Sunday, May 24, 2015

52 mornings // 20

I've left the world outside for this one, and it's a refreshing change of pace. Despite waking up in a room with nine other girls, I feel at peace. Just a few steps from the porch are towering trees that hide the lake from view. Crossing the bridge, it's like I've entered a secret garden where everything flourishes in harmony, abundant and yet not crowded.

The breakfast bell rings and stirs me from my reverie. Together we eat, and when we're done, we go our separate ways to find a space for quiet time and tune ourselves spiritually before gathering again.

I try to keep the topic of religion off my blog, because I believe that religion is like a penis: it's fine to have one, it's fine to be proud of it, but please don't whip it out in public and start waving it around, and please don't try to shove it down my children's throats (lol). But this week I'll be immersed in Christianity, so avoiding the topic would be ignoring a significant part of the week. Like the whole thing. And anyways, a big part of Christianity is sharing the gospel. If you're reading this and you aren't Christian, please bear with me and perhaps see this in a more spiritual than religious light.

I was born into a Christian family. My church in LA was like my second family. I remember teachers trying to get us to focus by "threatening" us with marker moustaches. I remember going on trips to the 7-11 next door after Sunday School. When I moved to Beijing, I didn't have that same thing with the international community because everyone was always coming and going and I didn't feel connected. It shouldn't make a difference because you should go to church not to socialize but for God, but I admit that that was a big part of why I gradually stopped going to church.

Many people go through identity crises and do some soul searching when they reach high school. New questions arise that you never had to face in elementary school. Back then I blindly accepted answers people gave me, but now I wanted to really know and understand. There were too many gaps to fill and things didn't make sense, so my faith wavered. When people asked me if I was Christian, I wouldn't know what to say, because I wasn't actively practicing and I felt like a hypocrite.

Coming into college I decided that I wanted to rediscover Christ, or at least be open to the possibility, by dropping by a few large group meetings. That's the great thing about college: you can start doing things for yourself rather than because your parents tell you to. It's empowering making your own choices.

Chapter Camp is a Christian retreat about investigating Jesus, growing in relationship with Him, and grasping a vision for reaching your campus with the gospel of Jesus Christ. (x) I participated in Week 3 from May 16 to 22 on the Mark 1 track at Young Life Lake Champion, with students from Alvernia, Dickinson, George Washington, Goucher, Haverford, Johns Hopkins, Lehigh, McDaniel, Messiah, Peabody, St. Mary's, Swarthmore, Ursinus, and of course Bryn Mawr.

I prayed more that week than I had the entire year. Words used to flow so easily, but I found my heart pounding every time I anticipated praying aloud. I worried that my prayers wouldn't be good enough for God or the people I was praying for. And now I also realize that I had trouble calling myself a Christian because I didn't think I was good enough or that I was worthy. The secret is that none of us are.

There was a PSA text post on Tumblr regarding prayer I really liked, but that I can't seem to find, so I'm going to do my best to explain it: When someone says they'll pray for you, accept it and thank them, even if you aren't religious yourself, because to them, prayer is the greatest thing they can offer you. A prayer is the most sincere of gestures, not to force something on you but to lift you up.

There's still much of my spiritual journey left to discover, but I think I've taken a step in the right direction. I pray for you and me. I pray that wherever we are this summer that we find strength. I pray that we be unafraid to share our weaknesses and realize that this is strength too. I pray that faith overcomes fear. I pray that we understand that it's okay to have fear, and that what counts is what we do in the face of it. I pray that we understand that it's okay to not know all the answers, but I pray that we continue to chase them with questions, and that in times of doubt, to have faith. I pray for revival.

Lake Champion
247 Mohican Lake Rd
Glen Spey, NY 12737
(845) 856-6873

PS: 19. 18171615141312111009. 08070605040302. 01.
Thursday, May 14, 2015

52 mornings // 19

Today is my last Sunday at Bryn Mawr this school year! Next week I'll be at Young Life Lake Champion in New York for Chapter Camp, and the one after that I'll be back in Beijing. I feel like I've been here in Bryn Mawr for forever, but at the same time it feels like no time has passed.

It has been a really challenging year both academically and socially. Dealing with adult stuff isn't all that fun. Official forms send me into a state of panic. I'm supposed to be growing up, but think I've reverted.

It has also been a really great year, not despite of challenges but because of them. You know that feeling when the professor is giving a lecture and you have no idea what's going on, so then after class you slave over it and finally get it? It's one of the best feelings in the world! And college gave me an abundance of opportunities like these. I've really grown. Like these dandelions. ₍₍ ◝(●˙꒳˙●)◜ ₎₎

Or perhaps I spoke to soon, because I'm right smack in the middle of finals week, and boy do I have some challenges to face. I've made it this far into the year; I'm sure I'll make it past this last week alive.

I believe in myself and all that I am. An over-enthused prospie. An overwhelmed frosh. To first adventures. Overcoming small battlesBest friends. Those nights that are just "so college." When all is right in the world. A snap to reality. And beauty in everyone you see, everywhere you go.

It'll be three months before I'm back on campus. I can't wait to start the next year, and at the same time I'm not quite ready to end this one. A quarter way through my undergraduate career and I already know that college has been and will continue to be one of the most transformative experiences in my life.

Grow dandelions, grow!

PS: 18171615141312111009. 08070605040302. 01.
Thursday, May 7, 2015

52 mornings // 18

May Day is an all-day celebration that occurs the Sunday after the last week of classes. The entire college community comes together for a day of medieval festivity and a general good time. [more]

Surprise! I'm still alive. I've been done with classes for a week now, but I still feel as busy as ever. Over the past few days I've done a presentation, two papers, two interviews, two performances with my a cappella group (you can watch one of them here), and one final exam with two more left to go.

I decided that I'd take this weekend easy and just let myself enjoy May Day. Bryn Mawr is big on traditions, and May Day is most everyone's favorite, right up along with Hell Week, so I've been anticipating this one for awhile now, especially after seeing my friends' May Day pictures from previous years. I don't know if I was more excited to join in on the merriment or to take those pictures myself!

Usually I try to keep faces off my blog because I'm too lazy to ask people whether or not they feel comfortable about me putting their face on the Internet, but WOW everyone just looks so beautiful! While I was editing these pictures I was overwhelmed by everyone's cuteness.

And as it turns out, I didn't get pictures of much else other than people, so these are the only photos I have to share. This is all thanks to the fact that I woke up this morning and thought, "HMMM... I feel like vlogging May Day!" So my day was spent switching between three different cameras (photography camera, vlogging camera, polaroid). I hope you enjoy the video though! #procrastinationproject

I took two back-to-back naps just now, but I still feel quite burnt out, so I figured since I made a video for this post and since this post is also so photo-heavy, I'm going to skimp out on the writing bit.

It's starting to feel like summer. Finish off the year strong and then go have fun :) Happy May Day!

PS: check out my first post about winter break '15 (out of three) from earlier today if you missed it
PPS: 171615141312111009. 08070605040302. 01.
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