This is why this site exists. Why I exist.

“Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn questions with a strong, simple, “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose […]

“write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty–describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place[…]

“Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. — And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet


If you’ve come here, welcome! … This is my life. Here are my writings:

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Listen.

“To listen is to continually give up all expectation and to give our attention, completely and freshly, to what is before us… to listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.”
— Mark Nepo, The Exquisite Risk

I am by far having one of the hardest years of my life. And it’s only February.

The battle is mental, spiritual. I’m desperate to hear God’s voice, and I find myself teetering on the edge of wanting to end it all… I’ve never cried so many tears nor have I ever spent so much time on my knees at the edge of my bed praying, face flat into the pillow, asking God to show up, taking a break to look up at my phone to switch between social media and Google searches for for affordable therapists, then back to prayer.

It’s been chaotic in my soul, to say the least.

One thing I can appreciate, though, is the battle. I’ve never fought so hard for anything before. There’s something to be revealed in me through the way I have been clawing and clamoring, demanding answers from God, petitioning for peace within my soul, asking God to fulfill my need to feel loved, to matter…

Slowly I can feel myself discovering my worth. Discovering what God is up to with my story, and the character I’m supposed to be in other people’s stories. I never seem to run out of encouragement for others, especially toward my girlfriend. The real battle is for me to encourage myself, though. And sometimes that looks like me just needing to shut up and listen.

It’s not always clear to me when God speaks. I feel like I do most of the talking. And I find that I don’t have much patience for dead space. But maybe that’s exactly what I need to get used to — often in my boredom I desire to just fill up my space with tons of nonsense and distractions. I haven’t really learned the discipline to be still and listen. Even when God doesn’t speak.

The truth is I’ve been spending more time with God than I ever have, and I’m always convicted that it’s only during times of extreme duress like this. It’s pretty crazy to think that God feels so much unrequited, jilted love from so many of His creation. And how often I ditch him when things start to get better. I never truly include Him in my life – He’s only my center when  I cry out and let Him drive,  when everything spirals out of control as a result of me trying to steer my own life.

So I am just trying to listen more… to pay attention, to train myself to be alert at all times, to be ready for when the moment God does speak, I’ll be aware. Until then, I am starting to understand that there is no immediate rescue plan, that maybe God wants me in this turmoil a little longer, to make me a little stronger, and if I continue in that perspective I can’t help but be grateful.

Maybe an answer won’t come, maybe a great revelation or audible voice won’t dawn on me. Maybe God is just enjoying that I’m near and responsive to Him again. And truthfully, even when there is no answer, I do feel loved. And that’s the proof of God’s presence, after all.

Why Trust Matters.

“We expend so much energy, watching, calculating, trying to predict, reading signals in people, ready for anything to change suddenly, preparing to be disappointed. So much energy spent.

“We talk about trust as something you build, as if it is a structure or thing. but in that building there seems to be something about letting go. and what it affords us is a luxury. it allows us to stop thinking, to stop worrying that someone won’t catch us if we fall, to stop scanning for inconsistencies, to stop wondering how people act when not in our presence. it allows us to relax a part of our minds, so it can focus on what is in front of us.”

Boldness. Forgiveness. Gratitude.

Those are the areas of focus that I have been working on in my life since the beginning of 2014. It’s been a crazy half of a year so far, and in these past two months I have been growing and stretching in some of the most excruciating ways that have demanded so much of my character to get chiseled in this painful, slow process.

If the same situation happens to you a dozen and one times, it gets pretty safe to assume that the situation happens because of you – that you’re the problem.

Or rather, I’m the problem.

I have to embrace and confront the possibility that perhaps I am the reason that I am unloved. I am the reason why I don’t get chosen. I’m the reason why things don’t work out. My undeveloped character informs the poor decisions I make that drive others away, that drive the relationships I’ve had away from me and into the arms of others.

I have to accept the fact that the brand of love I have to give just doesn’t interest most people, and I can’t be bitter at them for not choosing me. Sometimes people prefer other flavors. And at the very least I should be thankful that they gave me a try.

I have to realize that the “hope” I hold out for in my head and my heart, the hope that one day they would realize how wonderful I am or whatever… that it isn’t hope at all – it’s bitterness. It’s unforgiveness. It’s actually a desire to get back at them. It’s a desire to get the last laugh by fantasizing that they would come back and apologize. And it’s disgusting that I let myself even think of people who hurt me that way.

It doesn’t surprise me that my current love interest has set her eyes on someone else. In my life, it’s happened to me ever since the 9th grade. And I grew so heavy from the numerous times it has happened, and all the bitterness and unforgiveness I held onto. I grew very heavy. My heart is currently heavy. I’ve realized what happens is each time I have gone through something like this, I find myself letting go eventually. But I’ve never actually walked away from the place where I left it – it’s just something I’ve never done yet. And I need to. Because every time it happens again, I find myself picking back up every burden that I’ve let go of from my past, and I get heavier and heavier because I’ve never actually moved on. I need to not only let go, but I need to let go and move on.

