re: science + meaning

I can analyze and  I can synthesize. I can predict the motions of molecules and calculate the velocity of a pencil dropping and make drugs that will make your diseases go away.

We scientists, we can play god. We have dreams and visions of a world without cancer and diabetes and eye degeneration and we make this world a reality; we can resuscitate and kill with the pull of a plug, we know death’s secrets. We imagine a world where knowledge has no price and communication has no bounds and now, now we cannot escape these technological gadgets connecting human to human so that we are never truly alone.

But although we can reduce the mechanisms of the cosmos into measurable objectivity and test the limits of innovation and creativity, we do not understand the basis of human experience. We have missed, and perhaps will always miss, the greatest truths of human life.

I cannot measure the depth or height or width of the love God has for me, or that I have for my family or friends. I cannot weigh the sacrifice of my parents when they raised me. I cannot reproduce a pixelated Himalayan mountain sunset. I cannot quantify the hopes i have in my heart nor analyze their incompatibly with the fears I have in my heart. I cannot calibrate my weakness and my strengths and I cannot gauge my place in my world. I cannot compute the joy in my heart when I am with the ones I love most and we are laughing and love is a tangible force in the atmosphere.

And so, as I learn the value in reproducibility and accuracy of the scientific method, i remember that I must never forget how to feel deeply. I must remember that to have a cold, hardened heart is perhaps more scary than death itself. I would rather be placed in a grave, or burned to ashes, than to not love and be loved, or appreciate truth or beauty for as they are.

I want to feel the wind on my face and the joy in my heart, but not for the feeling itself. I want to be convicted in my heart of hearts and the freedom and courage to live out my convictions. I do not want to be trapped my fear or insecurities; I am young, but I am dying. I have been dying since i have breathed my first. The only difference between me and the elderly is that they have less time- wait. My days are no more guaranteed than their days. I could die any second, and every breath is by the grace of God.

Do you believe that?

If you did, would you trust in science or your heart? Would you believe yourself when you said that that people were more important than things? Would you find courage in your heart to stop chasing money, success, and popularity and the dreams that society says are so important and instead choose love? Would you trust that your dreams are worth the continual striving?

The heart reasons. We do not understand the reasons for we pay more attention to other people’s thoughts contained in hardbound, heavy textbooks that dull our eyes, harden our hearts, and nullify our dreams.

We have lost the ability to wonder. We have lost the ability to wonder not for the sake of wonder itself, or the sake of flighting emotion, but for our convictions themselves and the love that surrounds us.

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re: identity

I am ten different people. I am unsure of which is the right me, because, even when I’m alone, I’m not sure if the right me is the one analyzing me, or the right one is the one when I’m with friends, or when I’m with my family, or when I’m with my professors or when I’m among strangers, yet alone in a crowd.

Who is the right me? Who is the real me?

I am decidedly short. It is an univeral truth that I am short, dark skinned, wear black, thick-rimmed glasses and have thick curly hair.

But am I quiet? I am the loudest in my family and can be the loudest among some friends. In other groups, I do not say a word. I have so much to say to the ones I love, but nothing at all to say to some.

I am so broken in many ways, but in other ways I am strong and relentless. Sometimes I fall asleep in movies because I am so bored with the alternate reality. Sometimes I want to curl up in a ball under my covers, but most times I want to go on adventures around the world. I hate small talk with passion, and am extremely awkward and uncomfortable in social situations, but I ace interviews and daily have deep coversations about God and philosophy with my friends. I like to think and do things that matter.

I love to dream and think. I love coffee and chai and coffeeshops. I love hiking and going on adventures and driving in the car and having coversations about life. I love worshipping God. I love medicine and public health and the fact that I can use biochemistry to heal living, breathing people. I love reading books about the messiness of human relationships and the beauty of life. I love the sun and the mountains. I love music and the way I feel it reverberating it throughout me. I love to travel and be lost and be completely free, as if I am all alone and have no responsibilities.

But I am not good at loving these things. I am not good at anything, particularily. I am passionate, but that passion is developing. I do not have a defining characterstic or hobby that makes me, me. The person whom my family knows is not the girl my friends know; the girl that strangers meet is the not the girl who sings so passionately at Church on Sunday mornings.

