아르헨티나에서는 오늘이 어머니 날이다. 그래서 내가 엄마를 사랑하는 이유를 다시 한번 깊이 묵상해 본다. 엄마가 완벽하시지 않았고 나에게 상처 주는 말 혹은 행동을 전혀 안 하신 것도 아니다. 하지만 늘 나를 향한 희생을 행동으로 보여 주셨다. 그리고 나는 그 희생을 인해 엄마의 깊은 사랑을 알고 나도 엄마를 향해 늘 사랑에 마음을 품는다.
엄마의 희생은 단 한번도 말로 나오는 희생이 아니었다. 항상 행동으로 보였고 그 희생에 대한 보답을 엄마는 나에게 요구 한 적이 없었다. 그것이 참 편했고 엄마에게 더욱 더 보답 하고 싶다는 마음을 갖게 했다. 내가 대학교 갈 나이였을 때 아빠는 우리랑 연락이 끊긴 상황이었다. 엄마는 아무 불평 없이 의류 사업을 혼자서 시작 하시고 그 가게에서 번 돈을 통해 나는 4년동안 대학교를 무사히 다녔다. 이 때에 나는 엄마가 힘들어 하던지 아빠를 미워한다는 생각을 들지 않게끔 엄마는 불평을 하신 적이 없으셨다. 오히려 내가 대학교에서 새로운 친구들과 배움에 대해서 이야기 나누면 그것에 대해 기뻐하시고 응원하셨다. 생각해보니 엄마는 본인의 희생에 대해서 전혀 티를 안 내시고 생색도 안 내셨다. 이것이 쉬운 일을 아니었을 텐데. 그래서 종경하고 사랑할 수 밖에 없다.
엄마의 희생은 무겁지 않다. 내가 꼭 엄마에게 어느 형태로 보답 해야 한다는 느낌을 엄마가 나에게 준 적이 없다. 오히려 엄마 주변에 계신 어른 분들이 나에게 말 한다, “엘리야. 네 엄마는 대단한 사람이다. 너를 대학교도 다 보내고 그랬으니 네가 잘 모셔야 한다.” 이런 조언들을 들을 땐 두 생각이 든다. 첫번째 생각: 이 분들은 엄마를 많이 사랑하나 보다. 두번째 생각: 이 분들은 나를 전혀 모르시고 지금 이 순간 내가 뭔가 더 잘 해야 하고 돈도 더 벌며 어머니를 더 기쁘게 해야 하는 찝찝한 기분이 든다.
그래서 이것에 대해 엄마랑 말 했다. 그러니 역시 엄마는 엄마다운 답변을 했다. 엄마에게 효도 하는 것은 내가 하나님 안에서 행복하게 사는 것. 이것이 희생과 고난에 길이 될지라도 하나님과 친밀하게 지내며 나아가는게 중요한 것. 물론 엄마의 마음으론 너무 고생 많이 안 하고 살았으면 하시지만 엄마는 이 한 가지가 뚜렷하신 것 같다: 내 딸은 내 꺼가 아니고 본인만의 존재감이 있는 사람. 그리고 무엇보다 더: 내 딸은 하나님의 딸. 그래서 딸에게 조언을 하되 딸이 결정 하는 것에 대해선 존중. 이것을 늘 느낀다.
When I had a place of my own, I loved having people over; especially girls who needed some time out from studies, girls who felt like didn’t have a place they belonged, girls who needed a place to stay, or anyone actually. I loved opening my home and doing my best to make them feel at home. The more guests I had, the more I developed a knack for knowing how to make them feel comfortable. I rejoiced when my guests were comfortable enough to sleep a nap in my living room or when they grabbed themselves things from the fridge or tea table without asking permission.
For some reason, there is one anecdote that sums up how happy I was with how comfortable people were in coming to my house. One time, I got home and discovered chocolate and ice-cream cone crumbs on my floor. I looked in the trash can and I found chocolate ice-cream wrappings. I looked in the freezer and saw two ice-cream cones. I called out to see if my roommate was home, but she wasn’t. What a mystery. My roommate wasn’t the type to buy that kind of chocolate ice-cream. When she came home, I asked her about it. She said she hadn’t bought it.
