Welcome 2022, embracing the reality but remaining hopeful

Overwhelmed and numbed, like a Zombie

Episode 1: It’s 9:30pm on Wednesday night. Finally kids went to bed after countless fights. House is a mess. I yearn for an intimacy with wife, but she fell a sleep with kids after a long, tiring day. I’m alone in the living room. There are four people in this house but I feel utterly lonely. I open up the phone and start playing “Royal Crush”, a simple mindless puzzle game. It’s not that much fun, but splendid sound and multi-combo hits are enough to take my minds off from the reality. Moments passed, it’s already past midnight. I know I will feel bad about myself tomorrow morning but I can’t seem to stop playing this stupid game. Oh, I already feels terrible.

Permission to be imperfect — the power of vulnerability

Powerful Ted Talk about Vulnerability from Dr. Brown
  • Vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. But vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our most accurate measure of courage.
  • People who practices vulnerability don’t say it’s easy. They just know it’s Necessary.
  • Without vulnerability, you can’t truly connect with yourselves nor others. And there can’t be a true sense of joy, happiness, and meaning.

The source of my hope — Faith in him who knows me and loves me

Before I get into the details of how our 2021 was and our plan for 2022, let me share the source of my hope. Here are some “sparkling moments” in 2021.

San

2021 was a year of “overwhelmed but holding on”. San definitely struggled a lot — the muscles that carried him so far no longer operated well. He made countless mistakes and screwed up multiple-times. However, he held on to his faith. He stayed ground where he should be. He continuously showed up, and never gave up completely.

  • Faith: It was a year of “great inputs but somethings are not quite latching”. A lot of great inputs — FDE, Praxis, Dave Gibbons. However, things weren’t quite clicking. Big part of the NCBC F&W fizzled. Charismatic and intercessory prayer feels distanced. Regular worship became obsolete. Family worship was life giving but often we were too tired. Daily routine is all messed up, and Sunday was often the most stressful day of the week. That said, there were not-so-small number of fruits, especially from the F&W ministries he served in his church. As he sow in other people’s lives with encouragement, curiosity, and faith, San witnessed multiple life changing moments that San cherishes dearly.
  • Family: In 2021, San grew as a husband and dad. San teamed up with Min to parent his 3 children. Every Friday was a time of reflection, bonding, and strategizing as a couple and parents. San’s heart grew as a dad — he ached when his kids struggled. Kids still love “Dad-playground” at home. San often dropped Haru to school, giving her a small candy in secret with a big dose of love and smile. San occasionally bursted out his anger when Hayul triggers him, but he got quicker to making things up. And San truly enjoyed his 1 yr old Son, Haim. There were tough moments and unpleasant arguments with Min as they navigate 3 kids under age 6— 2 jobs life in bay area, but at the end of the day, Min continuously gave him favor and San remembered that they are one team: that her glory is his, and she is a gift from above that needs his favor and care.
  • Work: First time PMing was not easy. Some of the feedback were tough to swallow, and the career trajectory often seemed much slower than his peers which concerned him occasionally. However, San constantly found surprising amount of joy and fun when he geeked out on data and embarked a logic battle with math PHDs. Also, San loved apprenticeship— his manager’s succinct but to-the-point questions makes his jaw drop. It’s an art for him. San produced his “ML and Life Talk”, merging Theology and Technology (even though he had single digit view on youtube, he still loves it). He is constantly dreaming about another chance to orchestrate multiple disciplines — and he can’t stop but wonder what product he will be stewarding.
  • Self: He rarely exercised. There were multiple life-taking routines (flipping through instagram, lusting over phone screen, mindlessly playing puzzle game to numb) he fed himself after putting kids to bed when he got too-tired to do anything but too-stressed to just go to bed. But he also found multiple hidden gems, life giving stories and thoughts such as “Will”. Oatmilk latte from Peet’s coffee and Airpod pros are still his go-to-friends. He can still do 10 pull ups (surprisingly), he still writes on his blog occasionally (and yes, it’s too long), and he mastered how to cut his hair by himself.

Min

2021 was a year of “busy but grateful”. She was really busy; raised 3 children, taking lion-share of kids duty herself, served local Church as a part-time pastor, continued studying, and took care of her complex husband. But she was also energized and grateful for her life even more than ever.

  • Faith (Ministry): She cherished her ministry — she often felt deep sense of awe and joy as she led VBS, Awana, and Sunday worship. Loving kids and seeing their growth were such a blessing. Late night prep time, when she pull-together the music, the craft, the message, and everything together, was her moment of “flowing”. Counseling kids were her hidden gem. Towards the end of 2021, she made a difficult decision to step down from her ministry. Even with the all the joy and fruits, she felt assured that stepping down from the ministry is where lord was inviting her into. She felt sad but relieved, scared but assured, and bitter but grateful. She delivered a sermon titled “crown of joy” at Women’s worship; she witnessed how God changed her biggest scar into the “crown of beauty”. It was one of her highlights in 2021.
  • Family: Watching kids and managing household was no joke. It was countless repetition of never-ending works. She felt deep relief by San’s growth as a father. She cherished modified date-night with San; but, quite often, she also just wanted to be alone, having late night snacks and watching Korean drama. Handling a complex emotions of Haru remained challenging, but she learned to close things quickly. Hayul’s aggressive behaviors were a huge stress once, but she is very grateful that he is a lot better now. And Haim’s illness was one of the most stressful things in 2021 — but this too, has gotten a lot better. She imagined what if having another baby as she noticed her adorable baby was growing out of toddler, but she quickly tabled the idea.
  • Self: Min had a moment of “transcendence” with her Tuesday Jazz dance class. Min enjoyed fellowship with other pastors who serve for the next-gen at her local church — and also occasional 3 hour talks or eating out with her a few close friends were one of her favorite times. Connecting with other friends/moms over Instagram remained to be life-giving.

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San Baek

San Baek

In search of authentic and vulnerable stories. Christ follower, husband, father, son. Entrepreneur/Operator/Blogger. Endlessly seeking the awe.