I’m at home now, Salt Lake. During my week-end visits home this couple of weeks, I’ve been reading my old paper journals, starting with the Hong Kong mission one (2001-2). I skipped the second mission one, in Salt Lake, and went right to the second Hong Kong one (2004), which continues past that trip into December of 2004, and then jumps to May, 2006, starting with my arrival in Korea. In my reading now, I’m still plodding through Korea. The book ends with my departure, in August. My Mongolia journal (2009) I’ve kept in Provo, and I will try to go through it again after this Korea one.
There’s a domestic paper journal between the first and second Hong Kong books, and my history between the gaps in this second book are recorded electronically. I know at least a good portion of them survive. I have dreamed to digitise all my paper journals, but so far, the paper ones have been more durable.
So, after Korea, I expect that I still have a lot of things saved from my on-line journal up till the beginning of this archive here. I saved and deleted it in consequence of the Bomie situation, starting again some time later with the first entry here. These entries precede, overlap with, and follow my Mongolia paper journal.
I’ve felt sad reading over these books. It seems that I consistently predicted the heart ache that periodically swallowed me, but I could never fore-see its magnitude. It shook me every time…
I’m sorry I wasn’t able to love better those few I have loved… and those several I have tried to love.
Somehow, at the end, I’m glad I loved them. I hope they’re happy. I feel they’ve made me a more valuable person… The fact that I have valued them has given me meaning. I placed supreme importance in some effort, and it gave me history and direction… I interacted with the universe… I grappled with it; and now I exist as part of it.
I’m glad to exist. I don’t love this world, but I do like it quite a bit.
The world is like Provo. In many little ways, and in countless beauties, and attitudes, affecting my own, I have found a certain peace there. I will undoubtedly leave that city behind, and missing it will not bring me back as a permanent resident — not yet, any way. I will leave it with some sorrowful sense of relief… and I will go to my Asia… and leave it, too, eventually…
I like this life, but I want to see greater…
How I miss my friends… my sisters… I hope none of them ever think I don’t miss them, or that I didn’t love them.
I have few brothers…
Last week, I argued with contentious Shane a little, but he got over it quickly and seems nice again.
Yesterday, having returned home to see a note from my mother that she had gone to visit her mother, I eventually took my bike down to her house and spent the late afternoon with them. My grandmother’s 88 blessed years are beginning to weigh on her. It was wonderful to be with them.
These days in Provo, I’ve been spending time with In-kyum in the library in the evenings, wasting time on-line. On Friday I met two of my study buddies, and we three (Jenjira and Feng-yu) went to eat at the Cannon Centre. There was some Chinese thing at school that night that I missed.
On Thursday, I went for the third time to the editors’ meeting for the student linguistic journal. They discussed what they liked or disliked about various article submissions. I had submitted something last year that was not accepted, which is why I started going to these meetings this year, to learn more about how they operate and make decisions. The rest of the students there are all studying the editting minor emphasis.
Well, it’s a little boring, I guess. They just choose the things they happen to like on that day. Apparently I’m now part of their volunteer staff, though I haven’t really been sought after for editting help since I haven’t taken the editting classes.
Immediately after that meeting (requiring an early exit) is the Students for International Development (SID) meeting. I’ve gone there two times now, since one of our three Viet class students, Spencer, is acting as one of the three club presidents (another of them is a girl I used to home-teach at Southridge), and since my old room-mate Ezra used to go there; also, because I enjoyed their production last spring, the “Hunger Banquet”, high-lighting the plight of the under-fed in the world, and I heard they were now preparing for this year’s production of the same. Last Thursday, I chose to join the “food committee”, consisting of about four other old-timers and another new guy. Most students in that club are international-development minors.
I obviously have some serious worries about the leftist voting habits I sense in some of these young people… but since last year’s Hunger Banquet, which I found spiritually moving, and my related acquaintance with the Vittana web-site (I think some other ID or political-science young people were advertising it at the same event), the concept of which I found fascinating and useful, I have tried to satisfy my self with thoughts that if, by whatever accident of politics, typically not-fully-ethically-reliable “progressives” or liberals happen to espouse the sanity of helping the world’s needy, and that too using healthful models, I would be glad for this expression of their often self-obscured humanity and reason, and happy to join hands in these contexts, regardless of their dangerous domestic policies that, enacted to every body’s detriment, poison my love for my own country and countrymen, and push me the faster into the foreign lands that have always thrilled me.
So, these paper journals have been interesting. I was a sensible lad. I was occasionally quite impetuous, but looking closely, I see a thread of sincerity and mutual social respect running through my complaints, a sort of constantly offended idealism which, though moderated with experience, still animates my resentments. I see a lot of personal development.
There was something of a descent after the mission… and a haziness of direction… I’m glad I survived those days of self-pity…
How strange it would have turned out, if any of those heart-aches had gone oppositely — if they would have accepted me… Where would I be today? Things would be different, and I would be different.
I feel like… a… disciple of a martial art. Martial arts have been very difficult things for me to pursue. They need tremendous, sustained exertion, and some times they ruin your precious body in their drive to perfect it. But if you can endure… you will look back as a different person. The pain you resented will no longer be your enemy, in-stead having become a part of your self. Finally, as the recipient of their belated benefits, you will no longer entertain imaginations of giving up your difficult experiences.
Only a dismally inexperienced, surprisingly thoughtless observer could ask a group of skilled trainees, “Why is there so much suffering, in your path? How can your trainer be a good person, who hurts you so much?”
…But, as we believe, we all agreed to this training, in the beginning. And it comes whether we accept it, and excel, or deny it, and falter.
Evolution did not create this experience, this life-through-death, this glory-through-despair called human life.
As we understand, evolution shaped our bodies from the dust, and carried the animal world to this brink of sentience, this image of godhood… So, one day very distant, will we, as gods, do with future worlds, as our God, our Father, did with us.
All men worship a god. Some name him Creator; others name him “self”; still others, “chance”.
What darkness, to be sitting in the palm of some great Hand, and to be too small, too narcissistic, and too dense to recognise it. And what violence to intelligence, to insist that such blindness is actually sight, and to vilify those who see, and use one’s influence to poke out the eyes of children. Like insects, our eyes are biologically too small to visualise, and our brains lacking the capacity to consider the larger scale of reality surrounding us; but some of us think we can smell it in the air some how, and we ask each other to hope and struggle toward a comprehension; while others sullenly confine their selves to the very tiny world they can dimly see and prove. What darkness, that they should then worship their own lack of understanding…
But to us, what beauty, to be free of that blindness. All the shame of our demented fellows only adds to our gratitude… that while they are “liberal” in their minds, we are truly more free, mind and body; while they repeatedly insist on their “progress” as they descend back-ward into the animalistic humanism of their belief, we are truly stepping hesitantly forward, beyond our animal brethren, into the grander destiny of becoming like Him of our belief, our great Prototype, whose history we don’t know, except only that, in the eternities, it will become our history too, and we will then strive with our infinite patience to bring our own children out of animal darkness, and into the light of intelligent Man.
To believe in God is to believe in our own selves, our own reason, our own existence… but to doubt him, intellectual suicide.
So far, I have been spared from suicide — mind and body — and I thank heaven for it.
I suppose I’ll return to Provo soon.