December Memory

15 minute prompt – Write about a December memory.

Shopping for Christmas gift with my old friends.

I remember fondly the escalator. As I stepped on, it seemed as if the world began to open up above me, and I found myself clenching my jaw to seem stern and tough. Why is that? Because next to me was megan, the girl you would fall in love with as a preteen boy, but realize that is the only time you can.

We were going to grab gifts for a gift exchange she planned for a group of our friends. I say our friends but they were more like the people she invited and the people I knew the names of. She had begun to grow up into that age where she leaves some friends behind to make other friends to secure her social standing. I suppose I should be grateful she chose to include me in the midst of such esteemed company.

Anyway, so here I am, on this escalator, and what catches my attention is the sameness of it all. Everywhere I look, there are baubles and gadgets and trinkets to explore and, if one mustered up the courage, to move towards those vendors and risk their soliciting. It all feels the same. It felt like a satin sheet was draped over my eyes and I was feeling what I was supposed to feel. What everyone was supposed to feel.

I noticed it. Through some mis-stitched track of the fabric, I noticed it. The difference and the disdain. I hated being here. I hated standing next to her while feeling what I was feeling. It wasn’t real, and it all felt fake, just like the friendship.

I wish I tore back the veil. Instead, up I went, on that escalator, clenching my jaw, hoping that it would all be over soon. I hate shopping. I hate Christmas. All the materialism, and all the anti-materialists talking about all the materialism. I hate it. So what does that make me?

One day this will all fall apart. I won’t walk next to her, I won’t need to clench my jaw, and I won’t need to stand in this suffocating scene. Maybe I could finally breathe, but it wouldn’t be a sigh of relief; no, it would be a sigh that signifies suffering, of being so alone in my disdain, and a sigh that betrays understanding, as everybody knows, but nobody really knows.

I reach the top of the escalator, and glance at her. She’s swinging the bag in her hand, carrying some product that would elicit reactions. Is that the goal then? To grab gifts that elicit reactions? Is that the time of my youth, and is that what had to be fun?

It saddens me to remember this. Even now it feels forced, the melancholy, the nostalgia, or, as Lewis put it, it feels as if I’m trying to rip open that inconsolable secret. It terrifies me. Because think about it: if I could spend 15 minutes and find at least this much, what else is there that might eat me alive?


John or Peter

Nothing ever works out as I had hoped,
but everything always works out as I expected.

That’s probably why I felt so hurt. Here was hope. Here was me, hoping, that something in my life could work out right. That it wouldn’t have to be the difficult road that it’s always been, that just once, I could have some normalcy, some normal joy.

But sometimes, joy is better when it’s not normal, when it’s a long slog, when it’s unearthed and derived through long suffering. So yes, I suppose I should’ve seen it coming. But seeing it coming doesn’t change much. This life still hurts.

To put it another way, I hoped I was John, and it turns out I was Peter, but maybe it’s better to be Peter, even though he wept bitterly. Peter gets reinstated, and in humbling recognition of himself, he is exalted.

I pray that I may humbly do the same.

25th Hour

– Do what, Mike? What did you do?
– I took the two years.
– No, no, you didn’t.
– Rachel, Rachel, please.
– I don’t accept that.
– Please listen.
– It was the only way that I could–
– No, it wasn’t the only way.
– You told me that you’d wait for the verdict, and I begged you to have faith in yourself, and you told me that you would.
– That was before I begged Diaz to take a deal that would rat out his friend, and he didn’t listen to me– 
– Wait a second. You’re throwing away the next two years of our lives for something that some criminal said? – Just stop.
– Listen to me.
– Hold on. Harvey said he wasn’t gonna let this happen. He went to see the judge, didn’t he?
– It doesn’t matter.  He can’t stop it.
– Why not?
– Because it’s not up to him. It’s up to me, and I’ve made my decision. Rachel, where are you going?
– Anywhere else. Because if you’re gonna rob us of the next two years of our lives, I am not gonna stand here and watch you do it.
– Are you okay?
– No.
– Rachel
– I just don’t understand, Mike. You told me you’d wait for the verdict.
– I know.
– Rachel, listen to me, all right? I didn’t do this to hurt you.
– I did it because it’s who I am.
– I know that.
– Then why are you holding it against me?
– Because I can’t stand the thought of losing you.
– You’re not gonna lose me.
– Yes, I am, Mike, for two years.
– And it could have been seven.
– It could have been zero.
– They took–
– Why couldn’t you just wait for the verdict?
– Because I have to live with myself for the rest of my life.
– I made a decision, and I I can’t go back in time and change it.
– But we are here right now, all right? We have–we have three days left.
– I’m gonna have to take one of those days for myself, Because you promised me that you would have faith in yourself.
And you didn’t.

This is why I make the choices I do.  This is why I harm those who love me.  This is why I can never be anything other than that, the one with the character to self-destruct.

