Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tonsillitis and a case of Inadequacy

Today's blog music is again some Sleeping at Last, a song I feel like I need to take to heart these days: You Are Enough by Sleeping At Last. Whoops, already feeling weepy....Sorry, this one is more of a personal blog rather than a news update.

I've been sick.
For almost two weeks now, first a weird fever-y stomach thing that then morphed into an ear-throat-nose deal that I found out today from the doctor is Tonsillitis. No, don't worry, not the kind that requires surgery, but the kind that can turn into strep pretty quick, and felt like it was well on its way there.

Anyway, the visit to the doctors brought into focus another kind of sickness I've been suffering: Inadeqaucy. 부적임.Big time megacity.

Not feeling well physically kind of puts a lot of things into perspective, but can also give you usually unhelpful mix of self-pity and lots of time to think.

So far I've reflected quite extensively on the fact that I can't go on double dates with my boyfriend with getting a fever halfway through, I can't play sports well (especially ping pong),  I can't understand or speak Korean as well as I feel like I should,  I can't go to a Korean wedding without being ultra awkward greeting people, and I can't visit the doctor and have him suck the pus out of my throat without bursting into tears.

Yep, that happened at the doctor's this morning. Reaaalll classy. I was instantly embarassed, but the truth was, I was scared. I couldn't understand what the doctor was saying to me, and they moved so quickly I didn't know what was going on until suddenly there was a suction in my throat, poking at my sore tonsils. It hurt, and I gagged and out came the waterworks.

Surprisingly, I missed the U.S. a lot in that moment. I missed good old Mont Alto Family Practice and the physician's assistant telling me what they were planning on doing to me before they did it, and telling me why they were giving me a shot, and giving said shot in the arm instead of the butt (why is that necessary? as if I needed another reason to feel uncomfortable).

I think the excessive reaction was mostly a result of other pent up feelings of not feeling good enough: not strong enough, not experienced enough, not capable enough to handle what is needed to live here as a "foreigner" and an English teacher. I know my skin should be thicker, that I should be braver, that I should eat more kimchi, that I should be more interesting girlfriend, that I should be and do a lot of things I'm not currently. But the truth is, I'm not there yet. I need to grow more. I know it.

But I also don't need to let the awareness that I need to grow consume me and make me feel like I need to hide away like a tulip bulb until I'm 'ready' to come out. Reality is that we need to be growing our entire lives. We're never 'done.' We're always growing with God, and we're never adaquate without him. There isn't really a timeline of how 'done' we ought to be at a certain point either. There is no official manual that has a chapter labeled "What You Should Be Able To Handle After Living In Korea For Almost 10 Months." No one is evaluating my progress and judging my worth as a person based on it. No one is writing me a report card circling the numbers in each category and deciding whether I'm behind or not.

Oh yeah, except for me.
And I need to quit it.

So it's ok that I suck at ping pong. It's ok that I think some kimchi is too sour and is gross. It's ok that I can never remember the name of my favorite sauce in Korean and can't understand the doctor. It's ok that I baked those jammy scones a little longer than I should have. It's ok that I am a little boring and talk too much about books to Yoonseo. It's ok. I'm enough. I'm still growing with Jesus, but with him-- I'm enough.

“you are enough.”
these little words, somehow they’re changing us.
“you are enough.”
so we let our shadows fall away like dust.

when we grew up,
our shadows grew up too.
but they’re just old ghosts
that we grow attached to.
the tragic flaw is that they hide the truth

that you’re enough.
I promise you’re enough.
I promise you’re enough, I promise you.


  1. Hey, I miss you a lot.
    This mostly made me cry a lot, because I'm having a lot of awkward feels here, mostly in how to be a Christian here.
    I love you.

  2. oh Abby! Most of me is super-proud of you, and the other part of me wishes I was in your part of the world so i could take care of you while you're sick. It's the worst thing to be sick when you're away from home. love you!

  3. Abby, I can relate so much. I feel like I've wasted about 50 years feeling that I'm not enough; always striving. I don't know if it was "wasted"... but let's just say I'm a slow learner! Once you finally arrive at being adequate, (like me, haha), you find that it's not all it's cracked up to be.
    Truth be told, inadequate is not a bad place to be, for me. It's where Jesus comes the closest to me! (Think, eye to eye!) He's taken me thru some deep, dark waters to prove to me the extent of my inadequacy... and the extent of his unrelenting love. He loves me. Period. Doesn't depend on anything I do. Doesn't depend on anything I don't do. He loves me! The day I finally got it, that was the day my love relationship with Jesus reeaallly began to blossom!

    Journey on, friend. I love you!