Eugene Cho

father’s day tribute

Happy Father’s Day to each of you.  My parents who live in San Francisco visited us last week.  We very much enjoyed our time and we were immensely excited to hear the news they shared with us:  they’ve decided to move to Seattle in the coming year.  After years of inviting, encouraging, and enticing, it appears our efforts will come to fruition…

From this past Sunday’s Seattle Times paper, I enjoyed reading a feature story entitled “The Heart of It: From His Dad’s Death, a Son Searches for the Meaning of Life.”  The story is written by Michael Ko who also happens to attend Quest.  He leads a community group with his wife, Liz.  I was privileged to be able to officiate their wedding about a year ago…

michaelko.jpg

Couple years ago when I attended Michael’s father’s funeral, it dawned on me that his father, Hi Sun Ko, was one of the first people I met in Seattle [couple years before I met Michael].  My wife and I flew out to Seattle in March 1997 to interview for a position at a Korean-American church in Lynnwood.  By coincidence, his father was on the interview committee.  This is a very well written story about Mike’s relationship with his father – then and now; there was much in this article that resonated with me.  Here’s a short excerpt from the article:

The night my father died, an older Korean man, a family friend, told me not to cry in front of my mother. He said my first job was to take care of her, and after the funeral, I should find someplace private and cry then.

That Korean male detachment again.

I know I have some of it, too. Maybe that’s why I clamp up.

But I also know I want to be different from my father in that way. I don’t want to bottle up my feelings until they become toxic.

I sought counseling after his death, thinking it might help locate the feelings I was sure I had.

Some of those sessions, along with a firmer grounding in my family and faith, and abundant grace and patience from my wife — who lost her own mother to cancer — have given voice to some of those feelings.

I feel sadness and regret — that I didn’t know my father as well as I should have.

I feel fear — that I, too, might die early.

I feel confusion — about why he made some of the choices he made, and also that I’m understanding and explaining him wrong.

I feel weird — that I can’t stop wearing his ratty brown jacket that’s too short in the arms.

I feel grateful — that he moved his wife and children to another country, and despite all the obstacles, did what he could to feed us, keep us safe, buy us toys and somehow build a new life for us. I feel like I have a solid foundation for making my own decisions and being responsible for my own successes and failures.

I feel proud — that he lived a rich life, full of successes and mistakes and daring. Maybe there were times he wished for more, but my guess is that he was in the end satisfied. In his 50s, he would sometimes walk around our water-view house in Mukilteo — one result of my parents’ dry-cleaning toil — and say life was OK.

And I feel acceptance of our relationship — that any profound meaning in what transpired between us will become clear in its own time, not in mine, and that the tension in my chest will loosen, as it has been, as the days pass. [read the full story]

For those interested, here’s another article written in the NY Times by a Korean-American novelist about his relationship with his father.

Filed under: asian-american, family, seattle

6 Responses

  1. james says:

    wow. what an incredible article. i loved the way michael gave an honest perspective of his relationship with his father. reminds me to spend some quality time with my father.

  2. Joseon says:

    That’s cool how you wanted your parents to live closer to you. Blessings to you and your parents on the move.

  3. Wayne Park says:

    great articles; congrats on parents moving up.. I’ve been trying to get my parents out here, too..

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One Day’s Wages

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These are crazy, turbulent times. Fight the good fight. Run the race set before us.

But we also need you for the long haul. Don't burn out. Discipleship and justice work is a marathon. Learn to take care of yourself. Don't play the victim. It's far too tempting to blame others. Be rooted in prayer, Scripture, and community. It's okay to pause, critical to rest and retreat, and godly to practice Sabbath.

#NoteToSelf Everyone loves the idea of  reconciliation...until it involves truthtelling, confessing, repenting, dismantling, forgiving, and peacemaking. Charlottesville. So heartbreaking and infuriating. We weep and mourn over the hatred in the hearts of these white nationalists. We weep and mourn but we can't be defeated.

As I stare at this photo that's making its round on the internet, I'm reminded of the utter importance of showing up. I'm grateful for the news media, law enforcement, clergy, and peaceful protesters that are currently there to report, protect, pray, and protest.

And this is an invitation to us. May we not be mere bystanders. May we keep pressing forward. Seek justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly. Commit to truth-telling, justice, reconciliation, peacemaking. Follow the ways of Christ. Every day. And it's important to note that we don't have to go to Charlottesville to do this. In fact, it's more important that we do this exactly where we're at. May we live out the call to reconciliation in our churches, workplaces, neighborhoods, schools, and around our dining tables. Lord, may it be so... We don't have to go to Charlottesville to do this. We have to do this wherever were called to be.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. /// Thanks to those who let me know that the photo wasn't actually from today but rather from last month in Charlottesville. - https://www.facebook.com/FrankSomervilleKTVU/posts/1551137301616258:0 Grateful for a spontaneous, last minute trip with Minhee to my old stomping grounds - San Francisco. 48 hours of visiting this special city that I called home for so many years.

Pic 1: Went to the Cliff House restaurant where we got engaged about 21 years ago to make out. Oops, sorry, I meant...to reflect on God's faithfulness over these many years.

Pic 2: Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge because it's such an iconic place - with some of the most incredible views.

Pic 3: Enjoyed a glass of some Cabernet Sauvignon and pretended to be wine connoisseurs at a vineyard.

Pic 4: Had lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Sam Tung, which boasts some of the best chicken in the country. And of course, we ate at In-n-out.

Pic 5: And finally, celebrated with the good folks at @thefreedomstory where @onedayswages received their annual Freedom Award. What an honor.

Grateful. Thankful for this sabbatical. Breathe.

Show yourself some grace.

We can't do everything for everyone in every situation. Do what you can and do it with a joyful heart.

Amen A family that eats sushi together stays together.

Seriously, I don't ever remember eating so much as a teenager but these kids eat and eat and eat. Perhaps, the reason why this kid is pushing 6 feet tall. Grateful for a special treat with the family at @JaponessaSeattle.

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