Later on, we found out that a dear dongseng R (girl who is younger than me) came over to my house when my roommate and I were not there. So, she let herself in (I let many girls know the password to my house), and waited for us a bit. She had brought three chocolate ice-cream cones to share with us. Since we weren’t coming, she sat on our easy chair and ate her ice-cream by herself. When she was done, she left our ice-creams in the freezer and left.
The image that stuck in my head was cute little R sitting in my living room, peacefully finishing her ice-cream as she waited for us, and I was glad she could just come and do her thing in my house even though I wasn’t physically there.
These and many other stories made me think that I was a channel of blessing to them. But, as I was doing the dishes today, I realized what a huge blessing they were to me! Allowing me to share into their lives meant they were sharing their lives with me! Now-a-days I do a lot of housework by myself; there is no one to converse with or to listen to. I miss doing the dishes or sweeping my floor as I listen to laughter and conversations, or girls lining up asking how they can help clean up, or girls being comfortable in the silence as they wait for me to finish whatever chores were at hand.
Conclusion: They were a blessing to me for coming and sharing, opening up, eating, cooking, washing dishes, sitting on my cushions and bed, relaxing, crying, and laughing. They shared parts of their precious lives with me, and I will forever be grateful and humbled for having had such wonderful visitors in my home.
Cuando tenía mi propio apartamento en Corea, me encantaba ser anfitriona. Venían chicas que necesitaban un descanso de los estudios, chicas que no tenían donde ir, chicas que necesitaban hospedaje, o cualquier persona que quería un tiempo y espacio de descanso. Me encantaba abrir las puertas de mi casa y hacer todo lo que podía para hacerlos sentirse como en casa. Cuando mis huéspedes se sentían tan cómodos como para dormirse una siesta en mi sala, o cuando se agarraban cosas de la mesa de té o de la heladera sin preguntarme, me alegraba el día porque sabía que realmente se sentían como en casa.
Hay una anécdota que resume lo mucho que me gustaba que la gente se sintiera como en casa en mi casa. Una vez, llegué a casa y pisé migajas de cucurucho y pedacitos de chocolate. Me fijé en el tacho de basura y vi que había papelitos del helado. Me fijé en el freezer y había dos helados iguales que el del tacho. Que misterio. Mi compañera de piso no compraba ese tipo de helado. Cuando vino a casa, le pregunto si fue ella quien lo compro. Me dijo que no.
Después de un tiempo, dongseng R (quiere decir chica que es más joven que yo) vino a casa cuando nosotras no estábamos en casa. Se dejó entrar por si misma (les había dada la contraseña a varias chicas), y nos esperó un rato. Había traído tres helados para comer con nosotras. Ya que no veníamos, se sentó en mi silla cómoda y se comió su helado. Cuando terminó, dejó nuestros helados en el freezer y se fue.
Y esa es la imagen que se me quedó en la mente. Mi querida R sentada en mi living, cómodamente comiendo su helado mientras nos esperaba. Me hizo muy feliz saber que podía venir a mi casa, hacer lo suyo cómodamente hasta cuando no estaba yo presente allí.
Por medio de anécdotas como éstas y muchas otras, yo pensé que era un canal de bendición a esas personas que pasaron por mi casa. Pero, mientras lavo los platos hoy, me doy cuenta de que ellos fueron un gigantesco canal de bendición para mí. Permitirme abrir mis puertas hacia sus vidas quiere decir que ellos estaban compartiendo sus vidas conmigo. Hoy en día, hago quehaceres de la casa sola y no hay nadie con quien hablar o a quien escuchar. Extraño lavar platos o limpiar el piso mientras escucho conversaciones y risas, o tener chicas que me preguntan de buenas ganas cómo pueden ayudarme, o cuando están cómodas en el silencio mientras esperan a que termine.
Conclusión: Ellos fueron una fuente de bendición a mí por venir y compartir, por abrirse conmigo, comer, cocinar, lavar los platos, sentarse en mis almohadones y mi cama, relajarse, llorar, y reír. Ellos compartieron partes de sus preciosas vidas conmigo, y para siempre estaré agradecida y humilde por haber tenido tanta gente maravillosa en mi hogar.
Last year, during my English Communication class, the boys and girls started a heated debate.
The topic? Showering.
