True Love

One of the lady’s from church asked me to help with her elderly mother who had been hurt in a fall. Her mom had been staying in a rehabilitation center to recover, and now that her rehab was finished, she and all her belongings needed to be taken back to her care home.

We got to the rehab center, and I met her mom. She’s 85 years old, but still has a youthful look to her.

“We’re taking you back to see dad today,” said the lady to her mom.

“What?” asked the older lady. She’s a bit hard of hearing. When you get to be her age, I guess you can’t blame her.

“We’re taking you back to the care center,” she said, a little louder. “You’re going to see dad.”

“Oh!” said the elderly woman. “I haven’t seen him in so long. I don’t even remember what he looks like…” she said, bittersweetly.

I learned how she had gotten hurt: her husband had fallen, and she was trying to help him up. Her husband is a lot taller than her, so while trying to help him, she herself fell. I guess the husband’s fall wasn’t too bad, but her fall had been fairly serious.

“How long has it been (since you’ve seen him)?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know, so long…” said the woman.

“It’s been about a month, right mom?” asked her daughter. “You got here (to the rehab center) about a month ago, right?”

“It’s only been a month?” I thought. From the way she was talking, it sounded as if she hadn’t seen her husband in a very long time. I thought it must have been at least 2 or 3 months, if not more. A month isn’t very long, but I guess it feels like a lot longer to her.

“Are you excited to see him?” I asked.

“No,” she said. Then she laughed. “Of course I’m excited. I feel so nervous. That feeling inside…it never goes away.”

They’ve been married for 58 years, and she still gets butterflies when she sees him.

We gathered her things and headed over to the care home. There we found her 89 year old husband, a tall, skinny Asian man, sitting at a table playing a puzzle, his back turned towards the hall. The attendants tried to tell him that his wife would be there shortly, but he’s hard of hearing, and didn’t understand.

As she was pushed in on her wheelchair, she saw her husband from behind. She tried to get his attention, but he didn’t hear her. As she was wheeled behind him, she playfully hit his back with her elbow. He looked up from his puzzle, trying to figure out who had touched him. But by the time he turned around she was already gone because she was moving on her chair, so he still didn’t see her. They were just missing each other left and right.

Finally she was wheeled around to the other side of the table, and they saw each other face to face for the first time in “forever” (one month). He chuckled in surprise. She smiled at him, quietly said hi, then looked down, as if she were just a shy young girl.

They’re 85 and 89 years old respectively, but they act as if they’re still a young couple. 58 years of seeing each other every day, getting to know each other inside and out, seeing each others good sides and bad sides, and still their eyes light up when they see each other. They’ve raised 3 kids and grown old together, and still they’re excited about each other as if there’s no one else in the world they’d rather be around. Their hearing, eyesight, and other senses may be going, but their love appears strong, so much so that though she’s just a little old Asian lady, she tried to help her husband when he fell – even though he’s way bigger than her – and she herself fell and got seriously injured as a result. Yet she doesn’t seem to regret it. (They’re literally just falling all over each other. Haha.)

I’ve got to believe that a major factor as to how people can be happily married for that long is because they’re both very good at forgiving and forgetting. (Although old age might be helping them in the latter department. Haha. Just a joke.) Relationships in life are between two very imperfect people. We all have faults and make mistakes that can unintentionally offend, cause harm, or rub people the wrong way. I think so often we get caught up in little, petty things that we lose track of the things that are really important in life.

 We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck . . . But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness. –Ellen Goodman

Above all love each other deeply, for love covers over a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

Angry Little Asian Girls

The kids hate it when I get a haircut. They absolutely hate it. I think it’s just because they don’t like change. They get used to seeing me a certain way, and when it changes suddenly, they freak out. They’re pretty dramatic about it too.

That’s what I realized the first time they saw me with a haircut. So for my second haircut, Yuna, who’s usually one of the first kids to arrive, saw me right away from a distance and ran to me, looking angry. She stopped, took one look at me as if she couldn’t believe what I had done, and hit me. “Why did you get a haircut!?” she demanded. “I told you never to get a haircut!”

My coworker, who was standing right next to me, said, “Yuna! Don’t hit Mr. Robert.”

“Well,” said Yuna. “I told him not to get a haircut! And he did!”

Yuna is very picky about my appearance. She can be very sweet, but can also be very demanding and angry. I’m continuously trying to teach her patience, and that she can’t always get her way.

The third time I got a haircut, as I arrived at work, my coworkers smiled mischievously at me and said, “Nice haircut.”

“The kids are going to hate it,” I replied.

“That’s what we were just talking about,” they said, laughing.

But as my group of kids started filtering towards me, none of them said anything. Nothing. I kept waiting for the comments to come, but it didn’t.

“Huh…none of the kids have said anything yet. Maybe they got over it,” I thought.

Kelsea stared up at me, looking like she had something to say, but was trying to hold it back. She kept looking at me as if analyzing me, then slowly turning away and grimacing. I knew she had something to say. Finally she couldn’t hold it in any longer.

