This is Good

Weekly Journal #6

This week was good.

I chose which college that I would attend in the fall. I chose Biola out of a series of curious events throughout the school year. At first, I thought that I didn’t need to apply to Biola seeing that I already have been accepted to five other private Christian liberal arts colleges early in the year (fall-winter; around December). So I ignored Biola, and did not even attempt to apply. Later, in March, I applied for the admission to five UCs: Berkeley, LA, Davis, San Diego, and Irvine. I got rejected to all of them.

Very soon I realized that God led me to only Christian schools in the end, not a secular one. But even then, choosing which of the Christian schools to attend proved to be no easy task. Of course, Seattle University was out of the picture because of the cost and it did not have the same agenda I have for my future and higher education, being a Jesuit-Catholic university. George Fox University was my number one school, but the cost of tuition and room and board was almost equal to Seattle so it was likely that I would’ve had to join the ROTC or somehow come up with about $20,000 from my own pocket. I considered Azusa Pacific University, Corban University and The King’s College to be fall-back/back-up schools.

But it was during the spring break, that my family visited New York. We stayed in the Manhattan Club so we were in uptown/downtown area for most of the vacation. After some nightlife and sight-seeing on the Top of the Rock, the Rockefeller Tower, my mom thought that it would good to take a tour/visit of The King’s College, which happened to be located in the Empire State Building. And I happened to enjoy the visit at King’s. I loved the homey atmosphere, small class size and what the school was promoting and how they were reaching their goal. But in the end, it wasn’t the right school for me. King’s is more of a business, international-relations focus, and philosophy with too little majors to choose from. Lumping Philosophy and Business and Management was also the turn off. The King’s College was too small for me.

But the tour of The King’s College, really shook me in an unexpected way too. I realized that I would never completely understand or fully experience the college I ended up choosing, never completely like or enjoy everything about it. There can be no perfect college, but it’s what I choose to make out of what is given and what the school throws at me. This is something useful that The King’s College helped me see. So I’m thankful. But most importantly, my stay in New York also showed me that I’d need to rely on God more desperately, in complete, wholehearted submission. There are so many things happening and distractions in the city that I felt that I could easily be swept under its influence and away from my walk with God. I can’t trust myself to keep myself accountable for I am weak, but I trust in the Lord with all of my strength and I will not lean on my own understandings or interpretations of my situations for God is in control of my life and everything that was made by His hands.

Now back to the voice lesson, which also happened to turn out alright.

This Monday was a start of Mondays that would begin after school around 3:30 at Richmond Korean Baptist Church first, Pastor Lee’s office first and then a voice lesson with his wife back at their humble little home in San Pablo. The internship with Pastor Lee was very chill. We talked about school and my future school and told him that I’d mostly likely be in LA. It felt very short compared to other sessions we have had before.

The first best thing about going to Pastor Lee’s house is their daughter, Da-eun. Of course, she is the cutest wee little baby that every parent thinks their kids are. But this little girl is a funny one. Every time I come over she looks at me with her tongue sticking out, like my face is somehow entertaining her. When I smile, she drools. When I wave, she waves frantically up in the air. And when I clap, she claps her feet. But this happened only after I regularly came over. At first she was shy and avoided me, always observing with her huge puppy eyes from a distance.

The next best thing (OK, maybe better) is the food. Since we start our lesson around after 6, teacher decided that she’d feed me every Monday. It was eggs, rice, lots of yummy traditional side dishes, soup and seasoned beef and potatoes. After some fresh apples for desert, we started the lesson. (some way to get ready for the lesson, huh!)

The lesson started out all normal. Just me warming up and burping in between. But the warm-ups were a little shorter than usual and we had more time to work the my latest song, Intorno all’idol mio. Right away teacher was cracking down. She told me to focus and remember all the imagery that she taught me before. To loosen up my chin, jaw and mandible area, to not press down on the air so much but let it free at the top of the dome of my mouth but keep the pressure tight in my diaphragm area. (It’s really confusing to say and write this, well I guess this considered jargon somewhat, because you have to experience it to understand). And somehow they all clicked faster than usual and I could feel my body follow and listening to what I commanded. I understood what it meant and how it was supposed to feel, how it was supposed to sound to sing freely, bouncing, with conviction, focus and purpose!

It was a pretty amazing experience actually because I continued to do this, to please teacher and grow confident in my ability to execute vocally. It wasn’t a one time thing, no more one-hit wonders. Even after being interrupted by each of my parents once, twice in total, I was able to sing well and come back to speed. Now, I thought, this is how it feels to sing well, to sing right, to sing the way I was made to sing. It’s beautiful. God is so wonderful. He’s so amazing to shape me after His own image, me, as an image-bearer of God! That singing could be such a thing of beauty, such a thing of beautiful sound. In a small under-the-breath prayer I thanked God for who He is that He would share His beauty.

Now just because I was on a roll doesn’t mean it was easy. As soon as I thought that I was doing a good job, I was immediately humbled by the crack in my voice. Pride. And there were a curious set of things that followed. After each of my missteps and bouts of over-confidence, I lost focus and did one thing or another wrong for almost five times in a row. For example, after cracking (which means that there wasn’t enough support from my diaphragm, abdomen area), I kept ‘holding back’ the air instead of projecting it out, directed at the top of the dome of my mouth. And then, teacher would point out that my notes were stagnant and didn’t move. Basically, notes that don’t move, bounce, resonate are dead. There is no life. So I had to add flavor and breathe life into the notes I sang, which had to be backed by a tight chest, firm abdomen and ready throat.

A series of stumbles followed by a near-perfectly executed song was so satisfying!

Indeed this week was good. Because God is good, all the time; all the time God is good!-PTL


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