Aww Sisi.

It’s a few days after you made that impromptu visit back to NYC to visit Mike and mend your relationship with him in person.

Mm you know, I just got hit with this feeling of happiness (: I need not worry abt what others think bc ultimately, Gods judgment is the only one that counts. Mike and I love each other, as flawed and misguided out love is sometimes. God’s blessed us with so many things and ridiculously privileged lives. We need to make the best of what we have and not dwell too much on our mistakes. God is good and he forgives. -5/4/12, 12:10 PM

It’s tough to respond to you when you talk about God because there are two ways I can respond and I never know which one is appropriate for that time. I could just respond to the literal meaning of your words, in which case I’m happy that you were (and continuously are) “hit with feelings of happiness” and “don’t need to worry” and that “you and Mike love each other.” The literal meanings of your statements about God are true: 1. God is the ultimate judge, 2. God has blessed you(pl), 3. God is good, 4. God forgives. I know the flow of your ideas and beliefs is completely rational: it makes sense that that feeling of happiness would lead to thoughts about God’s blessings overall, which you grounded in the context of your situation with Mike and then extended for future behavior/perspective.

So if it’s all true, why would I try to contradict you?

And, given my personality, it’s not hard for me to do so, right?

John 7:24 (KJV)

24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Though it be true that it’s not just to judge a person solely on appearance, but if you continuously steal, then it’s fair to call you a thief. If you continuously lie, then it’s fair to call you a liar.

With that being said, it’s not our job to be on the lookout to find flaws in people. God is the ultimate judge, and if you judge, judge out of love. Judge to construct not to tear down.

If what you said is true, why would I want to pick apart the separate aspects of what you said as if this were one of my philosophy assignments where I’m supposed to deconstruct your argument and discuss criticisms? You weren’t making an argument.

So since what you said is true, how could I have the heart (not just the mind), then, to refute you?

I know that tone you adopt when I say something you don’t want to hear. It’s usually not from my direct judgment–and I think that’s because of an aspect of my personality that makes me both reluctant to affirm my own convictions but apt and quick to adopt those of others. Anyway, the first memory I have of that distinct tone of yours that you adopt was after prom. I told you that Kayla had been unhappy with how Mike acted during prom and then you asked me why I was telling you that, in that tone. And then we didn’t speak for the rest of the night, and you started crying, and I got very distraught and fatigued. And you got over it and was happier the next morning. But I slept through everything and didn’t know what to do. That afternoon I helped Lewis install the LEDs in Alan’s car.

You adopted the tone ever-so-slightly that night we had the phone call about Michelle and her sorority, drinking in college, etc. When I told you that Lewis had been the one to say something to Greg about how you weren’t baptized or a member of our church yet, you had that tone again. It’s somewhat hostile, is the best way I can describe it. I can’t recall whether or not you actually asked why I was telling you, but “why are you telling me this” is definitely implied in the tone. I only told you because I figured you should know the full story if that was your subconscious reason for not liking Greg.

[As for after-prom, I want to say, of course, that I was telling you about Kayla just fyi…but I can’t disregard the possibility that I was also doing it to be mean to you. I’m so sorry for that 😦 I feel like I must have been responsible for making you cry, and I’m sorry for hurting you on your prom night.]

It’s just weird how history repeats itself. I hadn’t noticed this when I first started this post, but…

On Friday I was actually once again with Lewis working on LED lights (this time for Stanley’s car). We went to Ace to buy the mounts and then worked on the wiring with his solder and drill at his home.

He doesn’t know any of the detail of your relationship with Mike (well, no one does. even I know very little), yet he said a lot about what he was perceiving about your relationship.

  • Christian Sisi and Christian Mike are acting no differently from how nonChristian Sisi and nonChristian Mike would act. It took me awhile to understand what he was saying since I know firsthand that Christian Sisi is different from nonChristian Sisi, and also that your relationship has been changing over time. (You guys acknowledge when there’s a problem, and even so specifically as to know when it’s “because you’re not listening” or “because i was angry,” etc. Doesn’t that awareness count as wisdom?) What he’s saying, though, is that regardless of the words that you use (like in the above quoted text), your actions are still don’t differentiate you from a nonChristian couple that might face the same problems.
  • Specifically, a Christian couple would be transparent with its family and church community. I don’t fully understand this either since I understand what privacy is. (I also kind of talked to you about this in the phone call we had when you just got on the bus back to Cornell. I understand that couples need privacy only to the superficial extent that I witness it in the couples around me in church and in the world and as portrayed in the media. However, since I don’t even staunchly disapprove of PDA, I don’t have a personal stance or understanding of how open a romantic relationship should be and what that even means.) Nonetheless, this is one of the things Lewis said that he was really serious about.
    Especially since neither of your parents know/support your relationship, I can’t help but agree that transparency is something you severely lack. 😦
  • Lastly, a couple needs solidarity as much as individuals need solidarity within themselves. It’s taken me awhile to figure out what solidarity means, and I’m still working on it.

