Supermarkets and God

Psalms 69:3

I am worn out calling for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
looking for my God.

I currently have kinda a sore throat… I’m trying to relate to this type of agony, where King David’s throat is parched and his eyes fail. Not because he’s so sad for his own circumstance, or because he’s throwing a fit, or crying for himself. But because he’s desperate to find the LORD. It’s like how a child feels when they lose their mother at the grocery store…

Not sure if you’ve seen one before. But they’re wailing, and wandering. And if you see them, it’s like there’s no tomorrow. They are hopelessly walking, aimlessly wandering. Desperately trying to find their mom or dad. I wonder how I feel when I’m not with God? Do I feel that desperation? I think I only feel that urge and fear and desperation of a lost child from it’s mother only when I realize I need something or when I’m in pain.

Let’s think about the scenario of aย  child getting lost at the supermarket.

The reason they got lost is probably because the child was too enamored about some toy, and wandered off on it’s own. Not realizing where mommy was going. Or they were distracted by something in an aisle, and stopped walking, instead of continuing to follow mom with the shopping cart.

Reminds me of us and God sometimes. We get distracted. God says, not yet, this is not the one. This relationship is not the one. This job is not the one. But we “ooo” and “ahhh” at the pretty sights and glimmering promises for a happier life once we have the new shiny toy. It falsely promises that we’ll be satisfied. Finally, we realize that this might not be the toy for us, we look up, but we’ve dropped out of the shopping cart procession, and we can’t find God in our lives. We wail and we cry. We start to wonder how did we get ourselves here. We go to the counter, and ask the nice lady to broadcast for us, “Mr. and Ms. Smith, your daughter is at counter 8, please come immediately.”

Another situation, God and us are in the supermarket again, and we’re looking at foods for tonight’s dinner. What drinks and chips and sauces would you like, son? God asks. We mumble something. Starting to lose interest in the dinner party that God is preparing for us, we glance around, bored and uninterested. We try to find something else that better “fits our taste.” “Daddy, I want to see the toys,” you start to say. “Hang on, let’s just finish picking out the cheeses and the bread.” He answers. You start to whine, Dad patiently tries to involve you in the food choosing process. You’re bored and you see that Daddy isn’t looking. Now’s your chance! and you wander off to the nearest toy aisle.

Wow! It’s awesome and amazing! All these Ninja Turtle figurines and Mattel Barbie! Plus all the accessories and houses and cars and … and…

You play for a long long time, but you start losing interest in your new found toys, that aren’t yours to begin with, and they are only materials and possessions. You miss your Dad and that security you had when you were with Him. You try to go back to that cheese and bread aisle, but you can’t seem to find it. You are 3 feet tall and shorter than everyone, you are completely disoriented and have no idea where Dad is.

You start to cry. You’re scared, you’re lost, you’re alone. You have no idea what to do. You become that 4 year old that wails and cries desperately in the supermarket. People are trying to ask you what’s wrong, and what your Daddy looks like. You’re beyond consolation, and you have no way to begin verbalizing. How does a 4 year old describes his Father? He’s the world to them, Dad’s the hero, the protector. The standard for what “man” looks like. (I seriously had no idea how to describe my mom and dad as a kid. They were exactly what a mom and a dad would look like to me… I’ve only ever had one my entire life, and I was too young to understand that there are other mom’s and dad’s, just not mine…)

It reminds me of our walk with Christ. We want things along the way, things that aren’t meant to be ours. We whine, we beg, eventually, we try to get it ourselves. Then we realize that God is preparing us, equipping us. There’s this big banquet that is prepared for us tonight. And God is inviting us to dine with Him. He’s trying to involve us in the process of the preparation as well. But we had other plans and other things to do. We wander, we get lost. We cry and feel desolate. Our throats are parched.

But in the end, Daddy usually knows that we wandered into the toy aisle, and parents can always recognize their child’s crying. You see Daddy or Mommy running quickly over to us, abandoning their shopping carts full of the food they’ve so diligently chosen over the last half an hour. They drop everything, as soon as they hear their child crying, all to run and grab their child from any harm or any scare.

God recognizes our cries, as a Shepherd to His sheep. And He draws near to the brokenhearted and contrite in spirit. He finds us in our misery and in the deep waters.

