September and October 2016 in Review
[I originally wrote this a week and a half ago, then came back and did a little bit of editing, so if verb tenses come off a little strange, that’s what happened.]
I suddenly have a lot to talk about and a lot of time to talk about it!
A lot of time because I’ve taken the whole week off as I’m recovering from an ankle injury that happened a week ago playing basketball.
A lot to talk about because we recently moved into a new house in South Seattle (Rainier Valley, to be more exact) and a few other changes/learnings in how my Christian walk has been going.
As for the new house, I’m pleasantly surprised about all of it. I’m surprised it happened at all, because I have historically been terrible about having long-term goals, especially financial ones, and it took me a fair bit of cajoling from Suzi and help from Chris to actually pursue it. I’m surprised we moved to South Seattle because there was some talk about going to North Seattle or to Factoria at some point and there were points when Suzi and I didn’t agree with where we should look. Two years ago, I had started thinking about moving into South Seattle to be closer to our church community and to be able to play a more active role in one of my Sunday school student’s lives. I remember praying about it back then in a Top Pot donut shop, and I remember a pretty influential conversation with some friends in Oakland one Sunday afternoon at a Korean restaurant. Living closer to our church body was the main impetus, to be able to share life on a more daily basis. Another reason was us trying to take a step towards living in a more diverse neighborhood. In Redmond, it’s easy to start thinking that everyone is white or Asian, works in tech, lives financially comfortable lives, and enjoys highly regarded jobs. It’s easy to stop thinking clearly and to become insulated from the real world.
One thing that confused me was figuring out how large of a house to get. I really couldn’t gauge how much space would be enough space and if we needed to find a house we could grow a family in. Somehow, we ended up looking at a place that had 4 rooms in it. We ended up getting it. [We had made one other offer on a house in Columbia City where we ended up getting outbid by 60 or 70k, if I remember correctly.] Suzi’s sister was already planning on coming to stay with us. We realized one of our friends from church needed housing while they finished up school. We offered them a room. They agreed! Then another one of our friends needed a place to stay. And moved in. The new house wasn’t even ready, the five of us were all living in our two room condo in Redmond until it was finished. [Now, everyone finally has their own room.]
This has probably been one of the most fun times in my life. I’ve had a lot of memorable conversations already. The first few weeks provided some challenging adjustments, like realizing when I went home, there’d still be a lot of people hanging out, but I’m pretty happy now. We actually hang out a lot, something I didn’t really do with my college roommates, even though all of us went to church together on Sunday morning and campus fellowships twice a week. We eat dinner together more often than not. We’ve stayed up until like 2am talking about God. We’ve read the Bible together and regularly attend our church’s small group Bible study together.
Now, another family (maybe two!) from our church body is even moving closer to us! We’re some 3 blocks away from one another.
I’d like to think this was always part of some master plan, because it feels like everything worked out well, but that would be a huge lie. I watched it all just sorta fortuitously fall together.
[Another advantage of the living situation is that it strangely generated a lot of momentum for our church’s small group Bible study. We’ve really been enjoying the time together and have been having good conversations and I think part of the joy is this feeling that we’re part of one another’s lives.]
The other big thing that happened in these last two months was reconciling with some good friends from church. I had had some conflict and tension in the past that I didn’t resolve and it honestly really affected me, much more than I thought it would. A lot of ugliness came out and it really affected my proximity to God and to my church since I wasn’t able to connect with people as freely as I had before. It was pretty detrimental over time and I stopped being myself. A few friends encouraged me to make things right and I think God was working on both my heart and the people with whom I had tension. I had some good transparent conversations over those next two weeks and immediately felt a difference. I felt ten pounds lighter. It’s helped me get my head back on straight, regain the support of friends, and be able to pursue God without sins of bitterness and unforgiveness holding me back.
If you have had a falling out with someone, let me encourage you to consider how it affects your thoughts and attitude, even if it never manifests in actions.
Then there were a bunch of other smaller things. I started helping a lot more with an open source project at work called Draft.js, a rich text editor built on top of React and Immutable. I’m actually pretty excited to be doing that. I made some good progress on the project I’ve been working on at work, and something my team’s been working on was recently announced and got some good press coverage.
I’ve been having a good time playing basketball with the guys from church in the Christian Sports League we’re a part of. Out of 8 regular season games, we had 3 go to overtime and 2 come down to the last 90 seconds or so. In my last game, we were down by like 20 and I chased someone down from behind for a block - the sweetest block of my life - but landed with my heel on the floor and the rest of my foot on a wall. It was about five days until I went to the doctor, who told me I needed to get a cast on it as soon as possible. When I went for a cast, I was told I should have surgery instead so that the fracture didn’t heal improperly. [As of the original writing of this post,] I just had surgery earlier, which is why I’m off of work for the rest of the week.
Chris lent me Insanity of God by Nik Ripken, which I’d recommend to anyone (though the latter half was more engaging for me than the first). I should finish it this week. It’s about a missionary from Kentucky who went to Somaliland in the midst of their civil war, helping out with the UN intervention, but ultimately unable to see anyone believe in Jesus in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. At one point, he shares communion with three other Somali believers in Mogadishu, all of whom are killed months later. Ripken leaves Africa after the death of one of their sons and later embarks on an interview campaign through oppressed countries around the world like Russia and China, collecting stories and writing about how Christianity has been able to stay alive and even flourish in the context of persecution.
It’s been very challenging for me to think about how I am compromising my faith in freedom, while others refuse to compromise in the face of oppression. It’s also very challenging to read about the faith of others and how closely they walk and talk with God. It has helped me to see that I don’t actually know and love God as much as I thought I did, and it often pales in comparison to that of others who are really fervently following Jesus.
I just finished 2 Samuel. I’ve been Rubik’s cubing more and more and slowly been getting faster at my first two layers, so I’m averaging around 40-45 seconds for a 3x3; my goal was to get down to 30 at some point. My cross has been getting better too, I’m still doing that 2 look OLL (I don’t think I’m going to learn a page full of algorithms, each that have like a 1/54 probability of showing up), and I’m missing a few of the PLL algorithms, which would help my average out a bit quickly.
Not really running anymore. Was at least hoping to do the Seattle half marathon, but that’s in a month, and I should be out until late December.