With my departure date for South Korea quickly approaching I have loaded my schedule with as many coffee dates and evening outings as
an introvert a sane human can reasonably (and maybe even a little unreasonably) fit into a two-week span. In the midst of this bittersweet transition from being in Seattle to setting my gaze fully on the approaching year God has begun to teach me things, which in theory I knew, but in reality I understand very little about. Mainly I’m learning about the importance and value of relationships.
Preparing to leave friends and family for 11 months is an emotionally taxing endeavor. As certain as I am that a year away will do little to dwindle my deep relationships, I’m still mildly anxious about the fact that I will be living in a parallel yet separate timeline during my time in Korea. The winds of adventure that have carried me to this point in the journey have come to a bit of a lull, and will likely remain dormant until I step into the airport. While I await the plunge into my year in Korea I’ve been reflecting on the past three years in Seattle. I’ve come to realize that the most meaningful aspects of my time here have not been the tasks I’ve completed, but rather the communities I’ve become a part of. My time in Seattle is characterized less by what I’ve done and more so by the ways I’ve loved and been loved. When I originally created a list of things to do prior to leaving Seattle it primarily consisted of trying neat food places and doing outdoor activities, but has since morphed into an ever-growing list of names of people whose presence I want to solidify in my story. I hadn’t realized that it is only in the context of these relationships that deep love exists in my life, not in my words, hobbies, or projects.
I strive to be a warm, steady, and compassionate presence in all the relationships I have. However, at times this desire is hindered by my need for efficiency and productivity. I’m quick to forget that love endures all things and does not insist on its own way. I need to consistently be reminded that the “who” of my life is usually more meaningful that the “what”. Even if I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And it is only in context of relationship that this love can exist.
I hope to carry this lesson with me into the service and learning I will be doing in Korea. My prayer for this year is that God will continue show me what it means to live, learn, and serve in relationship, particularly in a culture that tends to be more communal that my home culture.