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    Resurrection

    I spent most of 2020 feeling unproductive, invisible, and useless. I many times wondered if I add value to anyone’s lives. Or if my existence had meaning. OK, fine. I felt this way prior to 2020—the devil has been tormenting me for years. But all things COVID Pandemic didn’t help.   Four days ago God proved me and Satan wrong. My brother’s family came to town last week for three nights. Although they stayed at his in-laws’ place, they made this trip just to visit me. Of course my niece and nephew also wanted me to spend the night over there. I promised I’d stay one night. Not that anyone…

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    Waiting for Normal

    My husband and I put up our Christmas tree on October 25. Call us eager. And bored.   But despite all the glitter and music, the gifts and velvet bows, almost half of Americans wrestle through the holidays—even without a pandemic. Mental health workers say that some people get the holiday blues because there’s this perception and comparison of others having more and doing more. Enter 2020. Humpty Dumpty has fallen. It’s not just COVID cases that have surged. Loneliness, anxiety, and depression have also spiked this year. Weeks of waiting have turned into long months. Although Advent is the season of waiting, many could do without it by now—the…

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    Is It Safe to Open My Eyes Now?

    I write this post two days before the US elects its next president. By the time you read this, the election would have already passed.   The election results won’t make a difference to me. (Translation: I’m jaded.) Too many people have died from COVID, riots, and racism this year. Add to that unemployment, mask wars (a.k.a. selfishness), hurricane after hurricane, and fire after fire. We came into this election season an exhausted hostile nation—already overwhelmed with anxiety and grief. I can picture the devil high-fiving his minions right now over their victory at dividing our nation. There is no real winner here. Because a presidential election can’t buy peace…

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    Obey God or Please People

    In Daniel Chapter 3 we find three Hebrew captives who refused to fall down and worship the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. The Babylonians practiced polytheism. They didn’t believe in just one god, nor did they require others to follow only their gods. King Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t asking them to renounce Yahweh by bowing down to his statue. So what was the big deal, then? This is exactly what my relatives ask me when I refuse to participate in Hindu rituals. They believe in a pluralism of sorts, and purport that Hinduism is more of a philosophy than a religion, where one can adhere to tenets that appeal to them, and disregard…

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    True Super Hero: A Tribute to Chadwick Boseman

    Should we blame social media that people deem themselves privy to the intimate matters of others? Somewhere along the way we lost our respect for privacy.   On a job interview this year, I met a young woman who told me she has to pump breast milk during her commute home. As a healthcare worker—not fazed. All fine to that point. Then she asked me if I have children (which always makes me cringe because I can predict what follows.) I told her I do not, and quickly added that I’m fifty years old. She said I don’t look my age. Nice! I thought disclosing my age would make her…

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    Light and Momentary Troubles

    Job loss. Global pandemic. COVID-19 killing thousands. Racial injustices. Knees on necks. Anxiety. Depression. Social distancing loneliness. Sexual harassment. School bullying. It’s just one thing after another. Maybe you wonder if God is even paying attention.    We all face discouragement. We try our best, only to be humiliated in front of our coworkers by a toxic boss who leaves us feeling unappreciated and discarded. We toil to make our marriages work, only to feel frustrated because nothing is changing. We give and serve at church, only to have our jaws hit the floor when we learn of members’ gossip and betrayal. It’s a good thing that what God says…

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    Star-Spangled Hammer

    In 1964 an engineering graduate student sailed on a 1000 passenger ship from Bombay to Genoa. Later that night he caught a train from Milan to London. From London he flew to New York. He took a bus to the Port of Ellis Island to process his immigration. This fourteen day journey began his road to the American Dream. He had eight dollars in his pocket. Years later, my father took his United States citizenship, pledging allegiance to the American flag with tears in his eyes. My father always taught us we should feel lucky to live in America—a nation of liberty and justice for all. He had escaped a…

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    Part II: Every Tribe, Language, People, and Nation: Revelation and Flying Buttons

    If anyone happens to see the elephant standing on my chest, please ask it to step off. Could be asthma. Could be anxiety. Maybe both. At the grocery store two days ago I couldn’t believe my eyes—a crowded store with minimal social distancing or use of face masks. The governor lifted the lockdown because he wanted to boost the economy—not because the coronavirus evaporated. I want things to go back to normal, too. Or do I?   The Great Realisation, a video poem circulating YouTube and Facebook, outlines the way of the world prior to COVID-19. With the catchphrase, “Hindsight’s 2020,” a father reads his son a bedtime story describing…

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    Forced Sabbath

    “Normal” used to mean a good night’s sleep of six hours and falling asleep during prayer. Normal meant unfolded laundry, unmade beds, and unfiled papers on my desk. Normal meant a twenty-minute dinner with my husband eating take-out in front of the TV. The receptionist called eight days ago to ask if I wished to reschedule my doctor’s appointment. Yes, please. The office lies in the heart of the city with the second highest confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. She asked if I’d like to reschedule for a time around Easter. I replied June or July. She laughed out loud. Strange. I hadn’t cracked a joke in two…

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    Part I: Every Tribe, Language, People, and Nation

    A couple years ago my favorite seminary professor told me of a women’s mission trip to India, and that I’m going. I don’t consider myself the global missions type. I’m sort of neurotic about international travel. It’s a combination of safety freak plus control freak. (Good thing I’m married to a psychotherapist.)  Plus I have a love/hate relationship with India. But I would not turn down my favorite professor. But as the trip drew closer, my anxiety skyrocketed. Not sure how much you know about the current religious-political climate in India, but a certain group of Hindu nationalists don’t play nice with those who follow the Abrahamic religions. Some of…