Lesson One

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God
as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day,
and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
-Genesis 3:8-
Two years ago, I was told I would know my calling on May 30th. I booked my ticket to Hong Kong and went to a missions convention there, eagerly waiting for God's voice to strike the ground and split the sky like the way it did in Moses' times. The day was busy and soon over, and in the evening, I found myself sitting on a large world map in the center of the hall, a little disappointed in my inability to hear the audible voice of God, but embraced by the simple joy of being loved. I was happy, not in want but at peace. A little baby (a year old?) whom I didn't know came toddling over. He smiled, picked up a post-it note--the attendees were supposed to write prayers on the post-its and stick them to the respective countries-- and handed it to me.

Take it, he seemed to say. Surpsingly, it was a blank note. Just as I thought I'd grab it he held it back from me and toddled away, smiling.

Interesting, I thought.

After a while he came toddling back. He looked at me intently this time, then to my knees, and back up, as if motioning me to make him a comfortable seat. I folded my legs and sure enough, he plopped himself onto me. Panning the world map from side to side, he turned back "Wow," he sighed in wonder.

Thus in this strange way I found my calling in life -- to write on their hearts.

Looking back, I've written thousands of wrong post-its, framed them with rubrics and stuffed them with comments that are meant for assignments, not for lives.

Do you really know who they are?
Do you know what I have to write on their hearts?

It's not about filling in the words, filling in the blanks ---stop!

Perhaps I was to be handed the post-its. Perhaps they weren't to be written with human hands. I try and try and try, scrambling for what a teacher can use within earthly bounds --methods, strategies, coaxing, scowling. If life is about controlling, behaving properly and measuring up to a standard, we'll always fail.

There is a brewing frustration
and an ageless temptation
to fight for control
by manipulation.

After school, I scavenge for comfort in a good pesto pasta -- a taste of good old L.A -- as I vent my frustration over lunch to a student-friend. Later she messaged me: "Did you know today is May 30th?"
That night I clung on to that sign for dear hope.

* * *
After a night's wrestling (not unlike the one with Jacob) with them, with myself, He sung over us. I would never forget the humbling feeling of receiving and handing them a first post-it, written right, and for once, from their Father's heart. Here it is:

Lesson one -

do not hide.

"Lesson one - do not hide
Lesson two - there are right ways to fight
And if you have questions
We can talk through the night."
-Jars of Clay

In the silence


Water's Edge

Ripples recede into the dusk.

From where horizon’s lost, horizons meet,

You call by the edge of the sea.

Remembering no fear        (for I
am already your making)
of the fabric of me           (You.)
A child
wanting no world (for beautiful
You are my world, you are)     I
run    for a dive in the blue
swing  to where gravity rises
roll    in the dirt and the flower—it comprises
of all that I am
and all that you see.
No longer afraid
(Will you?)               I
reach the moon and all that I'm saying
and                   (hear!)
the rays of a sun singing.
Into the dawn
one sparkle is skimming
its way to the shore of the ocean
to find it is lost, its destination:
a candle lit at noon
a snowflake rested at sea.
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that is keeping the stars apart 

I carry your heart with me.
I carry it in my heart.
(I carry your heart with me.
I carry it in my heart.)




I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love—put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.