And now I have to actually let the process of moving on do its complete work of changing my character. I no longer want to be bitter. I no longer want to imagine a situation where I desire power over someone because the person they left me for broke their heart. I want to be the kind of man who prays blessings onto the relationships of those I care about, and that includes who they are with now. I no longer want bitterness to remain in my heart, nor do I want to allow it to masquerade as “being hopeful.”

I want to be a person who has forgiven, who has forgiven myself, and who hopes truly for a future where the both of us are truly happy. I remember telling her that all I wanted for her was for her to be happy, even if it meant finding that with someone who isn’t me. I said that thinking that would never happen, but now that it is a reality, I want to truly believe it and mean it with all my heart.

Love has to do what it must. It has to do what is right. It has to do what is healthy. Love must rejoice in what is good, what is beautiful, what is true, and I no longer want to accept anything less than those ideals in my life and in my relationships.

I truly have to commend her for having the courage to do what I couldn’t do – stop talking to each other, because our conversations were the source of my pain. I have to realize that what she did must have been difficult and hard, and I as the man should’ve been the one to commit to it, but I didn’t. She did. Maybe it was easier because she had someone else she was interested in to talk to. Perhaps. But that’s irrelevant when it comes to my healing, my journey, and my quest to restore my heart back to a place where it can love again.

The miracle is finding someone who you can give all your love to, and not have to worry about not getting all of someone else’s love in return. We settle for less all the time in arenas where we should endeavor to deserve someone’s best. I have to accept that the energy that I am willing to give and pour and invest into someone… that sometimes, you could be pouring into someone who is just simply less willing to do the same. And it’s okay. We just have to keep going until we find someone who does.

Overall I am proud of myself for how I handled this relationship. I got really close to being the kind of man I wanted to be for someone. Even in our rocky beginnings, I was proud of the person I was. It was in the pursuit of her love that I learned that it was within my grasp to be kind, to be generous, to be giving, to be attentive, to be understanding, to be patient, to be a good human being. That whenever a relationship fell apart, this time I chose not to self-destruct. This was the only time that I ran straight to God when my soul started to break, and I can be proud that I made that choice.

It’s time for me to move on, to learn, to be happy for her, to be kind to others, to pray blessing on their budding relationship, and to mean those prayers each day I mutter them. It’s time for me to never tire of doing what is good, what is right, and to start trusting that there, too, is a hope, a love, and someone out there for me too. I have to keep pursuing. I have to keep growing. I have to keep forgiving. I have to keep being grateful. And I have to keep being bold.

Stillness and Pursuit

It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself through just one relationship.

By engaging in this one relationship, I have experienced every emotion, and have begun to discover the capacity of my soul to feel joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, hope and despair.

And I have treasured every second of it, and have begun to embrace the fullest measure of all that I have experienced so far.

The biggest lesson I have been learning is the stillness of pursuit. There is a constant ebb and flow that happens; a push and pull. This woman has been in my life for almost a year now, and we have gone from strangers to friends, friends to best friends, best friends to friends that have confessed their feelings, friends that have confessed their feelings to friends who are unsure, friends who are unsure to friends that are estranged, and friends that are estranged to friends who have grown and reconciled, and finally friends who have grown and reconciled to friends that have a uniquely complicated relationship that is no longer easy to define.

Through every stage, I have had to battle with issues that have been deeply rooted in me ever since I started dating. I was a timid kid. Somewhat shy, comfortable in his own skin but very insecure overall. And I haven’t been in the best relationships either. Looking back my timidity had been mistranslated into cowardice, and sometimes it was. Looking back my desire to spend time with her had been translated as jealousy or too persistent, and sometimes it was.

But after meeting this woman, I embarked on this journey that would forever change me. It was a relationship that I stepped into that finally challenged me to be the man I always wanted to be. It made me want to finally fight for someone. It made me want to pursue.

For almost a year it’s been a constant struggle for me to continue to fight. It took me six months to finally muster the courage to ask her out, after spending all this time voluntarily in the friend zone. I was comfortable as her friend, but I was also miserable, watching her enter into a relationship and watching myself do absolutely nothing about it, even though I knew I was better. I watched myself grow sad, I allowed the situation to defeat me, and I let that circumstance erode my self-esteem. But it also made me treasure the friendship we had. And it helped me practice the art of gratitude over bitterness. One thing I learned from the experience is that you can still practice kindness even when things don’t go your way. That even if you don’t get the girl, you can still endeavor to be the man you always wanted to be. That you can still choose to be a force of love and good, even when you get nothing in return. In my past I was a very jealous, bitter, spiteful person, and it brought me comfort to know that I could still choose love, even when it felt like love would never choose me. That I could do it for a woman I loved even if she never wanted to move into romance.

