It is Finished

“For how long?” is the next question. We have finally completed our move. We started moving stuff in on Saturday, April 11 (special thanks to Andrew Kim and Arthur Cha). Then, we moved a little bit at a time every night thereafter. Did about two trips on Wednesday night. Then came the Big Move on Thursday (special thanks to Victor Bauhng for Wed/Thu). Friday at lunch I did a few things and then I headed off to New Orleans after church (thanks to Arthur for the ride). My mom, Simon, Jess, and Virginia came on Saturday to help do a few more trips and unpack in my absence. Sunday was quiet. Monday was quiet.

Although I had asked my wife not to do anything on the Big Move, because she felt guilty for not doing anything, every time I turned my back, she exerted energy to move stuff around or unpack stuff when I wasn’t looking. That and the stress of the move caused her to feel pain by the end of Thursday night. The best description she could give was that the baby was “bunching up.” Called the doctor the next day and although she had gone into the office to work, she was advised to go on bedrest. I asked her to stay home from Friday bible study. She did not attend EM service on Sunday . . . only youth service so that L&M could attend Sunday School.I felt bad every day I was in New Orleans. There I was eating and sightseeing for a business trip and my wife was at home suffering. I got home on Tuesday night (thanks again for the pick-up, Arthur) and although I was exhausted from the trip, I headed to the old home after giving the kids a bath. I needed one more than they did. Alas, I only made one trip, because I was too tired to do any more.

The next day I went straight into work and trudged through the day. My boss allowed me to get off an hour early to go home and do some more stuff. Had barely enough time to unload the car before I headed off to school with L&M (I wanted my wife to rest). For some reason, L wanted Chick-Fil-A so we headed there for dinner. I arrived in my class late with kids in tow. They were suprisingly very well-behaved. M still doesn’t understand library voices, though. Then, we headed back home during the break. Washed the kids up and headed back to the old house. Again, I could only make one trip, but I finally brought all the heavy stuff. My body was sore. I could barely walk. I could barely shower. Tried to do some Facebook but fell asleep next to my laptop.

Couldn’t wake up this morning. Neither could Ella. I was late to work. Boss was forgiving. I was in a lot of pain. Took lunch about 1 o’clock and headed to the apartment. I wanted this to be my last run. I actually finished it in fifty minutes. Swept and vacuumed as well. The plan was to swap the mini-van back to my bride, but even the kids’ car seats had stuff on them. Went to the Habit for a tri-tip sandwich and here I am.

I want to thank several people. I have already thanked some, but I’m going to thank them again anyway.

  • Andrew Kim, Arthur Cha, and Victor Bauhng for actually moving items with me
  • Mom, Simon, Jess, and Virginia for moving stuff and unpacking and organizing and vacuuming while I was absent
  • Arthur Cha for taking me to the airport and picking me up
  • Jane Lee for calling me and checking in on my wife and having the desire to visit her in my absence
  • An Sook Baek, Chris Lee and Mike Chung for offering to help even though they were eventually unable to
  • Rebecca Kim’s mom for offering the use of her delivery truck
  • Mi-hee Jang for taking care of my wife and kids by providing them dinner on Sunday night and just hanging out
  • Penny Lee, my Vice President at work, for sincerely offering to provide dinner for my wife and kids on Monday while I was gone on a business trip. She actually waited by her phone all night for my wife to call, but my wife was being Korean and didn’t call her to accept her offer.

If I missed anybody, let me know. I will update this post accordingly.

The rest of you . . . suck.

Seriously.

I’d have to say that you really know who your true friends are . . . the people who really care about you . . . when you move. Those people that show up to lend a hand . . . those are your true friends. I really felt that this week. I remember all of the people that have helped me move from place to place throughout the years and I cherish them. Victor Bauhng has helped me through many a move. During all of my years in San Diego, I was so grateful for my young brothers and sisters that were there every time. Especially Kevin Carl. We always made fun of him for being dopey, but he sacrificed his body many a times for me. I would rather have in my circle of friends “dumb” people who would give their bodies for me and my wife than to have “smart” people who will sit around and chatter idly and give unsolicited advice regarding my various situations.

