Reading through last month’s reflections, I’m amazed at how quickly things change, and how my perspective on life can shift so fluidly between indifferent and impassioned. If February was overcast and overwhelmed, March was brighter, with more clarity and new beginnings on the horizons. Let me explain.
There’s a good amount of change happening in my life right now, both on a personal level and in more tangible ways. First of all, *cue drum roll* I’m moving to LA! Well, let’s say it’s a 94.7% guarantee, because I’m still waiting for a final confirmation, on which I will remain somewhat private until it’s actually the real deal. Fortunately, I’m incredibly lucky to have a place in Glendale lined up where my brother, Josh, and I will be living (and sharing the woes of paying rent together). But despite the somewhat daunting future of living, essentially, paycheck-to-paycheck (this will be my first time out on my own, paying my own rent), I can’t help but feel like the tide is calming, and God is (and always has been) at the helm.
If the outlook on my overall lifestyle resembles an upward slope on a graph, then the growth of my relationships looks similar, albeit with a few more grooves and dips—-but nevertheless moving upward and forward. (Aaand that’s the extent of my math education.) Of course, relationships with a significant other, family, coworkers, friends, and church sisters are never easy. There’s an insightful episode on the podcast On Being with Krista Tippett (which Josh introduced me to, and for the record, he deserves all the credit for any podcast recommendation I give here), and it’s titled, “Alain de Botton—-The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships.” The main gist of the conversation was: “How might our relationships be different—-and better—-if we understood that the real work of love is not in the falling, but in what comes after?” Yes, this is a commonly understood reality, but de Botton and Tippett break it down beautifully in ways I hadn’t thought about before. One key takeaway phrase from his essay, “Why You Will Marry The Wrong Person”, stuck with me:
“Compatibility is an achievement of love. It cannot be its precondition.”
Relationships take serious work. And while relationships with a boyfriend or girlfriend may be more difficult for some (and I wholeheartedly agree), I’ve struggled more with building and maintaining solid friendships outside of romance. I’m learning how to divvy up my time to invest in meaningful exchanges, sharpening my relational skills to ask deeper and engaging questions. I’ve realized that, for so long, I’ve craved accountability and sisterhood. And on all fronts, I’ve come to understand that I can’t expect compatibility to be a prerequisite to a good and lasting relationship.
Reflecting on all of these overall positive changes in my life, I know that God is listening and hearing my prayers. But sometimes it’s a challenge attempting to discern what is a part of God’s plan, and what’s a byproduct of my own self-centered will. I’m learning that it has to be a beautiful balance between the two: a dance with God in prayer, in joy, in hardship, in stagnant circumstances or in exciting life changes, all the while simply living day-to-day as a human being on this earth, taking what comes my way in stride and doing the best that I can do as a Korean American woman in her mid-20s, mapping her life out as it unfolds.
// ruth kim