Warm Heart in a Cold World (Winter Intro Pt. 2)

What are you thinking as you look down on me?
Are you frustrated with my inconsistency?
Or intrigued that I can find the will to get back up
Or maybe all of this is simply amusing

Cause I’m reaching for you
But my arms aren’t long enough
And I’m running to you
If I could go a little faster
And I’m crying to you
But I can’t hear my own voice
And I am waiting for you
And trying not to fall asleep now

Cause I’m clumsily dancing away this fear
I’m stumbling closer to you
And I’m tumbling over my pride
I will be a fool for you

Fool by Lifehouse


Continued from Winter Intro Pt. 1

It was Friday night and we were set to go on an overnight outing with church friends. As I mentioned on the previous blog post, I didn’t want to go to the overnight outing at first, but I forced myself to go, and it turned out to be a good choice.

After the events and thoughts I recounted in the previous blog, I finally accepted my beautiful fate. Yet God did not stop there.

Here’s what happened next:

When we arrived at church for the outing, we greeted some of the 오빠들 and 언니들 there, including 진솔 언니. I have mentioned 진솔 언니 a few times in this blog before but I don’t think I ever really described her in detail. As a summary of what she is to me, she is basically my favorite 언니 in church. On the first time I went to 시찬 church, I was greeted by a bunch of really nice and friendly 오빠들 and 언니들, but the only face and name that stuck to me was 진솔 언니. Here’s why: I got slightly intimidated by her. Everyone else gave me a warm welcome but 진솔 언니 honestly sent chills down my spine. I was easy to tell that she wasn’t the type of person to give an energetic, friendly impression to people. Instead, she reminded me of Jessica from Girls’ Generation–a total Ice Princess–cold, yet pretty. Maybe it was the way she looked (her sharp-looking eyes gave off an intimidating stare), or maybe because she seemed introverted.

Despite that, as time passed, I realized she was actually such a sweet, caring, thoughtful and warmhearted person. She rode the bus with me often back then and made sure I got home safely. When I was new to the church, she guided me on church stuff, dragged me along to places, ate with me during lunch, and introduced me to people. She also could easily understand my introvert point of view (without me telling her) and made sure I wasn’t burned out by all the social activities. She looked after me a lot as if I she was responsible for this clueless child and worried about me when I hurt myself. Then she began to compliment me and often thought I was cute, and would even steal snaps of me when I wasn’t looking.

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Then there was this time when we went on a trip to Busan with other Chinese friends (whom now had stopped attending church btw). At that time, 진솔 언니 asked one of the other 언니들 to switch seats with her in the van so that she can sit with me. Of course, I was happy, because there’s really no other person in that van that I’d rather sit with. She found it so cute when I laughed, and found it so cute when I talked that I swear she really has fallen in love with me somehow. She also made sure I had my snacks, and fed me often. She also made me play with her phone in the van when it was getting boring in the Busan traffic.(Gosh at this point I knew I was becoming like Seohyun because of all the older females that are so into me). When we got to Busan in that crowded market and the crowded Gamcheon village, she acted like a mother the whole time. When I wanted to go to the bathroom, she personally held my hand like I was her little toddler and went to look for a bathroom with me. When 지은 언니 and I got separated from the group in Gamcheon Village, 진솔 언니 probably got a little heart attack. And I quickly caught on to the fact that she only treated me that way. She didn’t look for 지은 언니, but she looked for me and frantically gave me a bunch of missed calls. When 진솔 언니 finally contacted 지은 언니, the first thing she asked was “Have you seen Nina???” I guess something about me brings out the motherly instincts in women. Not sure if that’s a good thing or what.

Anyway, many months after that Busan trip, she still has a good watchful eye on me until now, although she doesn’t treat me like a complete baby anymore. She wanted me to come to the overnight outing last Friday and made sure I can come. At first, I was kind of upset that I couldn’t get out of this invitation because she was insisting it. I really didn’t want to go because I was tired and heartbroken. I even made stupid excuses to get out of it.

“언니, I promised I would go to this party tonight so I probably can’t go to the overnight outing thing.” I texted her.