I cannot help that I am a hypocrite, through and through. For I do not know who I am, for I am all of these things. I am bipolar and confused. I love and hate the same things at the same time. Sometimes I know exactly what I want and I am decidely impulsive and that is a good thing, but other times, I examine every factor and I do not know what is best for me. I am not sure if I feel or analyze and which is better.

I know that I am a Christian. I know that I am a stupid sheep in need of her Shepherd, but also a princess in the Kingdom of the Most High. I know that I am a target of demons and protected by angels. I know that I am a broken, beautiful masterpiece, formed and breathed into by God. I know that Satan tempts me, but God loves me, although sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

Maybe I will never figure it out. At least on this earth, I will always be striving towards perfection­– the perfection of Christ and of His power made perfect in our weakness and that asymptope of the version of me who lives in wholeness and shalom.

re: student life

what is this life? I am constantly stressed. If I relax, it is at best an attempt to escape because I am constantly plagued by pangs of guilt. I should be studying.

If I do not get an A, I am insufficient. I did not try my best. Being a student is my job right now and that’s my priority. If I do not try my best, put in the hours, then what have I been doing except wasting my time and my life? I am insufficient and not worthy of love– God’s love or anyone else’s. If I don’t have my priorities straight, I cannot talk to others because I am supposed to be studying and I am stressed that I cannot enjoy life with them.

God gave me a passion that has bound me. Why must I always study? Why is being a doctor the only thing I will be satisfied to do?

The library has become a prison. My eyes are weary and my back constantly aches from bending over and carrying my bag. My mind wants to be numb and my heart is heavy from the constant striving and wants to be freed. Can I be loved for who I am? Can being me be enough for this world?

I strive for perfection. Isn’t it morally irresponsible to not strive for perfection when people’s lives will be in my hands alone as a doctor? I will have 5 seconds to make a snap judgement that will determine their eterinity. I cannot be good, I cannot be great. I must be above reproach. Every conversation with a patient must be honest and encouraging; every IV must be placed in the most painless way possible; every suture stiched with careful percision.

I am human, yes. I know I cannot be perfect. I am very aware of the fact. My friends tell me I try to hard, that I need to rest. But, when I listen to them, I fall behind.

I am made to work diligently. I am not sure how hard I have to work to be diligent. Every morning I wake to my blaring alarm at 5:30AM jeering me awake, and, as I head the gym, I wonder if the desire to be perfect is a blessing or a curse. I am the first one in the library in the morning, and take the elevator up to the fifth floor, where I will be all alone. I go through the day, resisting, but then succumbing, to my fourth cup of coffee, but most times, I lose track. I stay at the library with my friends for hours after dinner, but I am so tired that I cannot think straight and I am going through empty motions. I do not fall asleep, but crash into my pillow at 11:00PM, too exhausted to cry.

It is good to be excellent at something. But perfect? If I aim for perfection, maybe someday I’ll get close. I am a slave to knowledge, and my fingertips have memorized the pages of my organic chemistry textbook. I replace easy homework for hard homework as a “break.”

I am lazy, in reality. I am unfocused when I study. My mind is cluttered by the thoughts that I am writing now. I think about God and philosphy and relationships and how I will apply the knowledge. But I think most about when I will finally get my degree. Will I still have passion and energy to apply these facts that I crammed in the recesses of my brain the day before my exam?

Oh Lord, have mercy and grant me understanding.

re: justice

One thing that I’ve been struggling with lately is the idea of God’s favor. A friend told me a few nights ago that I have God’s favor. In some people’s lives, it is so evident that God is at work and He is overwhelmingly good. And God has been so faithful to me throughout the years. Overwhelming, unfathomably, increasingly, faithful and good to me.

Me. Boring, selfish, proud, hypocritcal, hyperanalytical, full of sin, me.

His mercies are truly new to me every day. There are gifts that manifest themselves in their lives that do not make sense and are not merited and He is the only one I see. He is always with me and has given me life, life to the abundance.

He has planted me in a land of abundance and in a community where love overflows, comforts surround, and I prosper. He has brought the sweetest people into my life who speak about such things to speak His wisdom into my heart. He has given me a desire to live well, more fully and more deeply. He has blessed me beyond imagination and I have everything I need and more. He answers me when I calls and speaks into my heart when I asks.

