Monday, January 30, 2006
I experienced the ever-increasing isolation of human beings from one another. I went to get my hair cut at Great Clips ($4.99 coupon!). I often say a short prayer before I get my haircut. The focus of the prayer is not my hair (which is quickly disappearing may I add) but for the person who is cutting my hair. My recent meditations on Scripture references that show the extent of God's love for humanity has reminded me of how much I need to love others in the simple, every day events - like getting a haircut.
I arrived at Great Clips, said my prayer while walking into the parking lot, put my name in to the computer, and then I was called for the CUT. I sat down and the first thing I noticed was a flat-screen TV on the wall. Broadcasting on the TV was "Great Clips TV". It was a visual equivalent to the repeated music at retail stories like Old Navy. I started a small conversation with the person cutting my hair and she seemed somewhat shocked. "Why would this person speak with me when Great Clips TV is on?" She saw the book that I brought with me (Kingdom of God by John Bright) and she asked me why I was reading the book. We had a short conversation because I don't have a lot of hair to cut but it was a conversation nonetheless. I could tell that the person appreciated being treated as a person and not a hair-cutting machine.
My prayer prepared my heart to be open to another person and the circumstances made the interaction even more striking due to Great Clips TV... Thanks to my friend Jon Chiu in Virginia for constantly reminding me to share the love of Christ in practical ways, even in the seat of a hair cutting place.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Today is Chinese New Year - the year of the dog.
I was born in 1976 in the year of the Dragon. I am half-Chinese. My dad is first generation Chinese. My mom is a mixture of Welsh and German. I see myself as more a mixture of and tension between traditional Chinese and western American cultures.
I rarely speak about my mixed background in a serious manner. I was raised in a mostly caucasian, upper middle class town where there were only 2 Chinese individuals in my graduating high school class. I remember numerous instances of being mocked due to my Chinese background. I decided early on to avoid that side of my background in order to fit into my surroundings. My dad recently told me how he didn't force me to go to Chinese school so that I wouldn't be singled out as Chinese. For him, having me fit into my environment was important to him. My friends nicknamed me "one-third" because I was good at math, horrible at ping-pong, and never took karate (I took tai-kwon doe for a year but I didn't tell anybody). I avoided using chop-sticks until I went to college and I often intentionally opened my eyes larger in order to hide my chinese facial expressions.
One more story is that I remember making fun of my friend Danny Chang because he was Chinese in order to set myself apart from him and to further establish my caucasian identity. I was wrong and I wish that I could locate Danny and his family in order to ask for their forgiveness. That is what happens when a child is confused about his ethnic identity in an environment where the majority is caucasian. There are more stories than I can even begin to recount.
This blog entry will mark the beginning of more open sharing about my mixed ethnic background has shaped my view of God and the world.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Life is full ups and downs. Right now, I can go 'on record' that I am in the zone. God, family, friends, and everything are in the proper focus and I feel more alive now than I have in a long time. I continue to realize how much I need times of silence and solitude in order to renew my perspective. My trip to the Holy Cross Monastery this past Tues - Thurs provided that exact opportunity. I know that returning to classes tomorrow will most likely be the thing that will get me off track and out of focus but for now I am in the ZONE!