I remember being lost in the supermarkets and grocery stores a lot as a kid. I remember getting lost in Rome’s Colleseum, Australia’s airport, SFO’s waiting lounge. (I know, I know, I was that kid.) I remember feeling like it was the end of the world. All those emotions, I wanted to scream, I cried nonstop, I was frantic. I wonder if my spirit and my heart is as fast to denote when I’m away from my God, and if my heart feels the same terror and helplessness when I’m away from Him. Do I sense that exact same frantic frenzy and fear as I do when I was 5 and away from my parents?

Alas, just as my parents did, my God somehow always finds me. Whether it be sitting on a stool at the Customer Service counter, or having a lollipop at Register 8, being calmed down by the nice lady. The intercom announcement for my parents to come get me is my prayers, others’ prayers, or prayer from Christ or the Holy Spirit who pray for me when I do not know how to pray or that I need to pray.

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Paranoid gf/bf – Sharing facebook/email passwords??

Not ok.

Nope. Nada. Never. (Interesting these words all start with “N”)

A few of us were having dinner, and one of the guys told us about this ex girlfriend who was crazy paranoid. She forced him to block all his ex-girlfriends, and then proceeded to ask him to give her his password to his facebook account. When he resisted, she got furious, threw a temper tantrum, threatened to break up. All because of facebook.

Her reasoning? She was suspicious of him. She worried that he’d contact the ex girlfriends when he was lonely or if they had a fight. She was worried that he would talk to other girls and maintained friendships that were far too close.

We asked him, “Well, did she have a good reason to not trust you? Did you ever do anything… fishy? Whether it was while dating her, or from a previous relationship?” He answered no.

Now this is an interesting situation. Normally, upon hearing this, we would all sit back in disbelief and think that this girl is crazy. Which could be quite true. However, let’s take a closer look.

Could it be that this girl as reasons to doubt? Perhaps she’s been cheated on, not by this guy, but a previous relationship? (He answered no.) Perhaps her parents’ marriage was a disaster and it made her very insecure about relationships. (He also said no.) Perhaps she has very low self esteem, and can’t believe that anyone would love her. (I don’t quite buy this one… because there must be something interactions with the man that builds or tear down self image. Not entirely, I know. But there is a back and forth response.)

One possibility that I didn’t ask, but it could be true. She might have been the third person in someone else’s relationship before. She may have experienced it, but just from the other end. So she understands how vulnerable relationships can be if not carefully maintained. (Not to be taken as an excuse to be pyscho and paranoid… but….) Perhaps she’s seen the damage. Perhaps she’s seen the susceptability for all people to be tempted to cheat and lie.

Let’s zoom in more. (Think CSI or Lie to Me.) Let’s take a closer look on the guy. Perhaps his actions make her feel uncomfortable. Perhaps he’s elusive to her, either physically or emotionally. He may think she’s being absurd, because he “tells” her that he loves her, but his actions may speak otherwise. He may play a huge part in her insecurities. (Not casting entire blame, just saying that there can be contribution from his end as well.) Perhaps they have different boundaries and standards for interacting with the opposite sex. If the guy acts too close, though it doesn’t violate his “code of loyalty”, it may have already overstepped her boundaries in terms of faithfulness.

He calls her crazy. That also doesn’t help. Diminishing the other person’s concern just makes it seem like you’re hiding something. Although to the guy, it seems like he’s brushing it off because it’s not a real situation. But to her, it is a real situation, and she really was worried. And by brushing it off, it only exacerbates it. Does that mean they have to talk about every little thing that bothers her? No. She needs to also learn to be self reflective, and understand if she’s just being paranoid or being led/blinded by her own insecurities.

Bottom line?

If he/she is asking for your passwords to your emails or facebook or any personal account/profile information, because they want to gain access to monitor your activities, don’t be too quick to call them crazy. Think for a second. Obviously it’s trust issues and insecurity issues. But that’s no reason to brush them aside and say, “Well, that’s your own issue, so you deal with it yourself.” Could it be that our actions affect our partners causing them to be paranoid because they “perceive” threat?

What if we’re the ones asking for the password? Well, ask yourself, why? Can we talk it out instead of demanding control and proof?

Me? I’ve never given out a password nor asked for one. Oh, except when purchasing things to use each other’s membership accounts, like Barnes and Noble or Travelocity!
But I like my privacy and my space, and I respect theirs. I wouldn’t want to share my account, not because I have anything to hide. But because we’re two separate people. We’re not married, not “two become one” yet. Until then, separate bank accounts and separate emails (those husband-wife emails always confuse me, I never know who’s writing to me by looking at the inbox…). Separate identities, because we’re not defined through another person~ ๐Ÿ™‚

Being blocked on facebook

I just found out that I’ve been blocked by my ex. Not the most recent one, but the Korean one who cheated on me. The incident and reason which had me start this blog, actually.

