Life Continues

Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to reside there as an alien, for the famine was severe in the land. -Genesis 12:10

Dear members and friends,

Life is challenging, simply because we all are born without any instruction on what it is and how to navigate through it. At times, life generates even more challenging events for us such as Covid 19, which is making a permanent change to this generation on how we perceive life and social interaction. There are many questions in the air with only a few or no clear answers. What shall we do? Before offering my suggestion, I would like to share a story:

My life changed permanently when I was two years old after my parents divorced and I went to live with my grandparents. There was no explanation for why I was sent away or for how long, and it took me several years to realize what happened. Living in my grandparents’ small village, I found myself a stranger and unwelcomed. To make the situation worse, my grandmother expressed her fiery anger towards my mother all the time. At first, I chose to deny the situation by telling myself, “mother is going to come and take me home at any time!” She did not come. The next thing I chose to do was to fantasize about my situation as if I were an ugly duckling who would soon become a beautiful swan. However, when I was faced with the truth that fantasy would never become reality, I became angry and expressed my anger to everything that I encountered. But being angry did not help either. As a matter of fact, none of these behaviors seemed to change the reality of my life and were just making me more miserable!

One evening, I was sitting alone outside the village after all the other children had been called home. I was not waiting for my grandmother because I knew she would not call for me. I was just sitting there thinking, “Why was I born into this?” Then I asked myself, “What shall I do?” As if it had only just happened, I suddenly realized and understood that my parents were no longer together, they were not going to come for me, and my way of life had drastically changed. I simply had to accept it. Then it dawned on me that living in a rural village was not so bad, especially because of nature and the outdoors! After that day, I followed my grandmother’s orders willingly without complaint and found great joy playing outdoors, sleeping under the stars, chasing after mountain rabbits, and simply wandering among the trees and plants. I found many friends in nature and they are still with me!

Now for my suggestion for the current situation: Denial, escaping into fantasy, and/or being angry about what has happened will not change our reality right now. We actually have only one option: to accept and find a way to live with, within and around it. Life still continues. Each moment we have still counts. Above all, there are plenty of ways to cultivate joy and delight in this reality if we are willing to look for it. And remember the truth that it is all temporary!

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee