Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Christmas Story

This provides an example of the meaning of Christmas and shows the things we should do in our lives to honor Christ and his mission to save all mankind as well as the way God uses each of us to give some joy, love and gifts...

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible.. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity. Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what..

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me." The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood - the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?" You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I'd been by, but so what?

Yeah," I said, "Why?"
"I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt." That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. "What's in the little sack?" I asked. Shoes, they're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, some we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?" "Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?"

Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

"We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children - sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out.

"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said. He turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up." I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak.

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before, filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes..

Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will."

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

- The source of the story is unknown

Sunday, December 20, 2009


aus dem
Buch der Lieder von H. Heine

Song 1

Langsam, zart
Im wunderschönen Monat Mai,
als alle Knospen sprangen,
da ist in meinem Herzen
die Liebe aufgegangen.

Im wunderschönen Monat Mai,
als alle Vögel sangen,
da hab' ich ihr gestanden
mein Sehnen und Verlangen.

Poem I

Slow, tender
In the wonderfully fair month of May,
as all the flower-buds burst,
then in my heart
love arose.

In the wonderfully fair month of May,
as all the birds were singing,
then I confessed to her
my yearning and longing.

Song 2

Nicht schnell
Aus meinen Tränen sprießen
viel blühende Blumen hervor,
und meine Seufzer werden
ein Nachtigallenchor,

und wenn du mich lieb hast, Kindchen,
schenk' ich dir die Blumen all',
und vor deinem Fenster soll klingen
das Lied der Nachtigall.

Poem II

Not fast
From my tears spring
many blooming flowers forth,
and my sighs become
a nightingale choir,

and if you have love for me, child,
I'll give you all the flowers,
and before your window shall sound
the song of the nightingale.

Song 3

Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne,
die liebt' ich einst alle in Liebeswonne.
Ich lieb' sie nicht mehr, ich liebe alleine
die Kleine, die Feine, die Reine, die Eine;
sie selber, aller Liebe Bronne,
ist Rose und Lilie und Taube und Sonne.
Ich liebe alleine
die Kleine, die Feine, die Reine, die Eine!

Poem III

The rose, the lily, the dove, the sun,
I once loved them all in love's bliss.
I love them no more, I love only
the small, the fine, the pure, the one;
she herself, source of all love,
is rose and lily and dove and sun.
I love only
the small, the fine, the pure, the one!

Song 4

Wenn ich in deine Augen seh',
so schwindet all' mein Leid und Weh!
Doch wenn ich küsse deinen Mund,
so werd' ich ganz und gar gesund.

Wenn ich mich lehn' an deine Brust,
kommt's über mich wie Himmelslust,
doch wenn du sprichst: Ich liebe dich!
so muß ich weinen bitterlich.

Poem IV

When I look into your eyes,
then vanish all my sorrow and pain!
But when I kiss your mouth,
then I become wholly and completely healthy.

When I lean on your breast,
Heaven's delight comes over me,
but when you say, "I love you!"
then must I weep bitterly.

Song 5

Ich will meine Seele tauchen
in den Kelch der Lilie hinein,
die Lilie soll klingend hauchen
ein Lied von der Liebsten mein.

Das Lied soll schauern und beben
wie der Kuß von ihrem Mund',
den sie mir einst gegeben
in wunderbar süßer Stund'!

Poem VII

I want to plunge my soul
into the chalice of the lily,
the lily shall resoundingly exhale
a song of my beloved.

The song shall quiver and tremble
like the kiss from her mouth,
that she once gave me
in a wonderfully sweet hour!

Song 6

Ziemlich langsam
Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome,
da spiegelt sich in den Well'n
mit seinem großen Dome
das große, heilige Köln.

Im Dom da steht ein Bildniß
auf goldenem Leder gemalt.
In meines Lebens Wildniß
hat's freundlich hineingestrahlt.

Es schweben Blumen und Eng'lein
um unsre liebe Frau;
die Augen, die Lippen, die Wänglein,
die gleichen der Liebsten genau.

Poem XI

Quite slow
In the Rhine, in the holy stream,
there is mirrored in the waves,
with its great cathedral,
great holy Cologne.

In the cathedral, there stands an image
on golden leather painted.
Into my life's wilderness
it has shined in amicably.

There hover flowers and little angels
around our beloved Lady,
the eyes, the lips, the little cheeks,
they match my beloved's exactly.

Song 7

Nicht zu schnell
Ich grolle nicht, und wenn das Herz auch bricht,
ewig verlor'nes Lieb! Ich grolle nicht.
Wie du auch strahlst in Diamantenpracht,
es fällt kein Strahl in deines Herzens Nacht,

das weiß ich längst.
Ich grolle nicht, und wenn das Herz auch bricht.
Ich sah dich ja im Traume,
und sah die Nacht in deines Herzens Raume,
und sah die Schlang', die dir am Herzen frißt,
ich sah, mein Lieb, wie sehr du elend bist.
Ich grolle nicht.


Not too fast
I bear no grudge, even when my heart is breaking,
eternally lost love! I bear no grudge.
Even though you shine in diamond splendor,
there falls no light into your heart's night,
that I've known for a long time.

I bear no grudge, even when my heart is breaking.
I saw you, truly, in my dreams,
and saw the night in your heart's space,
and saw the serpent that feeds on your heart,
I saw, my love, how very miserable you are.
I bear no grudge.

Song 8

Und wüßten's die Blumen, die kleinen,
wie tief verwundet mein Herz,
sie würden mit mir weinen
zu heilen meinen Schmerz.

Und wüßten's die Nachtigallen,
wie ich so traurig und krank,
sie ließen fröhlich erschallen
erquickenden Gesang.

Und wüßten sie mein Wehe,
die goldenen Sternelein,
sie kämen aus ihrer Höhe,
und sprächen Trost mir ein.

Die alle können's nicht wissen,
nur Eine kennt meinen Schmerz;
sie hat ja selbst zerrissen,
zerrissen mir das Herz.


And if they knew it, the blooms, the little ones,
how deeply wounded my heart is,
they would weep with me
to heal my pain.

And if they knew it, the nightingales,
how I am so sad and sick,
they would loose the merry sound
of refreshing song.

And if they knew my pain,
the golden little stars,
they would descend from their heights
and would comfort me.

All of them cannot know it,
only one knows my pain,
she herself has indeed torn,
torn up my heart.

Song 9

Nicht zu rasch
Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen,
Trompeten schmettern darein.
Da tanzt wohl den Hochzeitreigen
die Herzallerliebste mein.

Das ist ein Klingen und Dröhnen,
ein Pauken und ein Schalmei'n;
dazwischen schluchzen und stöhnen
die lieblichen Engelein.

Poem XX

Not too swiftly
There is a fluting and fiddling,
and trumpets blasting in.
Surely, there dancing the wedding dance
is my dearest beloved.

There is a ringing and roaring
of drums and shawms,
amidst it sobbing and moaning
are dear little angels.

Song 10

Hör' ich das Liedchen klingen,
das einst die Liebste sang,
so will mir die Brust zerspringen
von wildem Schmerzendrang.

Es treibt mich ein dunkles Sehnen
hinauf zur Waldeshöh',
dort lös't sich auf in Tränen
mein übergroßes Weh'.

Poem XL

I hear the little song sounding
that my beloved once sang,
and my heart wants to shatter
from savage pain's pressure.

I am driven by a dark longing
up to the wooded heights,
there is dissolved in tears
my supremely great pain.

Song 11

Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen,
die hat einen Andern erwählt;
der Andre liebt' eine Andre,
und hat sich mit dieser vermählt.

Das Mädchen nimmt aus Ärger
den ersten besten Mann
der ihr in den Weg gelaufen;
der Jüngling ist übel dran.

Es ist eine alte Geschichte
doch bleibt sie immer neu;
und wem sie just passieret,
dem bricht das Herz entzwei.


A young man loves a girl,
who has chosen another man,
the other loves yet another
and has gotten married to that other.

