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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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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