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2017-10-27 17:01
By Aeran Kim



When I studied English literature long ago, I was fascinated by “Walden.” I wanted to live in the simple and frugal world of Walden like Henry David Thoreau. Instead, I entered the Convent.

Sometimes when I lose a sense of balance in my life, I ask myself, “What if I lived in a community where nobody knows about me? I wish I could live in a place where there is no prejudice about me.”

“Hey, nevertheless in a month, everybody will know about you. Whether you are here or there, it is the same everywhere. That’s life.”

That’s true. There is nowhere that I can be hidden. I can’t live alone without letting others know about me.

In spite of that reality, I sometimes dream of going far, far away from my place. It is a place where there is neither prejudice nor critical judgment or comparison.

Would that be possible? If possible, where is that place? What would happen there?

I am just as I am. Therefore, my personality will be revealed naturally and spontaneously, and struggling conflict and adjustment will go on because I can’t totally escape from my reality. As long as I live on this earth, I can’t help but face my reality as it is. Not only the strong points and the merits but the weaknesses and the limitations go along with one another in a perpetual circle of life.

One day, one of the sisters in the Congregation said to me: “You are so unrealistic that it might not be easy to live as a missionary sister.” This comment about me is a fact that I have to accept with humility. It is true that I am rather unrealistic, imaginative, sensitive and creative by nature. It is my reality that I can neither avoid nor deny at all.

Even though I do my best, I can’t totally overcome my emotional flow. The emotional edge and the hopeful beginning are intertwined continually. As the dawn is enlightened at the end of the night, the hope overpowers the emotional edge thanks to faith in God.

Recently during my vacation, I walked around “Ttangkkeut maeul” which means the village on the very tip of the Korean peninsula. It was interesting to know that the catchphrase of that village is “the beginning of hope.” Clearly, the end is not the last but the hopeful beginning.

Ttangkkeut village in Haenam-gun, Jeollanam-do is the southernmost area and the furthest point away from Seoul. The village on the edge of the land is surrounded by the southern sea filled with various types of seafoods such as algae, tot (hijiki), dasima (kelp), kim (red algae), miyeok (brown seaweed), abalone (Haliotis), and others. This area is also famous for figs and fish farming of abalone.

Walking around Ttangkkeut village with a light heart helped me refresh myself. When I struggle with difficult sentences during translation, I sometimes feel pain in my right shoulder. Worse is when I have a migraine on the right side of my brain. It is a sign to take a moment to walk, exercise or rest for a while to recover the balance in body and soul.

Then, happily, I recover my energy and begin again with fresh vitality. A hopeful beginning is recharged again and again. Thus, the perpetual journey of the end and the beginning starts an adventure every day.

In human relationships, good moments and conflicts are intermingled. The sociable, lively, cheerful and emotional character goes against the timid, sensitive and reserved personality. The sunny personality needs much patience and compassion for the moon-like person like me. But as in Ttangkkeut village, the end is not the end but the beginning. The sea and the earth, disappointment and understanding, confrontation and solidarity, conflict and compassion mingle and intertwine with one another endlessly.

 

The author is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul (Figlie di San Paolo) living and giving the good news to the world by means of social communications. Learn more about the congregation at fsp.pauline.or.kr.

 

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