The girl takes out of anger
the first, best man
who crosses her path;
the young man is badly off.

It is an old story
but remains eternally new,
and for him to whom it has just happened
it breaks his heart in two.

Song 12

Ziemlich langsam
Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen
geh' ich im Garten herum.
Es flüstern und sprechen die Blumen,
ich aber wandle stumm.

Es flüstern und sprechen die Blumen,
und schau'n mitleidig mich an:
Sei uns'rer Schwester nicht böse,
du trauriger, blasser Mann.


Quite slow
On a radiant summer morning
I go about in the garden.
There the flowers whisper and speak,
I however wander silently.

There the flowers whisper and speak,
and look sympathetically at me:
"Do not be angry with our sister,
you sad, pale man."

Song 13

Ich hab' im Traum geweinet.
Mir träumte, du lägest im Grab.
Ich wachte auf, und die Träne
floß noch von der Wange herab.

Ich hab' im Traum geweinet.
Mir träumt', du verließest mich.
Ich wachte auf, und ich weinte
noch lange bitterlich.

Ich hab' im Traum geweinet,
mir träumte, du wär'st mir noch gut.
Ich wachte auf, und noch immer
strömt meine Tränenflut.

Poem LVI

I have in my dreams wept.
I dreamed you lay in your grave.
I woke up and the tears
still flowed down from my cheeks.

I have in my dreams wept.
I dreamed you forsook me.
I woke up and I wept
very long and bitterly.

I have in my dreams wept,
I dreamed you still were good to me.
I woke up, and still now
streams my flood of tears.

Song 14

Ziemlich langsam
Allnächtlich im Traume seh' ich dich,
und sehe dich freundlich grüßen,
und lautaufweinend stürz' ich mich
zu deinen süßen Füßen.

Du siehest mich an wehmütiglich
und schüttelst das blonde Köpfchen;
aus deinen Augen schleichen sich
die Perlentränentröpfchen.

Du sagst mir heimlich ein leises Wort,
und gibst mir den Strauß von Zypressen.
Ich wache auf, und der Strauß ist fort,
und's Wort hab' ich vergessen.


Fairly slow
Every night in my dreams I see you,
and see your friendly greeting,
and loudly crying out, I throw myself
to your sweet feet.

You look at me wistfully
and shake your blond little head;
from your eyes steal forth
the little pearly teardrops.

You say to me secretly a soft word,
and give me a garland of cypress.
I wake up, and the garland is gone,
and the word I have forgotten.

Song 15

Aus alten Märchen winkt es
hervor mit weißer Hand,
da singt es und da klingt es
von einem Zauberland;

wo bunte Blumen blühen
im gold'nen Abendlicht,
und lieblich duftend glühen
mit bräutlichem Gesicht;

Und grüne Bäume singen
uralte Melodei'n,
die Lüfte heimlich klingen,
und Vögel schmettern drein;

Und Nebelbilder steigen
wohl aus der Erd' hervor,
und tanzen luft'gen Reigen
im wunderlichen Chor;

Und blaue Funken brennen
an jedem Blatt und Reis,
und rote Lichter rennen
im irren, wirren Kreis;

Und laute Quellen brechen
aus wildem Marmorstein,
und seltsam in den Bächen
strahlt fort der Widerschein.
Mit innigster Empfindung
Ach! könnt' ich dorthin kommen,
und dort mein Herz erfreu'n,
und aller Qual entnommen,
und frei und selig sein!

Ach! jenes Land der Wonne,
das seh' ich oft im Traum,
doch kommt die Morgensonne,
zerfließt's wie eitel Schaum.


From old fairy-tales it beckons
to me with a white hand,
there it sings and there it resounds
of a magic land,

where colorful flowers bloom
in the golden twilight,
and sweetly, fragrantly glow
with bride-like faces.

And green trees sing
primeval melodies,
the breezes secretly sound
and birds warble in them.

And misty images rise
indeed forth from the earth,
and dance airy reels
in fantastic chorus.

And blue sparks burn
on every leaf and twig,
and red lights run
in crazy, hazy rings.