I don’t really look up his profile much at all. Except 2 weeks ago, I thought I saw the girl he was cheating with… in Philly. Multiple times! It freaked me out. I haven’t thought ofย  him or her in almost a year. And suddenly, I seem to see her everywhere. But they all live in NJ. So I go online to check if she’s moved to Philly. Nope. Facebook says she still has the same job and is still living in NJ and has not recently taken a trip to Philly. Strange. Ok.

Then, a week later, I start seeing men that look like my ex. I know it’s not him, but they look like him. I’m like, banging my head and telling myself to get a grip. My days are packed solid, and I don’t need these crazy mind delusions derailing me.

Anyhow, I try to look him up on facebook, and realize that he’s not on anymore. So I start getting slightly worried. Because in the past, if he ever deletes or inactivates his facebook account, something bad is usually going on, like his life is spiraling out of control (well, at least in his head…). So I email his friend and ask if everything is alright. I get no response.

I was telling my friend about all these “sightings” I’ve been having. And then about the deleted facebook profile. She answered, “umm, he has a facebook profile, and it looks quite active.”

What?! What’s going on? Did he… No he did not… no way… He blocked me!? After almost a year? He blocks me now?? Why on earth? If he wanted to block me, why not do it last July when everything exploded in our faces? Why recently? (I actually have no idea when he blocked me… it could’ve been months ago or weeks ago or just yesterday…)

Oh, and his profile picture is with a girl. Ah… I see. A new girlfriend. But that shouldn’t matter~ I dated someone back in Nov as well. And he seemed fine. Why block me now?

*So blocking is very different from unfriending. I can understand if he unfriend-ed me. Since we haven’t talked at all since July, but we were still “friends” on facebook. We were listed as “friends” and separately, we just went on with our lives. Now, after all this time of not keeping in touch, I can understand if he un-friends me. But blocking, do you know what that means? (I just learned it recently through a friend that a locking function exists …) It means that it will seem as if this person doesn’t exist in your facebook world (lol, I feel so silly and so teenager to call it that…) But basically, you can’t search for them, you can’t see their activity at all. So for example, if they post on your friends’ walls, you won’t see that post. If your friend tags them in pictures or posts on their wall, you won’t see that information on your friends’ profiles. So basically, it’s as though this person doesn’t exist. And I think there’s something with tagged pictures, too… But I haven’t figured that out yet…

Anyhow. The girl seems like a nice Korean girl. His mother would like that a lot more. She seems much younger than me, but also much more submissive. Not the type A, alpha female as me… lol. I think that type of girl is actually much better for him.

I think when we were together, even though he said he was fine that I always had higher income, or higher education, or was more vocal on my opinions and thoughts… Somehow, I don’t think he was. Granted, I was so young back then when we started dating. I didn’t really know how to just let him win, or to stroke his ego or to … hide my achievements? I think we just weren’t a good match. But we were young, and attracted to each other. We tried to make it work. He tried to deal with the fact that I was more the type A personality and an overachiever, and I tried to accept that he was a dreamer and often didn’t keep jobs because “he just didn’t want to do that”. We tried hard. But I think as we grew up, this relationship got ridiculously difficult, and we parted ways.

Now he’s with a younger girl, that seems to adore him and seems to not have as strong a personality. I think she’ll be good for him. Now if only he would unblock me! I don’t contact him at all, barely look at his page. Not sure why he would block me? Though I know we had a ton of pictures tagged. Both of us never really touched anything. It was like suddenly leaving an empty house behind. Everything stayed just as it was. No one touched anything. Too painful. Too surreal. Perhaps the new girlfriend wanted all those pictures gone. And maybe he wanted to move on and erase the past. Blocking is quite a useful function for that. Instead of manually “un-tagging” yourself. Just block the person in question entirely. And we’re good. New life. New girlfriend. New starts.

Ah well, we move on.

Neighbors?

I met someone this morning. He lives on the 6th floor. I live on the 8th floor. His younger sister just graduated from my undergraduate university, and my younger brother just graduated from his undergraduate university. We are now both doing our graduate studies in Philadelphia. Weird. We’re both Steelers fans and understand the significance of the 412.

We talked as we walked from Rittenhouse to University City. He was hilarious and fun.