“It’s hideous.” she said, then quickly covered her mouth, feigning to have let that out on accident. She didn’t say what she was referring to.

“What’s hideous, Kelsea?” I asked, as if I didn’t already know what she was talking about.

“Oh! I can’t look anymore…” she said, covering her eyes, while still taking peeks at me.

“You don’t like my haircut?” I asked.

“My eyes! My eyes!” she said, as if her eyes were burning.

“Okay, Kelsea, I get it. You don’t like it.”

She clutched her throat, opened her mouth, and stuck out her tongue as if she were gagging on something. “It’s like a disease! I need to be cured!”

“Okay, Kelsea. I get the point.”

“Help me! Somebody! I’m melting…!”


Meanwhile one of the other girls, “Ashley W.,” had a bunch of her classmates around her, and was taking an official vote. “Who doesn’t like Mr. Robert’s haircut?” she asked. Nearly all of the kids raised their hands. Ashley W. counted. “Who does like Mr. Robert’s haircut?” All of the hands went down.

And I thought they had gotten over my haircuts. How silly of me.

Michelle, as if she’s worried that all the comments might be hurting my feelings or something, came to me and said what she usually says. “I like your haircut.”

There’s another girl who we’ll call “Mary Ann.” She’s a very nice girl, and seems to be one of the more mature kids in the group. While all the other kids are blatantly bashing my haircut, she uses more tact. She said, “Well…I just don’t like the sides. The top looks OK.”

Praise of the Week

Every once in a while my church goes to feed dinner to the homeless in Chinatown. I usually go there straight after work. It had been kind of chilly recently, and I figured since I’m going to be out at night, it might be a good idea to wear long pants instead of shorts. Shorts are our normal attire at work, so the kids at school aren’t used to seeing me in long pants.

“You look funny,” they said. “Why are you wearing long pants?”

I explained to them that I was going with my church to feed the homeless.

One girl ran up to me and hugged me.

“Don’t go!” she said, clinging to me. “I don’t want you to go!”

I asked her why, and she said, “If you go, you’re not going to come back!”

“Hey,” I said, “Don’t worry. It’ll be fine. We do it all the time. I’ll come back tomorrow, okay?”

But she wasn’t buying it. “You’re going to get all dirty and be in the mud and then you’re not going to come back! Don’t go!” she said, still hanging on to me. She seemed legitimately worried.

I asked her, “Why do you think I wouldn’t come back?”

“You said you’re going to be homeless,” she said.

“I said I’m going to feed the homeless, not be homeless.”

“…Oh!” she said.

I thank God for the kids. My job is to look out for them, and I get paid for doing that. But they also look out for me, and they don’t have to do that at all. They do so just because they want to.

Crash and Burn

I have a tendency to do things differently than most people, which is something I normally like about myself. So many times I’ve been presented with opportunities that seem good. People tell me I should go for it, and I think most people, if they were in my place, would. But so often these are the opportunities that I pass up, and instead I go a more difficult route, believing that it’ll be more rewarding in the long run.

The problem is, I’m 25 years old, and I have nothing to show for it. I really haven’t accomplished the things I had hoped to by this point. It seems like all my decisions have amounted to…nothing. There’s so far been no payoff, just heaps of criticism and challenges.

Every once in a while I have a crash and burn moment. That’s what I call it because that’s what it feels like: as if I’m crashing and burning. Not literally, of course. But figuratively. It’s those moments when I stop to examine myself and it seems like everything I do is wrong. Nothing seems to be going right. I wonder: what if I’m way off – off about everything.

Normally I’m confident in my decisions and I don’t regret them because I know that the things I’ve passed up just weren’t right for me. It might have been good for other people, but I knew it wasn’t for me. But in these “crash and burn” moments when I’m feeling beat up and bruised and my confidence is low, this is when I start second-guessing myself, even on things I had always been very confident about, decisions I had never previously regretted.

“What if all this time I’ve been making the wrong decisions? What if everyone else was right, and I’m just way out in left field?”

“Who does that, anyway? Who does things the way I do? Nobody. Who passes up the things I’ve passed up? Anyone else would’ve taken it, but I decided it wasn’t what I wanted. So what do I have now? Nothing. Good job, Rob. You’re a genius.”

“Maybe I’m stupid. Maybe I’m crazy. Or maybe just delusional.”

In moments when we’re most vulnerable, when our confidence is low, when things have been rough, we’re most susceptible to Satan’s attacks. He will use our failures, shortcomings, and disappointments to bring us down if we let him. Self-pity is tempting, but it’s so destructive. I’m at my least productive in times like this.

When we’re feeling lost or tired, and we face an uncertain future, all we can do is keep our faith that things will work out in time. God promised to never leave us or forsake us, and all we can do is have faith that he keeps his promises.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,

Philippians 3:13

Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:14

When I listened to this song in high school, I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was just a nice song. But now it has a different meaning to me. Christ is always there for us, even when it feels like no one else is.