And loud springs burst
out of wild marble stone,
and oddly in the brooks
shine forth the reflections.
With utmost sensitivity
Ah! If I could enter there
and there gladden my heart,
and all anguish taken away,
and be free and blessed!

Oh, that land of bliss,
I see it often in dreams,
but come the morning sun,
and it melts away like mere froth.

Song 16

Ziemlich langsam
Die alten, bösen Lieder,
die Träume bös' und arg,
die laßt uns jetzt begraben,
holt einen großen Sarg.

Hinein leg' ich gar manches,
doch sag' ich noch nicht was.
Der Sarg muß sein noch größer,
wie's Heidelberger Faß.

Und holt eine Totenbahre,
von Bretter fest und dick;
auch muß sie sein noch länger,
als wie zu Mainz die Brück'.

Und holt mir auch zwölf Riesen,
die müssen noch stärker sein
als wie der starke Christoph
im Dom zu Köln am Rhein.

Die sollen den Sarg forttragen,
und senken in's Meer hinab;
denn solchem großen Sarge
gebührt ein großes Grab.

Wißt ihr warum der Sarg wohl
so groß und schwer mag sein?
Ich senkt' auch meine Liebe
Und meinen Schmerz hinein.

Poem LXV

Quite slow
The old, angry songs,
the dreams angry and wicked,
let us now bury them,
fetch a great coffin.

In it I will lay very many things,
though I shall not yet say what.
The coffin must be even larger
than the Heidelberg Tun.

And fetch a death-bier,
of boards firm and thick,
they also must be even longer
than Mainz's great bridge.

And fetch me also twelve giants,
who must be yet mightier
than mighty St. Christopher
in the Cathedral of Cologne on the Rhine.

They shall carry the coffin away,
and sink it down into the sea,
for such a great coffin
deserves a great grave.

How could the coffin
be so large and heavy?
I would also sink my love
with my pain in it.

Horowitz and Fischer-Diskau play Schumann Dichterliebe,Op.48 (1/3) ♫

Friday, December 18, 2009

Marian Anderson- Élégie

Marian Anderson got her start by scrubbing floors for ten cents an hour so that she could buy a pawnshop violin. The church she attended recognized her rare talent and raised money for a professional voice teacher to work with her. When the teacher pronounced her ready, she went to New York where critics crucified her. She returned home to regroup. Her mother and her church encouraged her and paid for more lessons.

Because of the intense racial prejudice in America, she went to Europe and took the continent by storm. She came back to America and sang at the Lincoln Memorial with more than 60,000 people in attendance. She sang "O Mia Fernando," "Ave Maria," "Gospel Train," and "My Soul Is Anchored in the Lord," among other songs...

Marian Anderson- Élégie (Massenet). ♫

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Verklarte Nacht, Op. 4 ("Transfigured Night", 1899), a string sextet in one movement

Dehmel's powerful poem is about a man and a woman walking through a dark forest on a moonlit night, wherein the woman shares a dark secret with her new lover; she bears the child of a stranger. The mood of Dehmel's poem is reflected throughout the composition in five sections, beginning with the sadness of the woman's confession; a neutral interlude wherein the man reflects upon the confession; and a finale, the man's bright acceptance (and forgiveness) of the woman: O sieh, wie klar das Weltall schimmert! Es ist ein Glanz um Alles her (see how brightly the universe gleams! There is a radiance on everything).
Two people are walking through a bare, cold wood;
the moon keeps pace with them and draws their gaze.
The moon moves along above tall oak trees,
there is no wisp of cloud to obscure the radiance
to which the black, jagged tips reach up.
A woman's voice speaks:

"I am carrying a child, and not by you.
I am walking here with you in a state of sin.
I have offended grievously against myself.
I despaired of happiness,
and yet I still felt a grievous longing
for life's fullness, for a mother's joys
and duties; and so I sinned,
and so I yielded, shuddering, my sex
to the embrace of a stranger,
and even thought myself blessed.
Now life has taken its revenge,
and I have met you, met you."

