Floating Life: Sunday Thoughts
Olivia of WangGuk
This week has been one of floating. I’m floating currently. I have goals and dreams, but I also don’t really care if none of them work out. Not in a depressing way haha— in a contented completely full kind of way. I would LOVE to see any number of the many dreams I have for my life come true. But I also welcome the idea that none of them may be for me— that my life may actually include a bunch of dreams I haven’t even dreamt yet. Floating, but not aimless.
Having a floating life feels rather free most of the time. But sometimes it can get heavy. It only gets heavy when I start to feel ill-contented. When I start to get anxious, like I need for something to happen. If I remain just simply grateful for whatever happens to be in front of me at the moment, I’m fine. More than fine: I’m not worried about anything in particular. And that’s a good feeling; a state of mind to be envied. Anxiety is a constant battle— a stifling kind of paralysis— one which, if you let it completely take you, is like putting a cup over a match and watching the flame die slowly.
The opposite of complete anxiety is complete Peace. The holy kind. The kind that sweeps like a salty breeze from the ocean through a dusty house. It is hard to let that holy breeze run through you completely and constantly. For most of us it is fleeting and we live simultaneously craving it, but not willing to totally let go of control in order to let it in again.
A floating life is a scary thought for a lot of us, especially those of us (like myself) who have a really difficult time not craving control. But floating is not actually scary. It is, yes, unpredictable, but in being unpredictable, it’s a completely open life. Ready for anything, and accepting of everything. Once a floating attitude is achieved, you’re never really scared or disappointed. You’re just you. Waiting for more of you to evolve and develop, whatever that includes. Floating, but not aimless. Waiting, but not anxious. Anticipatory, but not specifically expectant. Content, but ready for any challenge.
The Problem with People
Today as I sat in church I realized that people REALLY annoy me. This is kind of a sad realization when it’s prompted during church, but I couldn’t help it. Enter example A: the guy sitting next to me at church. He was one of those suuuuper loud suuuuper excited people, really out-going, had to greet everyone around him before church even started, even though it was evident he didn’t know any of them. Being the ultra to-myself introverted person that I am, I was already trying really hard not to make eye contact with him and decided within the first five seconds of church that he annoyed me. So far, you might be thinking “wow relax, the guy’s just really nice and happy,”which would be completely justifiable for you to think. But for some reason, whenever someone is THAT friendly and nice, it always seems a tad overly dramatic and a bit ingenuine to me. It’s almost like these people just want other people to look at them and think, “wow, they are just so nice.” In my mind, if you’re truly kind-hearted and you have a nice spirit, there’s no reason to parade around with this overly-nice facade. It’ll just come out in your actions when necessary.
Anyway— what a huge digression— I was sitting by this guy getting perturbed when church finally started and once it did, this guy immediately darts to the aisle, slopping all over me because I’m at the aisle seat and it’s dark so he can’t see. I really tried not to get annoyed because I told myself “get a grip Olivia, he probably just had to go to the bathroom; be patient”, to which I rebutted “yeah well he could have been doing that during the last 20 minutes while he was fake-greeting people”. I know, I know, but that’s the kind of stuff that goes through my head sometimes.
During the part of service where we’re actually supposed to greet people we don’t know, the guy shook my hand and somewhat apologized that he had stepped on me multiple times getting to and from the aisle. Socially polite gesture, but for some reason it didn’t alleviate my annoyance. And after church, as I was tail-gated all the way to my house by irresponsible drivers, I thought to myself “wow, people REALLY annoy me.” And then God struck me— not with lightning for being so impatient and ungracious, but with this thought: “But you are the same.” Goodness, talk about a slap in the face, but a much-needed one. And I thought, “You’re right. I am one and the same. I am no different and I am no better. I am the same.” This was a huge realization for me.
I think sometimes— and this is an especially difficult pill for me to swallow daily because I have such a low tolerance for poor behavior— we forget that humans make really poor decisions sometimes. And we just have to deal with those poor decisions. Sometimes we look at others’ mistakes and think “oh my word, they’re so stupid/ rude/ thoughtless” without taking a moment to realize that we are all the same. No one gets everything right all the time and no one is on their best, most courteous, putting-others-first behavior all the time. I wish it were that way, but we’re not there yet. We’re just not perfect. We’re going to have to be patient with each other. And trust me when I say that patience with people doesn’t come easy or natural to me— I pray day and night for divine intervention when it comes to patience. But it’s a necessary virtue for living life to its fullest in this world.
So the next time someone cuts you off on the freeway or the person in front of you at the market says something rude or ignorant or careless, remember not to sink to the level of that behavior and be at peace. Be at peace knowing that retaliating with more poor behavior won’t do any good. Be at peace knowing you can choose to be patient and kind even when others aren’t choosing to be that way. And be at peace knowing that someday, the world won’t look like this, but for now, we’ll just have to keep asking for divine intervention.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. ~Ephesians 4.2-3.
Free Thoughts Thursday: The Emergency Room
By Olivia of WangGuk
Tonight I’m sitting in the emergency room. I’m here with my best friend and her mom. It’s going to be the middle of the night soon and her mom and I have work tomorrow but we’re here because we have to be. It was one of those situations where I really didn’t have to go— in fact, my physical presence in this situation is probably fairly unnecessary— but something about me not going would have been wrong. So I’m sitting here feeling useless, but I’m sitting here because she’s my best friend and I know she’d be here if it were me, no matter how useless she’d feel.
I think a lot of things are like this in life. A lot of the time, we can’t do anything that will actually solve the problem, but just lending our presence to someone does so much more than we think it could. I think people were made for people— we were made to care about each other, to live in community with one another, to simply be with one another— and I think just being with one another is medicine enough sometimes. The presence of another being beside me is often so much unspoken comfort that I feel like it’s all I want some days. I used to experience this with my dog. Sometimes, I’d have the worst day ever— I mean like literally nothing went right in a day— and no one would be home for me to vent to, so I’d change into some boxers and go and sit on the ground in my backyard by myself. Except, I wouldn’t be by myself for long because my dog would hear me or smell me and she’d come waddling out of her house and come and maul me.
I would sit on the cracked patio and tell her to stop sniffing me and to stop touching me because I had had a bad day and I didn’t want to be touched, I just wanted to be alone. And then she’d keep smelling me and wiping her wet nose on me and climbing all over me because she always still thought she was small enough to stand and sit all over people no matter how fat she got. So I’d let her lay on top of my lap with my legs out straight. And then I’d just start crying or yelling or doing whatever I needed to do to get it all out. And she’d just lay on me and listen. She’d just be still while I wasn’t. It was weird. She couldn’t speak the same language as me, so I knew she could never say anything to make me feel any better, but just her being with me made me feel more calm. Eventually I’d calm down and stop crying and I’d just sit with her and pet her or do whatever. We’d just be together and we’d be fine.
I think togetherness is often such an overlooked cure to our illnesses. When I think of the human condition and the illnesses of loneliness or selfishness we sometimes face as humans, I quickly think of togetherness and what a cure it is to so many of our ailments. I think of what a miracle togetherness is in a world like ours. We were made for one another— people were made for other people. I think that’s why togetherness is so vital to life worth living; I think sometimes we forget how to just be still and be with one another.
So that’s what I’m thinking about as I’m sitting here waiting for my best friend to come out of the back room. I’m sitting here in my favorite light-blue, light-as-air Alexander Wang T shirt, my sister’s widest-cut Zella sweats, and my slippers; and nothing else really matters except that friends are together tonight.