fellow beings whether living or not. When we say that we are part of nature, our eyes and ears are opened so that we can hear the sound, the color, and the smell of the nature. We, then, can hear the birds singing and flying over the sky freely. We would spot even a little movement of the ants on the ground, otherwise it will never be recognized. Humans are not a center in this world but just a part of it. What is benefit for us to say this? Yes there is a big benefit. Try this! Go out for a walk in the early morning and find a best park or any street you want to walk on for a while. Slowly walk around it and have attention on your breath, on whatever you see with the fresh air. Then your heart will be full of the energy of the nature.

Living with disability in God and community, 6/22/2000
Many people live with disability but our culture and society function for the majority of "normal" persons. I walk well but sometimes I do not consider much about those who do not walk well. I think every one tends to forget about others' difficulty. In one way or another, we all have kinds of disability or weakness. Nevertheless, somehow we tend to promote the society of "normal" people. But we have to remember we have more or less intrinsic disability whether it is physical or not. The weakness or disability of our bodies makes us rethink of ourselves, especially about our living together. In other words, the life of a community needs to find a new meaning of living together. The meaningfulness of a community does not lie in the degree of success, which is measured by soundness or healthiness or normality. The real meaning of a community, I think, should be found in its community itself in terms of how that community as a whole supports the weak, the unfortunate and the disabled in many ways. In this way of thinking disability is not an unfortunate thing of an individual but a task that a community should embrace to support for the disabled persons. This word "support" does not limit to social welfare. It is more than that. In fact, this support involves a whole aspects of life, from bodily to spiritual, from social, communal to personal. It is also a mystery that we grow together through taking care of each other. Sharing our sound body with others and supporting for those in need are blessings of God who intends to enrich our human community in a way we learn to help each other.

Dancing at a time of low
When I led a bible study group, one person asked or rather challenged to me, saying: "how is it possible to dance when I am low?" In fact, this question was not a sudden but was expected because my day's topic or theme was related to dancing with God. My thesis was that we could dance bodily or spiritually in any circumstances. What is dancing? If we can think of dancing as an expression of merriness with a bodily movement, that person cannot dance at all when s/he is low. But what if we would think of dancing as something like an expression of our whole being, high or low? Certainly, there is a sorrowful or liberating dancing in Korea such as Hanpoori, which is usually performed by women. Women used to express their Han - bitter and hurt feeling or oppressed one - by this Hanpoori. In this sense of dancing of Han, dancing is hardly related to simple joy or happiness. Rather, hanpoori is one way of letting go of emotional or oppressive leftover of hearts. Through that process of Hanpoori, women reach liberating moments and get energy to sustain them with self-empowerment. So, we can dance all the time, high or low. Dancing is, in essence, God's in a sense that God is dancing with intra-divine relationship: God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Like a divine community of dancing, our dancing is also danced in a community, high or low.

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