I was interested in possibly moving to his apartment, since his lease ends in September, as does mine. I want a larger living room, and his unit has a larger living room. But then this means? Yep. He’s leaving Philly in September.

Ah well, just my luck. Would’ve been fun to get to know him more. But at least it gives me pick me up for the day, knowing that there are people who are so similar to me and have so much in common! Talking to him was so easy, it was like we could read each other’s minds. Breath of fresh air from the usual hum drum of guys that I usually meet. Breath of fresh hope.

Making a date “spark”. Whose line is it anyway?

The Guy’s side? I’m charming and handsome. The girl needs to clean up and dress up and look pretty. Then she needs to be engaged and laugh at my jokes. She also should have smooth baby skin, and hopefully isn’t too picky with food. Hopefully, the girl also has a good personality and is easy to talk to. It would be bonus points if I find that she has a ton of things in common as me. Oh, and did I mention she has to look great, too?

The Girl’s side? I’m going to dress up and look nice. But I hope this guy makes effort in planning the date. I hope he has manners. His conversation needs to not bore me to tears. And hopefully he can respond to topics that I bring up. Maybe we’ll have things in common that we can talk about. I hope he has a sense of humor, one that can really make me laugh. I hope he likes what I’m wearing. I wonder what we’ll be doing/eating? I hope it’s interesting and fun.

Perhaps we’re more similar than we thought. We’re not against each other, you know?

Perhaps this “spark” thing is just something that has mystified, making it sound as if love is this untangible thing that is transient and comes and goes. But it’s not. Love is real. It’s substantial. In the same way, this love has created life, gone through financial hardships, held families together amidst sorrow and death and tough changes. Not that Hollywood is try to trick us, we can’t blame them. They do need that “magic factor” to make a movie, so that there’s something write a screen play about.

Maybe we should stop trying to find the “spark” and try to just pay attention to the other person during the date. And start with the facts and the stuff that is coming out of our mouths. Maybe then love won’t be so transient and mystical and strange. And then we can be more responsible about love. So we won’t be hearing statements such as, “Oh, the spark just died away, so let’s end things, break up, divorce, end our lives that we’ve grown and nurtured together for years.”

Just maybe, maybe we’ll be more responsible for our relationships and take on the blame. Instead of blaming this mystical creature that comes and goes and has unpredictable mood swings, this thing called: Spark.

Can I list you as my emergency contact?

This line, so commonly used between parents and children, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends.

But what about now? In such a globalized society when our parents may not be in the same city, even country as we work in. And what about when we’re single? No boyfriend or finance or husband? Who can we ask to be our emergency contact?

1. They have to be close by.
2. They have to be dependable.
3. You know they’ll come to your aid and care for you in case of emergency.
4. You trust them.

This request is much different from the request: “Can you write me a recommendation letter?” or “Can I list you as a reference?”

To be listed as someone’s emergency contact signifies trust and dependency. As much as it’s a big responsibility, it’s also an honor and commitment that you give the friend when you answer: Yes.

Yes, I’ll be your emergency contact! ๐Ÿ™‚

Gifts of Recipes at a Bridal Shower?

I recently went to a girl friend’s bridal shower. At her shower, we were giving gifts, such as wine glasses, skimpy lingerie, etc. And then her bridesmaids presented her with a nice dress from Bloomingdales and some other goodies. And then: a recipe box. And inside were a few index cards of recipes that they had made. They had asked some of the ladies to fill out some index cards with recipes to bring as “gifts” to the bridal shower.

Now I know they must mean well. But my girl friend is a 30 year old professional, who is successful at work, independent, and only occasionally cooks. What exactly is the message that this “recipe box” sending?

Thoughtful? or traditional? binding?

Funny that it’s a box, too. It’s like these bridesmaids (who are ironically also working women) are trying to box a married woman’s role to be the traditional and stereotypical image of cooking and cleaning.

I don’t think men will give their buddy a box of recipes or instructions of how to do laundry during his bachelor’s party. So what’s with these recipe-giving ladies at the bride’s bridal shower?

How about a box of “how to pamper yourself”? Or some certificates to spas, nail salons, massages, etc? Why was it the traditional cooking?

So these girl friends are all from our church. Maybe they thought giving wine and lingerie (like the rest of us guests…) was scandalous. But giving recipes (read: cookbooks?) is also going a bit far in the other direction as well.

I’m not sure how I would respond to that sort of gift. I was just kinda mortified at the shower. I don’t recall her loving to cook either. Not really sure what’s going on… But note to self: get yourself some different bridesmaids.