She walks on, stumbling.
She looks up; the moon keeps pace.
Her dark gaze drowns in light.
A man's voice speaks:

"Do not let the child you have conceived
be a burden on your soul.
Look, how brightly the universe shines!
Splendour falls on everything around,
you are voyaging with me on a cold sea,
but there is the glow of an inner warmth
from you in me, from me in you.
That warmth will transfigure the stranger's child,
and you bear it me, begot by me.
You have transfused me with splendour,
you have made a child of me."

He puts an arm about her strong hips.
Their breath embraces in the air.
Two people walk on through the high, bright night.

(Translation: Mary Whittall)

Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht (Transfigured Night) – Karajan ♫

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 I didn't ask back; whether they were going to continue to live in Seoul.

Just returned back from Seoul;
if correct that was my second visit in this year.
As time goes by Seoul gets further and further from me.
Namdaemoon, Kwanghwamoon and Buk'ahyun-dong for late nights out
with my friends of twenty or so; after a long while since our last meeting.
Children grew up and some of us had to stretch out to read texts in the phone.
Most of us remained doing same things for living
and some had to change jobs.
Dawn rose;
we had coffee in a cafe nearby Hong'ik University,
in which was crowded with young people.
Seoul wasn't my town any longer although things there were still so much familiar.
Some of my friends cautiously asked me whether I was going to continue to stay where I am living now.
I didn't ask back; whether they were going to continue to live in Seoul.

Written by on 15/12/2009
Translated by Aejin Song

Monday, December 14, 2009

6 pairs of socks

I just talked to my Mom on the phone. Her voice was bright with happiness. You sound happy, I said. Her answer was; it's because my lovely daughter phoned. She talked about what she did with one of the chocolate boxes I gave her last week when I visited her in Seoul. She was happy that she could give things to people. I am happy for her too.

And again she talked about 6 pairs of socks I gave her; Some time ago she talked about the socks she bought and lost right after she bought them. She talked about how nicely they were made and how expensive they were which cost around KRW2000.- Yes, my parents wouldn't spend money on those expensive socks. Listening to her I remembered that I had some pair of socks for golf I bought some time ago. Those were kept unused for a long while as I don't play golf any more. I brought those 6 pairs of socks to Seoul and gave them to her. She was so happy with those socks that she displayed them well and kept looking at them even during my stay in Seoul. During the conversation with me today on the telephone she didn't forget to mention them again. She said that she counted them to check whether she lost any of them.

It's just nice to talk with my Mom and Dad and to feel their love to me.

Being, Not Becoming

The Tibetan Buddhist tradition defines renunciation as accepting what comes into our lives and letting go of what leaves our lives. To renounce in this sense is to come into a state of simple being. We have a moment of seeing, a moment of hearing, tasting, touching, smelling, thinking—just a moment, and then it is gone. When we look very carefully, we see that our experience is like a cascade of impressions. If we rely upon any one of these transiencies for a sense of permanent satisfaction, we lose the happiness of simply being. Just imagine for a moment the stillness and peace of not leaning forward even for the next breath. This is being, rather than becoming, and this is the power and fullness of metta.

-Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A thought

On Friday 27th November 2009, @creationchord said:

It started with Brahms Violin Concerto. The thought of my Mom and Dad occupied me the whole morning. They were the first ski couple in Korea. In 1960s they skied in Korea where there barely were skis let alone no ski resort meaning no ski lifts. They drove hours to the east coast, climbed the mountain carrying their skis and boots and they skied down. My Mom couldn't understand why she should carry those things for so long only to come down in a few minutes. But she followed my father. Really... no wonder they still hold their hands when they go out. They are known to be always together in their neighborhood. Somebody once mentioned that they only get separated when they go to the public bathrooms. A joke, but it tells about them. Nothing comes out of nothing. Everything costs huge effort in life. Often I think of what my Mom told me. "I didn't know why I had to climb the mountain carrying skis only to come down so quickly. It was a fun to him. It wasn't a fun to me at all. But I did it. I enjoyed being his company."

Short: | Posted from Twitlonger

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One pupil one teacher

토지초등학교 연곡분교장 1학년 김찬서.
1학년은 찬서 한 명이다.

To'Ji Primary School, Yun'gok Branch School, 1st Grade Chan-Seo KIM
He is the only pupil at the first grade of this school

Received from

Some day, when my being Mom is somehow done, I may be able to be like this teacher?! It will be beautiful if I can be more useful.... Just a thought. /Aejin

Saturday, October 24, 2009

First Flight


This painting is what we got at the Corvallis Fall Fair on the last day of my last visit in September 2009. I took it with me to Hong Kong and is sitting on Albert's desk waiting for Albert... We will remember the day we bought it.
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Monday, October 5, 2009

A memory from Okinawa: Albert and Me


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Albert in Okinawa

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Hot, wasn't it?
It was a beautiful trip, because we had US!

Friday, September 25, 2009

20090925 Covallis, Oregon

It's Corvallis; my Albert came to see me saying that he was very tired. He got TB vaccine, obviously that made him exhausted. We had lunch at Yum something, a Mexican restaurant, our usual bowl, then we came back to my little place. He slept; I watched him sleeping the whole afternoon. Yes, we could have walked around instead, but how often would I see him sleeping in my bed. I enjoyed watching him sleeping; it was good. At around 7pm I woke him up to go for dinner; we had bruto at the Mexican grill, it was good too. Then we held our hands together and walked to my place, picked up his comforter which was washed by Jillian, and walked to his place; there we met two Korean boys whom he made acquaintance last few days. One boy called JaeKwan Seo seemed more open while the other boy called Jeonghoon Hwang seemed rather reserved. Albert will find his way; he will... I am glad that I came with him and get to stay with him here in Corvallis for a few days this time. Let's not worry; let's live.. Remember, life is all about breathing. Nothing matters.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The second night in Corvallis

Well, tired. Walked a lot, though not much done. It's a beautiful place to walk. Since I love walking, especially trees around, this is heaven. Albert's cell is done. My cell here is done. Albert had some sort of meeting at 6pm, but called me around 7:30ish... I think, to tell me that we could have dinner together. That was very nice of him. A lovable kid. So we went out for dinner and ended up with a mexican take out; the shop was about to close. We had a Korean style - no table, so we had to sit on the floor - Mexican dinner. It was good.

Albert looked tired. Hmmm... it's not going to be too easy for him. Being away from home and furthermore being away from all sorts of caretakers; he will have to do all sorts of things by himself. Life started.

I guess, he will be all right. He will learn to be tough. He will learn to think of his life seriously. Yet, I feel aching. Aching to see him weak and 'scared'. I hope it's just being mummy me. He will be all right, Aejin.

Be strong, Albert! Mom loves you!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Farmer: A letter from

한 농부님을 만났다.
짧은 만남이었지만
만나고 싶었던 바로 '그 농부'였다.
돌아오는 길에 확신했다.
오늘 나는 보석을 발견했다고.
시간을 두고
그에 대한 이야기를 찾아 갈 것이다.
2009년 8월 19일 보낸 편지

I met a farmer.
It was a short encounter,
but he was the farmer whom I'd always wanted to meet.
And I was certain, on my way back home,
that I discovered a jewel.

Taking my time
I shall call on him for his stories.

A letter from
Translated by Aejin Song

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rest in natural great peace

When I meditate, I am always inspired by this poem by Nyoshul Khenpo:

Rest in natural great peace
This exhausted mind
Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thought,
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.

Rest in natural great peace.

Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible. Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self, release all grasping, and relax into your true nature. Think of your ordinary emotional, thought-ridden self as a block of ice or a slab of butter left out in the sun. If you are feeling hard and cold, let this aggression melt away in the sunlight of your meditation. Let peace work on you and enable you to gather your scattered mind into the mindfulness of Calm Abiding, and awaken in you the awareness and insight of Clear Seeing. And you will find all your negativity disarmed, your aggression dissolved, and your confusion evaporating slowly like mist into the vast and stainless sky of your absolute nature.

–Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying (HarperSanFrancisco)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Remedy for FearOne

One of the methods for working on our deepest fears is to consider that they have been produced by our past actions. Then, depending on whether the object of your fear is emotional suffering or physical pain, examine it well and ask yourself whether there is any remedy for it. If there is, why be afraid? If there is nothing you can do, then there is even less point in worrying about it. There is also another approach, which entails looking for the person who is afraid. Look at the nature of yourself. Where is it?

–His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV, from The Dalai Lama's Little Book on Inner Peace (Element)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Not Knowing

Zen Master Jizo said that “not knowing is the most intimate thing.” Not knowing means to be open to all eventualities, to not prejudge a person or situation. If your mind is full of preconceived notions, there is no room for an unbiased view. It is like when your hands are full of objects—you cannot pick up anything new. A closed mind causes separation and suspicion. Like an umbrella, a mind is only useful when it is open.

From "Zen in the Workplace: Approaches to Mindful Management," Tricycle, Summer 1996

Sunday, July 5, 2009

You Have What You Need

One definition of an enlightened person is one who always has everything they need. At every moment what they need is there; they're not seeking anything. If you really are seriously practicing to be free and to simultaneously realize enlightenment, you never seek out of the immediate situation, no matter how bad it is. You transform the immediate situation into what you need.

Richard Baker Roshi. From 'The Roundtable: Help or Hindrance' (Tricycle Fall 1996)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tangled Together

The roots of all living things are tied together. Deep in the ground of being, they tangle and embrace. This understanding is expressed in the term nonduality. If we look deeply, we find that we do not have a separate self-identity, a self that does not include sun and wind, earth and water, creatures and plants, and one another.

Joan Halifax Roshi, Essential Zen (Harper Collins)

Things As They Are

"Dharma, the truth of things-as-they-are, acts upon us to help us awaken to liberation. Dharma isn't a person; it isn't a being to be supplicated to. It's just the way things work, the reality of the universe unfolding as a process in time. The Buddha discovered and taught about a portion of this universe, and science can reveal a portion too, as can any contemplation or activity that accords with the way things actually are.... This is deep trust in the Dharma.

Jeff Wilson, Buddhism of the Heart (Wisdom Publications)"

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Cultivating Mindfulness

We can practice developing mindfulness—and other skillful qualities—at any moment in our lives, but setting aside specific time to cultivate it is extremely effective. Many people have found that unless they reserve such time, it is difficult—especially in the beginning—to develop this quality.

Cultivating mindfulness through meditation is like cultivating physical fitness. You go to the gym, where you exercise in order to strengthen and train your body, so that you will be strong no matter where you are. In the same way, you can create particular spaces and times in your life to train in mindfulness. At the gym, when you are training your body, that is the only thing you are doing—you are not driving a car or reading or eating. The same is true for awakening and strengthening mindfulness meditation.

–Arinna Weisman and Jean Smith, The Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness Meditation (Bell Tower)

When a person has thorougly understood the world...

"The Buddha said: 'When a person has thoroughly understood the world, from top to bottom, when there is nothing in the world that agitates him anymore, then he has become somebody who is free from confusion and fears and tremblings and the longings of desire. He has gone beyond getting old and beyond birth and death.'
- Sutta Nipata"

Monday, June 29, 2009

Appreciating Ourselves and Taking Responsibility for Ourselves

A great deal of chaos in the world occurs because people don't appreciate themselves. Having never developed sympathy or gentleness toward themselves, they cannot experience harmony or peace within themselves, and therefore, what they project to others is also inharmonious and confused. Instead of appreciating our lives, we often take our existence for granted or we find it depressing and burdensome.

People threaten to commit suicide because they aren't getting what they think, they deserve out of life. They blackmail others with the threat of suicide, saying that they will kill themselves if certain things don't change. Certainly we should take our lives seriously, but that doesn't mean driving ourselves to the brink of disaster by complaining about our problems or holding a grudge against the world. We have to accept personal responsibility for uplifting our lives.

–Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Sanity We Are Born WIth (Shambhala Publications)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Plant Seeds of Compassion

The mind is like a fertile field. If we contaminate it with the poisons of ignorance, desire, anger, jealousy, and pride, we will inevitably produce poisonous crops. Acting carelessly or harmfully toward others, or working for our own benefit at the expense of others, will only create limitation and suffering. Medicinal seeds—wholesome, virtuous acts of kindness, love, and compassion—will produce the fruits of peace and benefit. Actions that are both positive and negative will produce a mixture of happiness and sadness. This is the principle of karma. Karma originates in the mind. Our thoughts give rise to words and actions, and these have consequences. We cannot plant poisonous seeds and expect edible or medicinal fruit. When we begin to see the negative results of our self-centeredness, we understand why we must carefully choose which seeds to plant. Our future is in our own hands.

–Lama Shenpen Drolma, from Change of Heart: The Bodhisattva Peace Training of Chagdud Tulku (Padma)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When the body aches...

I voluntarily confine myself in bed. Aching in my whole body started without any clear reason. It's aching badly. Reason? Whatever it is, my body is reacting to it. Let aching be aching. I just have to let the body rest. Obviously it needs rest.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Faith and Questioning

Faith and Questioning

There is a paradox between great faith and great questioning. We need faith to anchor us and questioning to open us. With faith only, we might stagnate and become narrow-minded, with questioning only we might become disturbed and agitated. These two qualities balance and support each other.

–Martine Batchelor, from Principles of Zen (Thorsons)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Listening to Goldberg Variations

It's late; time for bed. I started listening to Bach's Goldberg Variations. I won't be able to finish it. It's a string ensemble version; quite different from the piano version. Yet it's Goldberg which starts with an aria and sings through 30 variations ending with the very aria which started the entire piece. I was ill for too long; so ill that I couldn't listen to the piece. Well, for how long I wasn't able to listen to music! Time passed. I still have lots of pieces that I dare not to start listening to them, but day by day I listen to more and more music. Reviving... My heart burn continues. It was quite serious today and that was to make me sad. I let the thought go; let the heart burn ache. It's okay to be painful. Let's feel the pain. Let pain be pain. I observe. Goldberg is still good to listen. It sings life. Good night and good day to you all.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mt Jiri

A photo received from
Mt Jiri must look like this these days.
It's april.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

at Ristorante Alfredo

Ristorante Alfredo
at Rockefeller Centre

In the last day evening of New York
on 11 April, 2009

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Be The MOMENT !!!

Many of us think that happiness is not possible in the present moment. Most of us believe that there are a few more conditions that need to be met before we can be happy. This is why we are sucked into the future and are not capable of being present in the here and now. This is why we step over many of the wonders of life.

–Thich Nhat Hanh, from Be Where You Are (Parallax Press)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring in Korea

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I see them from here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The golden-bell trees

The Forsythia, The Golden-bell trees bloomed in Korea
The photo received from
This was the cause of writting 'Don't be sad with what you don't have and be glad with what you have.' Be The Moment and I am able to see the golden-bells.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

While watching a drama

I was watching a TV drama. There is this girl, a professor of the Korean history; well brought up, properly mannered all around. She is going to marry into a family of having a very different life style; the father-in-law-to-be loves playing 'Go-Stop' which is a kind of Korean card game and he wants to play it with her after their marriage.

As soon as she hears about her father-in-law's wish, she starts to learn the game. While I was watching this part of drama I couldn't help thinking about 'being judgemental' again. I don't play the game. I don't think that I would enjoy playing the game at all. Yet I admired her willingness to learn the game to play it with the family she is marrying into.

On another occasion I heard a friend of mine saying to me on the telephone; you do whatever you like at your home, but you look what others do and try to do similar when you are outside.

I thought of the drama and at the same time what a friend of mine told me on the phone. 'I'. 'I' am everywhere.

I have to 'let go'. Yet even while I was watching a TV drama I clung to my thoughts.

Thoughts. Egoless Self. I.