And I am proud. I think that His blessings are a result of something I have done. They must be a result of who I am, or because I am special or holy. But the reality is, I am quite unextraordinary. I am despicable in my sin. I do not have control over my actions. My sins are too great to count. I give up on Him daily– several times a day.

Why would He be so good as to bless me more? Why does He bless me until my cup overflows? He is so good to me, and I can do nothing. I cannot even love Him faithfully. I have betrayed His trust so many times and I am simply overwhelmed at the thought that I cannot even ask for forgiveness.

And I do not trust that He will give me more. He has already given me more than enough and more than I could ever deserve. How can I live with a debt so great? It is one that I can never repay, even if devoted my whole heart and eternity to it?

I am embarrassed because of His goodness when I should be rejoicing and leaping with joy. I cannot share my joy with others from fear that I am bragging. Am I? Or am I perpetually jealous of others who are wise, who are beautiful, who are godly?

God blesses us for a reason. Perhaps it is a testament to His goodness. Perhaps my life is an example of how God gives good things. Perhaps that is why I exist– to share the goodness of God that it is better than life itself.

Or perhaps I will bless others with the blessings He has given me. He, in His goodness, will show me His plan, as it unfolds in His timing.

I will trust that His plan is better than I can imagine. I will be content in Him, taking joy in His blessings and loving others with the joy He gives. I will be content in who He created to me, learning how to play the instrument to His glory that He created me to be to resound throughout the universe.

re: politics

I ignored the news. I tried to at least. I didn’t want to see the hate and bigotry and the lies and I was so confused.

I didn’t know what to believe. I wanted to stay true to my values and true to my family. I cannot betray these principles that I and everyone I love have placed our faith in.

But staying true to my values, my deepest convictions, meant that I was wrong. I was wrong– I couldn’t ignore the news. I couldn’t ignore the pain, the tears, and the utter injustice in this world. Because the principle of love was forgotton. We love because He loved us, and we were not loving our neighbor.

Oh, how could we have deceived ourselves so long? We worship on Sunday mornings, proclaiming God’s love to the whole entire world, but we fail to act justly and love mercy. We will give our tithe and volunteer in our own safe and secure community, but we are afraid to speak to our dark skinned brother. We do this in the name of “national security”, the emblem of selfishness and self interest. We say it is responsible and wise; and while it is true that we need to be safe, it is a false hope. Is not every breath of air we take a gift from God itself? Every waking moment is spent by the grace of God. Life is temporal and our days are numbered. We, lacking in faith, do not trust that God will care for us. Do we really trust Him with our eternities?

I must have missed the passage in the Bible when Christ taught us to value our lives over another’s.

When did our own sense of false security become more important the life of a fellow child of God? My deepest convictions shouldn’t be polictical ideologies or economic principles, but a philosophy of love and dogma that mercy trumps justice every time.If we don’t have love, we are nothing.

Lord, have mercy. That’s all I can say. Lord, have mercy on me. I am a hypocrite. My community at home believes that I agree with them, and I am ashamed to tell them the truth. I do not want to be another self-righteous “liberal” college kid who comes home estranged from their upbringing and from the ones they love. My community here at college believes that I see eye-to-eye with them and that I always saw the truth, that I’m not confused. I know a Republican and a Democrat. They both respectively would say that I am a Republican and Democrat.

I didn’t lie, but I hid the truth. Because, maybe, I am not sure myself who I am. I do not want to pick a side. I want to choose love, every time, without knowing the price. Isn’t what what Jesus did? I want to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I want to love my neighbors. I want to love all my neighbors. Who are my neighbors? Jesus said, if anything, that our enemy is our neighbor. For, if we love our friend, what gain is that? But to love our enemy is a testament to God.

We enter this world the same way. We exit the world the same way. We cannot take anything for granted and we have nothing; we are nothing. We did nothing to deserve this life where everything is in sickening excess. We are not better, or smarter, or more hardworking, or more righteous than the millions of refugees fleeing war, violence, and terror. Terror. We do not understand nor can we pretend to understand the horror of the situation and the bigotry of our hearts.

We say it would be foolish to open our doors. But we are never going to be immune to evil. It is unsafe to live here in America. How much safer could we possibly be?

If we die, we die. Let us live and die as Christ commanded us to: in love.