When Lewis first used the term, it was when I freaked out the first time I slept over at Andre’s last summer and sent him a text expressing my anxiety. Then, I thought solidarity=solitude and he was telling me that I should sleep in my own bed alone. I remember how much his comment had depressed me. When I told my mom, after she confirmed that absolutely nothing had happened, she wasn’t even that worried and kept reassuring me not to be anxious. When I told Homy, she similarly was super un-harsh about it. So I guess that’s how I got over it–with time and distractions and everyone else’s support that fazed out Lewis’ comment.

More recently, it came up when I was annoyed (but again somewhat anxious) about going to the Mets game with Andre, and Mike reminded me about solidarity and told me the definition: Unity or agreement of feeling or action, esp. among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group. He also texted me: “I wish I could find solidarity” 4/10/12 7:30PM I thought that meant that solidarity was agreement within a group (as the definition would suggest) and that Mike was saying he wished he could find someone or a group with whom he could have unity and agreement

But, on Friday, Lewis explained one more time and I realized his definition of solidarity is different. When he uses solidarity, he means within himself and not so much with other people. The catch is that you only get solidarity in Christ, and those two concepts are hard to hold simultaneously.

Still, this tumblr post I found is the best explanation of Lewis’ use of solidarity that I’ve seen yet:

Jello

I’m noticing a subtle but powerful shift in the way I approach life.

If I could use an analogy, I’ve found that I’m like Jello that needs to be set.

Jello needs to be solid enough to be picked up, because nobody wants to eat Jello soup. But at the same time, Jello needs to be flexible enough to be eaten. Hard Jello is just gross.

Like Jello though, I need to be stable and solid enough in my identity in Christ so as not to be shaken in my faith or in who God has made me to be. At the same time I need to soft enough to learn and grow and change.

I’m finding more of a balance. I’m feeling more “set.”

I’m more “me,” but as God wants “me” to be.

It’s not that I still don’t have insecurities and such. Because I definitely have my fair share. But I’m seeing God do a new thing.

For me to have solidarity would mean that I’m so “set” in my identity that I wouldn’t be shaken up by one sleepover at Andre’s. For me to have solidarity would mean I wouldn’t get angry or annoyed or disappointed in myself when I don’t do the things I plan to do (because of procrastination and lack of motivation, usually). If I knew who I was and what I had to do, my emotions and behavior wouldn’t have to be a function of my circumstances and experiences.

My new understanding of solidarity is really profound for me because it also sheds new light on “do what you love; find your passion.” It’s not that those statements don’t hold true anymore, but if I had solidarity, I feel like “I don’t love [this subject]” or “I don’t have a passion for [this ministry]” would become excuses. It’s not that I would start doing things that I don’t like to do, but I would be more steadfast about the things I said I would do, the things I’ve told myself I want to do.

I can’t perfectly cross-apply the concept, but I think solidarity in a relationship foremost means that circumstantial and temporary things can’t tremendously shake the relationship. If the relationship is sound and has a solid foundation, a random thing that occurs shouldn’t change everything. The reason I can’t explain much further or supplement this with examples is that I know I’d butcher it. I’ll tell you that this concept is not just alluding to specific instances such as the positive effect of your impromptu visit or the negative effect of Mike’s withdrawal symptoms. It has to do with something characteristic–like the “set”-ness of the Jello or the sturdiness of an architectural foundation.

I want to end this post by returning to the text you sent me about your feeling of happiness. In response to that text, I had told you to write it down somewhere. You said you didn’t have a pen or paper. So here, I’ve recorded your feeling of happiness for you. May you never lose your faith and trust in God since you’ve felt it and have it in you.

But this is why I’m writing this down; I do so with the hope that everything I’ve been perceiving about the health of your relationship is as trustworthy and true as God’s Word.

 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5

Its basis isn’t as strong, it holds no promise, and it doesn’t seem as hopeful.

But if it’s true, there are implications.

And, then, you’re right. We just have to pray furiously and ceaselessly, with passion.

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