Eugene Cho

in the middle of nowhere for a retreat

After 8 days of complete isolation, I’m on my way back home to Seattle.  I’ve been away in the middle of nowhere which I’ll share more tomorrow or so.  It’ll be good to come back home…I’ve missed Minhee and the kids so much that it was driving me a little insane.  But it was also good to be completely isolated in this small town in the middle of nowhere.  No TV, no internet, no radio…nothing…minus two cheating incidents of “borrowing” some bandwidth outside a Quizno’s shop Dairy Queen to post the last blogpost and to tend to other matters.

I did a lot of thinking about the past and future, more thinking about my calling as a pastor, working on projects on a friend’s farm, praying, some reading, working on the poverty organization, and lots of this:

Being away in complete isolation reminded me of the SEVEN trips I took – ALONE – from one coast to the other in my early 20s.  I would get in my car and just drive for days and at times, weeks…alone.  I’ve always been an introvert…an introvert who’s since learned good social skills.  But corroborated by the fact that I was voted “the shyest person” in 6th or 7th grade, I have a place in my soul that just needs to retreat.

Any other introverts here?  How do you balance yourself?

Minhee was gracious to let me get away completely alone.  Something I haven’t done in years.  On my facebook status a week+ ago, I wrote that I was going where no Asian has gone before.  Apparently, I was wrong since the wikipedia page for this town shows that Asians comprise of .27%. 

Anybody want to guess where I was?  If I told you, don’t ruin the guessing game.

Filed under: family, religion

6 Responses

  1. Matt says:

    Eugene, that is one big fish. Largemouth bass, right?

  2. Pat says:

    Serious introvert here. As far on the I as an INFP can be :).

    I spend time in the mornings and evenings after everybody else is asleep, by myself. I often take lunches or a coffee break by myself. I put my headphones on for concentration, often with no music on but just headphones on my ears. I ride a motorcycle (no radio) :). And I think constantly about what it means to have the soul of a monk in the lifestyle of a suburban family guy who does software 🙂

  3. Sue says:

    Long walks is my balancing point. Helps me to unwind especially when I take them in the evenings.

  4. alliehope says:

    I hear you there, Pat. I feel kind of the same way–the soul of a nun in the body and life of a restaurant cashier (I’m a girl, so the monk thing kinda doesn’t apply). I love getting up and watching the sun rise, simply sitting quietly. I also use a lot of my train rides for meditation, and love journaling. That’s my retreat, taking time to write, since it separates me from everything else. Love it! (I guess introversion isn’t a bad thing sometimes!)

  5. Writing is an escape, retreating into my own headspace for a while with some tunes and a notebook.

    I also enjoy running and long walks.

  6. […] in love with nebraska As I shared earlier, I spent about 8 days in the middle of nowhere recently to cap my sabbatical.  Where did I go?  Because of some connections with family and […]

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One Day’s Wages

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41 years ago today, our family immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea. I was six years old; the youngest of three sons. My father, when he was also six, fled from what is now known as North Korea. Just recently, he shared with me that he and some of his family had been in a refugee camp when war and violence broke out on the Korean peninsula. It's emotional thinking about what my brothers and I went through coming to a completely foreign country. It wasn't easy. And then, I think about what my parents had to go through:

They fled their homes near Pyongyang which also meant leaving some of their extended families.

They experienced unfathomable hunger and poverty.

They experienced the pain of war.

They immigrated again to the United States as adults with minimal resources and a handful of English words.

All in hopes that their children would have the opportunities that were never afforded to them.

I'm thinking of my brothers today. I'm thinking of my parents and honoring them for their sacrifice and tenacity. And finally, I'm thinking of refugees and immigrants all around the world that are yearning for family, peace, hope, and opportunities. Don't reduce Martin Luther King Jr. to a yearly quote on social media. Live out the dream. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Confront evil. Be a truth-teller. Seek justice. Love mercy. Pursue reconciliation. Build bridges. Love your neighbors. Forgive your enemies. Pray unceasingly. Live a committed life of peace, love, and justice.

The God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today.

Be brave. "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.

Here's the full context of his famous quote: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." An important word for the Church... Oh, how God loves the nations. The Scriptures make this so clear. No one - let alone, the leader of a country - should ever disparage other nations with such a disgusting comment.

To the beautiful people of Haiti, El Salvador, and of the many countries of Africa: We are so sorry. Please accept our apologies on behalf of President Trump.

I've had the privilege of being in Haiti twice and numerous countries in Africa including Kenya where I took this picture during an afternoon drive near Kijabe. In many of these visits, I witnessed such creativity, courage, leadership, hospitality and kindness. To follow Jesus without obedience, repentance, self-denial, and dying to self is an oxymoron. In other words, are we more in love with the idea of following Jesus than actually following Jesus?

Grateful for an incredible Sunday at @seattlequest of beginning our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.

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