I was halfway across the world when she told me that relationship ended. I wanted to hug her but I was as far away as one could possibly be. We continued to talk, and when she went overseas herself, our relationship started a blossoming process that grew into something more than friends. We began to flirt, she wanted to tell me everything that was happening there, I re-arranged my sleep schedule to be awake when she was. Even though we were on opposite sides of the world, I never felt closer to her. Then we had a conversation that challenged me even more. And I made a decision to ask her out when she came back.

One thing to keep in mind about this whole relationship, by the way, is that our timing is terrible. Like, it’s laughably, outrageously bad. It’s one of the things we joke about. In any case, I was so nervous about a week before she would arrive back home. I drafted this whole spiel of what to say, how much she meant to me, the adventure I would like to live out with her, and it hit her like a ton of bricks… both in a good way and a bad way. It was good because I finally got tell a woman I loved how I felt, and even more so that she shared the same feelings about me. The bad news was, well, the timing. She needed space, she was depleted from the trip, exhausted from a battle she constantly fights, and this confession was just too overwhelming. And after about two months of me pursuing more and her not having a clear response to give back, things just subsided.

Here is where the real learning started to begin. The real, hard-hitting, heart-wrenching lessons that I have had the displeasure of going through. I found myself waning in my previously unconditional type of love. The constant force of good I was so intentional about creating and exuding in her life was starting to turn more selfish, darker, more possessive. All of a sudden, the struggle to keep bitterness at bay became an all-out war inside me, as if there was a dam of it that I had no idea was piling up and growing and starting to spill over the walls. I found myself overwhelmed, and I finally discovered the limits of my seemingly infinite amount of patience that I once had. The struggle became real. I started to feel so, so lonely. So depressed. I started to lose my faith. I started to lose hope. I started to lose sight of the idea of love. The things I once proudly championed were starting to feel like false truths that I had no idea why I believed it in the first place. It was a dark and dangerous place to be. I started to say things out of frustration and loneliness that eventually just drained her. Our conversations that were once productive started to just go into circles and find no resolution. The closeness we once had started to drift. And I was painfully aware of it happening and felt powerless to stop it. I felt out of control of my own actions and wreaking havoc upon a relationship that I so desperately wanted to keep intact. That my grip on what I wanted was so tight that it was constricting the life of the one I only wanted to give myself to. That my jealousy wasn’t flattering but smothering. And it was painful to release her in the end…

I say all this not so you could feel bad for me, but to understand the process of what I have been going through. Like I said in the beginning, this relationship has challenged me, stretched me, and grew me in ways I never thought possible. It’s for that reason that this relationship still means so much to me, because it has made me painfully aware of my limitations and how much more growing I need to do. It made me realize how unprepared and not ready I am to be entrusted with a heart. At least not right now.

I’ve learned how much I desire control. I’ve learned how much not getting what I want upsets me. I’ve learned that sometimes I say things because it sounds like I care about their happiness, but really I say it to be manipulative and get someone to be what I want them to be before they’re ready to be it. I’ve been truly learning how to remain still and letting the moment be enough. To let the process do its work in me, to mature me, because what I’m learning in these moments are crucial elements being forged inside of me to help me retain the relationship that it will eventually be. That I am just not ready for that kind of caliber of a relationship. That I can’t just throw a tantrum and be passive aggressive when I don’t get what I want. That I need to cultivate even more patience and more forgiveness and more gratitude because the kind of relationship I want to have requires that I go through this process.

I am learning that to pursue with my love is sometimes to be still. That perhaps the timing is so wrong because I’m rushing things out of excitement and immaturity. That there is virtue in giving space, and there is no rush. After all, in the grand scheme of things, even a couple of years of being alone and never hanging out is worth it if it creates a lifetime together with each other. That love, perseverance, and kindness wins if you give it a chance to blossom in your life. That confidence and masculinity is vulnerability, and wisdom is knowing when to be that way. That growth is learning to bear the weight of the consequences of your mistakes, and letting that texture and shape your character. That  when you choose to persevere through unimaginably, unbearably difficult moments, you start to acquire all the skills you need to nurture the relationship that you will one day be entrusted to nourish and put effort into. That you can love someone by being still. You can pursue with prayer, and you can pursue with patience. You start to realize the loneliness of not being chosen, but then that leaves your soul with the realization that God has chosen you. You start to realize that when God is all you have left, He becomes everything you have ever needed.

So, the ride isn’t over. There is still so much to go through, so many decisions to make, so much to keep persevering through. So much to learn. So much to grieve about, and so much to feel joy about. I’ve already gone this far, and I have already been challenged by so many situations, and as many as I have failed, I have succeeded in many. I keep asking God to take this all away, and all He says to me is, “I’m here.” I have been victorious in battles I never thought I’d win, and I have lost battles I thought were in the bag. But I want my life to be an example of what it means to persevere, not because there is a girl at the end, but because it shows the power of what love can do. I want to overcome not so my life has a good ending and I get the girl, but because the world needs to know that love can win and it must win. And I will never stop pursuing this goal to have love win, even if it means I have to be still for a very long time.

Psalm 43

For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies? Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! (Psalms 43:2-5 NLT)