I was most disappointed in my local church. Aside from the few mentions above, no one did anything or offered anything. I don’t care that they didn’t do anything for me, but my wife was on bedrest and trying to take care of two kids in a house full of boxes that needed to be unpacked. Bedrest means that my wife needed help preparing meals for the kids, washing them up, taking them to school, picking them up, doing the laundry, etc., but nothing. I was deeply hurt that my family had to drive 4-6 hours to waste their weekend helping us rather than resting from a long week of work. No one was willing to drive 20 to 40 minutes to spend a couple of hours with my wife and kids. My boss at work offered to buy dinner for three girls that she has only met once or twice. My wife had to take care of her own breakfast, lunch, and dinner for several days while I was gone. When I consider that many of the families in my church go out for dinner several times during the week and could have dropped something off, it makes me sad. In fact, on Friday at church, I was thanking someone at church for buying my wife lunch earlier in the week. I jokingly said (in the past tense) that I had wished that she had bought my wife (who was on bedrest by that time) dinner as well. She quickly responded, “Oh, I’ve been trying not to eat dinner lately.” First of all, I was joking. Second of all . . . ugh . . . I don’t even want to say what second-of-all is. You know what second-of-all is.

What’s crazy is that my wife is a part of a group called the Talbot Wives Fellowship and they called her to find out MY class schedule so that when I get out of class tonight, I can deliver a dinner that they will be preparing for my wife and kids. That is unbelievable to me. My kids and I will basically be eating food for the next few days prepared by people we have never met. How does that work?

At this point, I’m out of words. As a pastor, I should not be directing this tirade towards my own church, but it’s been building up. This will probably go down as a huge mistake and will turn some against me, but those are the people whose favor I seek not. In my preaching and in my writing, a funny thing happens. Some people are cut to the heart and some people are embittered. The irony is that I am not addressing those who feel guilt. I am trying, as I have been for months (if not years), to reach the critics and those with the deaf ear and blind eye. They are those whose hearts would first consider the many faults to bring to my attention rather than take an introspective moment and bend the knee in prayer over me. They are the people who could care less because I am certainly not talking to them. They have so many things to teach me and nothing to learn.

They are like my six year-old daughter, who from her own perspective, can’t understand some of the things I ask of her. Her response, cry and complain at the top of her lungs. My response, cry and explain at the top of my lungs. My wife’s response, an encouragement to love and understand. Sometimes I relent. Sometimes I don’t. At least, after we’re done screaming, we can hug and kiss and cry tears of remorse. Nobody hugs in the church anymore. That would require too much vulnerability. That’s not Christian. That would mean we don’t have it all together. We can’t have that, right?

[I’m going off on a tangent here, but to this day, I feel most spiritually close to those who would greet me with a great big bear hug. I’m not even talking about women. I’m talking about the Christian brothers in my life. They were real men. Manly men (or is it menly men?). We would find great joy to just see each other and embrace each other. No bible verses exchanged. No prayer requests. Just a hug that said, “We’re in this together, bro. I got your back. You got mine.” I know it sounds all unspiritual, but it wasn’t. I would say that this made the exchanging of bible verses and prayer requests more meaningful and transparent.]

Where was I? I don’t even know. I just needed it to be said. The local church needs to be more than a place where members get what they want from their pastors as they leave him on the ground . . . drained . . . physically/spiritually/mentally/psychologically. Some even kick him around on the ground, because they want more . . . they’re not satisfied . . . they haven’t gotten their money’s worth. The local church is supposed to be a place of deep joy. It is the place where Christ should be manifest in the most purest sense: love and service. Was that not his message as he departed from the world? Something about being the least. Something about washing feet. Something about taking one’s own cross. Something about the world identifying the children of God by the expression of love that they have for each other.

I’ve been listening to Francis Chan’s series on “Living a Life That Matters” and he’s been saying over and over again that we are closest to Jesus and experience Him best when we are serving . . . or more accurately . . . when we are sacrificing/suffering. Chan was talking about how Stephen was able to see Jesus as he was giving up his life at the hands of the Jews who were stoning him. Chan also shared about how the Korean missionaries that were taken hostage in Afghanistan were never nearer to God than when they committed every day, with hearts willing, to die for the Gospel. Do you know that two of the pastors in the group literally fought with each other for the opportunity to die first? How many people around the world called them idiots? Yet, I would rather have been counted among them as “dumb” than be one of the “smart” people who sat in the safety of their bedroom in front of their computer to make a bold statement anonymously on some random message board.