It started when a girl claimed that girls liked to put on make-up, dress nicely, and be clean just for the sake of looking nice; not for the sake of someone else.
A boy proclaimed that was false. He introduced a hypothetical scene: It’s a long weekend. You don’t need to go out to meet anyone. Will you shower? Will you put on make up?
The girl defiantly replied: Of course! I will shower every day even if I don’t go out, and don make up on for myself.
The boy kept arguing that unless you have to go out, there is no need for showering every day.
Since both sides weren’t going anywhere, in a desperate attempt for support, the girl looked at me and asked, “Profe Eli, would you shower in that scenario?”
I looked at her hopeful eyes and said honestly, “No. I hate showering.”
The whole class roared with laughter; including myself.
If you know me well, you know I hate showering. It’s not so much the act of showering that I hate, but getting up enough guts to go to the bathroom. I had a housemate who lovingly made a post-it that said ‘Shower for Jesus!’ which I pasted on my journal. Great reminder.
But it’s not like I’m an overall nasty, dirty person. There is certain dirtiness that I enjoy getting rid of: mold. Because I mind mold so much, I have been an avid bathroom cleaner and ventilation advocate. I throw food trash diligently so that it doesn’t smell or mold, open windows to let the air in constantly, and use a lot of bleach-based liquids to clean every corner of the bathroom (especially the drain).
However, I rarely clean things like the top of furniture, where a lot of dust gathers, am an average floor sweeper, and rarely mop my floors. The truth is, I don’t think anyone can keep themselves and their house c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y clean. All Cleaners have a blind spot and a forte. Everyone has what we shall call a Cleaning Personality. My cleaning personality is anti-mold. With everything else, I am pretty liberal.
Thus, in cleaning terms, my kryptonite is showering, I am a Superman against mold, and I am unmindful about dust gathering.
Since all of us have different cleaning personalities, we might be super clean in certain areas while neglectful of others. So we end up having clean selves or homes in certain aspects and dirty ones in other aspects.
Spiritually speaking, we might notice some people haven’t cleaned up their ‘mold’, and judge them for not being a true/good Christian. Instead of judging, it is better if we get down on our knees to serve them in their weak area, which for us might be a strength. And while we are on our knees, we might notice an area in their home that is squeaky clean. Then, we can ask them to teach us to clean that part of our homes as well, as we will realize that had been a weak spot for us.
I will forever need someone next to me who encourages me to take showers. And spiritually, I will forever need someone/something to keep me accountable on my judging tendencies. I can help people notice and clean out mold as a mold-removal-enthusiast. And spiritually, I can help people with discernment through my logical and analytical thinking skills. And just as I don’t notice dust to be something dirty, I would appreciate someone helping me notice the dusty areas of my home. In a similar way, through many different Feeling friends, I appreciate learning to get in touch with my emotions and the emotions of others.
Ah, cleaning. So many thoughts have sprung from this mundane word and action.
Throughout 2017, numerous people kept asking me why I was back and how long I was going to stay in Argentina. I would tell them I wasn’t sure how long I would be here because it would depend on God and tell them I was back “because God called me back”. With this reply, I usually got three types of reactions:
They look at me expecting a longer answer; a more ‘plausible’ reason.
They look at me like I’m telling them the most impractical answer in the world
They say something along the lines of “Right… so you came back to get settled with the family and to get married!”
It seems like my answer is too broad and non-satisfactory to most people. The thing is, that there’s no other logical explanation as to why I came back other than a strong conviction that this was God’s will.
I left a stable job where I was loved and respected, my circles of intimate friends, a rent that was getting cheaper by the year, the only church I ever felt I belonged to, and threw or gave more than half of my belongings. I had seriously no logical reason for leaving. But I did leave. All of this because of the assurance that God was telling me to pack up and leave. I’m pretty sure that had I ignored that small voice, I wasn’t going to be struck dead by lightning, but I just know it was kairos time to leave. It’s funny I have this assurance because there are so many days when I miss my independence, diversity of fellowship and ministry, and so much more.
The assurance that I left in kairos timing came not because everything is great here in Argentina, but because I am experiencing a complete desert here, and in this desert, God is teaching me to depend on Him for my daily manna and quail (many people say ‘manna’ only… but I cannot leave quail out as a meat lover. ahem).