This is why I make my choices.  This is what makes me choose what I do.
This is why I chose her, and her, and her.  It’s who I am.
Even if it hurts me.  Even if it leads me to self-destruct, and to be unhappy.
I gotta do this, I gotta ask the one I like, and I gotta like them for those asinine reasons, and ask the ones who have no chance of accepting.  That’s who I am, the Lord knows it, and he helped me grow through it, which is why he had John ask me, and had me ask them.

I don’t think I would’ve done it differently.  I think I would do it all over again.
It does make wish it went differently though.  It makes me wonder what if I had done it differently. Which makes me realize, I wouldn’t be able to grow, unless it happened the way it did. This is the only way it could’ve turned out, and arguably, I’ll be better for it, in the end.

The Lord is sovereign, and he knows what’s best, he knows what he’s doing.  Humility is to say I am nothing, and to let the Lord be all, in my life.  I can rejoice when others are preferred and I’m disregarded.  I can experience joy when they succeed where I fail.  I can have hope in my Lord, to create in me, blessings beyond my brokenness.

Okay Lord, I’m ready, Do Your Worst.
And, oddly enough, that means Do Your Best.

More words, more uncertainty

I say vulnerable things, but people don’t think I’m really bothered by it, or actually struggling with it, or terribly burdened by it, because I don’t give off that impression as if I can’t handle it, and instead always give off an impression as if I can handle it, or the impression that I’m trying to hide my true self and pain.


I think you are vulnerable, but it doesn’t seem like it bothers you.

Most people can’t control their emotions when they’re vulnerable.

“I think your parents killed your emotions”


Let your hair down

Hello, so this post will be dedicated to settling once and for all the sentiment that other people have towards my voice and my style of speech.  There are many ways of framing it, but it’ll take some precision to pin it down exactly.  Here is some of what I’ve heard.

It took me a long time before I got used to your voice – Joe Hwang

You speak slowly – Irene Hwang

I always thought that when you speak, you speak with authority – Steven Hong

You’re really good at helping people see their own sinfulness – Daniel Taipei

The way you speak during car rides gets me a little irritated – Alex Kong

You speak like you want to sound a certain way – Alex Kong

You give off the feel of a professor – Johnny Yang

You speak like you’re guarded and unwilling to be vulnerable – Joseph Wan

You have a way of saying things that makes everyting sound grand – Jackson Huynh

You speak like you can’t let your hair down around us and it comes across in your speech as arrogant, as if you think you’re above it all. – John Ko

Okay.  So I have some data.  Some of it is more relevant than others, i’m sure.  Well then, time to do some research.  I wish I still had my Concierge to keep me sane.  Ah well.  Wish me luck.

It’s the cool story bro mentality, or the “this is how much I care” mentality.
I can handle it, but other people can’t, and putting up that veneer of strength makes them wonder if they’re weak.  It is disparaging to them, and it makes it seem like i’m better than them.
Not bothered, not shaken up, not troubled, excited, or affected, as if you are above it all.
Spiritually speaking, if I understand that all of it is in God’s hands, cool, soverignty, why wouldn’t I say it was expected or easily accepted?
Or if everyone is a sinner, why would I be shocked, or hurt, when someone tells me they need to say sorry for hurtful things they’ve said or done?
For family, if you expect them to yell, why would you be bothered by what they say?  Or rather, in order to handle them, you had to endure alot of what was said, so much so that now you are desensetized to the hurt others might cause, unaffected by outside circumstances.  Your inner-self is untouchable, and you are above the hurt.
Speaking slow, as if I am sure of what I am deliberately stating.
To know what needs to be done, to know people, see insights, and to be sure about those insights.
Assumptoin that whatever I say can be wrong, and already understand it can be taken the wrong way.
The rightness of what I say makes it seem as if I think it’s more right than it is.
I always thought that it should be inspiring, and not challenging, and eventually people will come to see it my way.  Biblical manhood, shaming, the wrongness of that.
John Ching thinking about 100% telecommuting, and going to a church plant.  You should be excited!  Why are you so calm?
Your wife is going to hate that about you.
You’re too calm.  You shouldn’t be like that.  Proper response dictates emotional expressions.  Inwardly you may be incredibly torn and filled with toil, but if you do not manifest it outwardly, it can seem unloving and cold.
There is power in not showing your heart on your sleeve.  I want to keep that power, to keep things close to the vest, keep things to myself.
“You know what it is?”
“It’s cause..”
“makes the most sense”
“So I always think of it this way:”
Figured it out
I’m not supposed to have figured it all out, it’s not all supposed to make sense, so i’m not supposed to remain so calm.  It would be arrogant to assume so, for someone my age, and for someone with my kind of speech.  I mean, I have thought alot about it, arguably more than the average person, and arguably it is because I had to mature earlier, and see more of the world, so it makes sense that I would have a older emotional age.
We may not realize it yet, but it’s always worth it.
By default I am cold, when the time calls for it, I express myself, in course, with my family, etc.
You shouldn’t go by what is harder and choose that, you should go by what is most benefical to your Christian walk.
Is it harder to submit to structure, or harder to operate without structures in place?  I don’t know, but which is more benefical for growth?  If fall you care is about is doing the harder thing, then you might not grow.