Eugene Cho

my greatest fear and joy

When you turn 40 years old, you’re not sure if you should be looking back or looking forward. I know in my head that it’s supposed to be both as both the past and the future are significant and meaningful

But in doing so, I’ve also learned that if I’m not wise and careful, I can be so immersed in the past or the future that I may miss out on the gift of the present.

In fact, one of my constant reminders to myself – especially as a father and husband is:

to be present…

One of my biggest fears is waking up one morning and realize that I’m on my physical death bed.  And as I reflect on my life, I have regrets about my family – particularly with my children.  Or simply, that it all went by so quick – and I missed it – or rather, I missed them growing up.

There are days like this week when I cannot believe how big my children are and how fast they are growing.  Minhee and I feel so privileged to be the parents to our three children.  And this past weekend, we celebrated our 2nd child’s birthday.  TC is now into double digits as she marks 10 years.

Oh.my.gosh.

My oldest child is now 5 years away from college.

Oh.my.gosh.er.

We obviously love all of our children but TC has a special place in our hearts because she was born at one of the lowest points of my life. We had left our previous church months ago with the conviction and call to plant a church but we had no idea how difficult the new year would be:

  • I was unemployed and had been looking for work for several months
  • we were financially broke
  • the kids were on foods stamps and the WIC program
  • I felt like a failure for letting down my wife and kids since I felt like I couldn’t provide for them
  • the job I eventually got was working as a custodian at a retail store
  • I had grown increasingly angry and frustrated about not being able to get Quest Church off the ground

Mostly, I was angry because I had “lost” control over my life.

When TC was born, it was like a “miraculous” birth.  She was born in about 4 minutes after Minhee laid on the hospital bed.  There were no drugs, no epidural, and no doctor.  She experienced sharp pain, pushed several times, and the next thing you know, the nurse and I – in panic and frenzy – saw the crown, then the body, and then Minhee and I cried like we’ve never cried before.  We sensed God speaking to us so intimately:

I love you.  I am with you.  I have not forgotten you.

Enough of my existential ponderings and looking back.  No need to live in fear but to live in joy, contentment and to enjoy God and all of life’s blessings in the here and now.

Thank you God for the gift of our children.  Minhee and I want to treasure, nurture, and enjoy them.

And be fully present in their lives.

Thank you, T, for the constant reminder you are to us of God’s grace…

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12 Responses

  1. Daniel says:

    Thanks for this. I really needed to read this today.

  2. Sejin says:

    Loved it. Your child is beautiful!

  3. Ian Ebright says:

    Dude. i really, really relate. this season you’ve shared- your down and out years, has stuck with me over time. it’s incredibly raw and moving Story, and it preaches effortlessly, as does this post.

    really beautiful.

  4. teresa says:

    Beautifully put! A certain little grandbaby reminds me of many of the same things….
    Thanks for a beautiful glimpse into your heart and your very fortunate family.

  5. Wayne Park says:

    tho my kids are smaller, I can relate to a LOT in this post, specially those bullet points. Must be why we’re kindred spirits

  6. Laurel says:

    Oh man. The second photo of T, with her hand on her hat, is about the cutest thing ever, and she looks so much like Minhee. Awesome.

  7. Jason says:

    My oldest recently turned 7, and I had some of the same reflections.

  8. bnhickory says:

    Thanks Eugene, we are feeling like we are amidst one of the hardest times for us. It is always so much more beautiful to talk about the hard times than to go through them. Knowing God is still there, helps us to move forward, even if its a little at a time.
    B&N

    • Eugene Cho says:

      B&N, i’m sorry to hear that you guys are going through one of those “hardest times.” if i had a private jet, i’d be there in a sec. we’re so proud of you and are continuing to lift you up in prayers in tanzania.

  9. Kathryn says:

    Very special, PE.

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One Day’s Wages

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Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

Join his campaign as he's inviting his fans to donate just $7. - http://onedayswages.org/jlin

Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

Did you know that every year of secondary school increases a girl’s future earning power by 20 percent.

Did you know that if all girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia had a secondary education, child marriage would fall by 64 percent.

We can't change the entire world but we can impact the lives of one, few, and in some cases...many.

#jeremylin #jlin #linsanity #onedayswages Don't be held captive to either praise or criticism.

Know who you are.
Know what you're about.
Know WHO you serve.

The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
In honor of Sahara...and so many other women who keep...keeping on. I have to remind myself of this every day...because I can forget every day:

Don't be lazy and make assumptions about people. Ask about their story. Then listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be human. Be a good neighbor. It's a sad reality but our society runs on the currency of fear. Don't feed into this frenzy.

Rather, invest in faith, hope, and love.

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