“What time does the party end?” she asked. Oh no, I know exactly where she is going with this.

“Around 9 pm or something. I’m not sure,” I replied.

“You can go with 수현 at 10 pm then. How about it?”

Yeah, I couldn’t say no to that. Besides, everyone in our small group except Soohyun couldn’t come, so she probably wants me to go because there aren’t too many people coming. Jinsol Eonni usually doesn’t force me to do something I don’t want to do, and I could’ve said no, but I just felt bad for her. Besides, I already previously told her I would come so cancelling will make me seem like a jerk to myself (because she wouldn’t think of me that way).

Anyway, after meeting 나연 언니 and 종언, my attitude about the whole situation changed. I gladly went and when 진솔 언니 saw me there at church on time, she smiled so widely like she was so glad to see me and called out, “Nina!” Then she hugged me and swung her arm around my neck. This type of physical affection definitely says something coming from her because she’s not the touchy-feely type of person at all (most Koreans aren’t). The most physical affection I ever got from her was when she would sometimes play with my hair. So when she hugs me, it’s more meaningful. That’s when I thought, Wow, she must really be so glad to see me. See, I’m really not lonely at all. How could I forget this sweet 언니 who cares so much about me? How could I just say that I don’t have anyone when I have her? And bruh… I got hugs from two unnies in one night. Wow. It feels really warm all of a sudden.

진솔 언니 rode with us in 태환 오빠’s car on the way to the hostel where we were going to be staying. From that point on, 진솔 언니 made me her responsibility again. We were roommates for the overnight trip, along with a few other girls. During the games, 진솔 언니 and I were in the same team. Again, she slyly took photos of me without me knowing. I guess that has to be the weirdest thing about her. She always secretly takes candid photos of me like she is some ninja and then shows them to me later.

That night did not end so easily though. I was exhausted but, I did not even lie down until 4am. We (people who went to the overnight outing) played board games and just enjoyed the company until way past our bed time. I didn’t even think I could last that long but I did, and it was totally worth it. This was definitely my type of hang out. This is what I definitely considered fun. It’s like playing with family and waiting for the New Year. There was just something familiar and heart-warming about late night board games that made me feel so at home. At that point, I felt that I belonged.

I belong here. I’m supposed to be here. I am wanted and loved here.

Throughout that really weekend, I oddly felt really warm. In fact, when we all went hiking the next day, I felt so warm that I even took off my winter jacket. I walked through the cold, woody forest with with nothing but a thin sweater on (and jeans… of course.) I was so sleepy that day though. Obviously I didn’t get enough sleep. I was trying to keep my eyes open the whole time and I had to “give 수현 a hug” every time I just feel like I was about to fall asleep with no warning. However, I still don’t regret any of it. I had a really great time. We even got to see the first “snow.” (More like little drops of ice that melts as soon as it hits the ground.)

When I got home, I was a changed person (again). I was no longer upset about being being separated from the people I love. Instead, I saw that I wasn’t separated at all. God wants me here and He doesn’t want me to be anywhere else. I realized how blessed I really am and how God is truly working in my life. This is actually the biggest struggle for me. I can tell myself that I accept my fate but deep down I actually don’t and still find myself dreaming of a life that could’ve been or would’ve been if my life had taken another direction.

Sometimes I wonder what God would be thinking as He is watching over me. He probably finds it annoying or maybe even amusing that I would swing back and forth from being an emotional wreck to being an ecstatic kid. One day I’d be thanking Him for my life and then one day I’d be crying and wondering why in the world He would make my life the way it is. And after I break down, even as I pick my broken pieces I clumsily hurt myself again and again. He probably thinks I’m stupid. I was always the beautiful disaster He had called as a daughter anyway. As chaotic and absurdly frustrating as I unknowingly tend to be, He still finds a way to show me that He loves me. If I was God, and if I see myself acting the way I am, I probably do not have enough patience to tolerate any of it. Thankfully, God is more loving and forgiving than I am.

And so that’s how my winter started–with a heart that started to burn with warmth in a world growing ever so cold.

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