Thursday, January 14, 2016

What Treasures On This Earth

Winter break = experimenting + composing with Finale. If you want to give it a listen, go here. I'm still figuring out how best to use the software, so bear with shortcomings (I have beef with Finale's cello sound haha).

1. What treasures on this Earth can compare to You?
Not gold, bronze, nor silver can greater light endue.
Why should I trust in this world where moth and rust corrupt?
Lord, give me Your vision to see the things that last.

** Cause whom do I have in heaven but You, oh Lord?
And whom do I desire besides You, my strength and portion?
Naked I come and naked I return unto You;
This world is not my home...

2. What treasures on this Earth can compare to You?
The deepest affections pale in Your love too.
Why should I trust in this world where delight will fade away?
Lord, give me Your wisdom to seek the things that stay.

3. What treasures on this Earth can compare to You?
All pride and ambition Your humble cross eschews.
Why should I trust in this world that toils both day and night?
Lord, give me Your courage to seek things that abide.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Falling into Grace; Springing into Trust

I think that I'm unfortunately (or fortunately?) getting less and less inclined to write long blogposts nowadays, so I'm going to keep this requisite end-of-semester reflection short. 

This semester has been one of my toughest and darkest ones yet, for several reasons - but it's also been one that has given me some of the greatest growth I've experienced in my entire life. Prior to this semester, I didn't quite realize that asking God for various qualities would often necessarily entail Him chucking me into awful situations that would enable Him to give me those very qualities that I had asked for in the first place... so I guess I learnt - and am continuing to learn - this the hard (but great!) way. 

This fall: I experienced the immensely freeing power of grace and forgiveness only by being hurt deeply; I found contentment in God only by being faced with my abject inadequacy; and I'm still learning to trust only as the result being thrown into terribly uncertain situations. In all these things, I can see how God is so, so capable of turning ashes into beauty - and how His strength is most evident in my hour of greatest weakness.

This spring: I don't quite know what to expect - some decisions have to be made, I suppose, and some wrestling with God might have to be done. 

In any case, agonizing fall's giving way to uncertain spring... yet in the deepest valleys, on the highest peaks, I know that He is good. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

In the Valley

In the daytime there are stars in heaven
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light

- In the Valley, Sovereign Grace -

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Rat Race

From the intro to Hobbes' Leviathan: "... much of [Hobbes'] analysis of [benevolence, good will, charity] is directed towards exposing the underlying reality and prevalence of ruthless self-seeking and self-presentation, of desires for power, success, acquisitions, and satisfactions that are wholly selfish and which are, moreover, insatiable. The normal human being will not only be actively seeking his or her own ends, but the activity will never bring repose. ... Life would be a 'race we must suppose to have no other goal, nor no other garland, but being foremost. And in it.' It will be a race in which 'Continually to out-go the next before is felicity. And to forsake the course is to die'."

This is such a fascinating, spot-on observation of the human condition - mankind is ever searching for something more, yet never finding true felicity or rest ever after "out-go[ing] the next"... because there is always another next after the initial next. Which then just brings to mind what Augustine writes in Confessions: "Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you."

Thursday, November 26, 2015

twinkling dark

and we're just like stars in the night sky: ever-present, yet ever-distant

Saturday, November 14, 2015


so much pain / so much darkness
yet could it be
that it is owing to all of this
- not despite all of this -
that grace is possible
that joy is possible
that love is possible?

Thursday, October 15, 2015


There are times when I feel that all I need is just a little bit of grace—grace to not be perfect, grace to not measure up to comparisons, grace to not be enough. But then the places where grace should theoretically abound are precisely the places where grace is so hard to come by. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Music Theory 101

I had the most random but interesting conversation with a music theory classmate yesterday - we basically agreed that different types of cadences are able to accurately reflect the different stages of our lives. On one level, one could think of cadences as actual musical representations of whatever it is one is going through at any given time (imagine having a live, customized movie soundtrack appropriate to your circumstances, playing in your head throughout the day). On another arguably more interesting and dorky level, though, one could also think of cadences as metaphors for life. The perfect authentic, for instance, is life at its swellest: everything falls into place and is resolved satisfyingly, leaving nothing else to be desired. The imperfect authentic are for those times things kind of fall into place - enough for one to consider all issues resolved, though not necessarily via the best solution possible. Some things may still seem to be missing, but one can make do without those. The deceptive cadence are those times when one harbors high expectations for something, only to have these expectations dramatically dashed. In other words, perhaps, you expect a vibrant I but get a heart-rending vi instead. I think that was as far as we got, because classes started - but I did think about a bunch of other cadences that might have worked well in our conversation. The half cadence, for example, is the story of my life: typically a I or IV (or really anything other than V), followed by a V - or in other words, the state of being left hanging in the balance.

Yet whatever the cadence, a couple of great things to note are that:
i. All cadences are important. Imagine a piece of music comprising solely of perfect authentic cadences: V-I-V-I-V-I - not incredibly exciting! It's the dips and crests that make music - and life - interesting and worth plowing through. 
ii. It's perfectly fine to be in a state of deceptive-cadence or half-cadence or any other unresolved cadence. Music theory rules dictate that no matter what twists and turns a piece may make, it will always return home to I. (Unless, of course, your life is a 20th-century piece of Bartok-inspired atonal music; then that would be a different - and quite fun - story altogether!)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Lights Out

Sitting on a ledge by a wide-open window overlooking the lawns and Butler and Lerner and Low in the twilight, having deep deep deep conversations about life and intellectual paradoxes and concerns of the heart, celebrating ten months of respective loads of shit with the fellow strugglebusser and sister: surely these - not the all-nighters, not the heavy class loads, not the suffocating deadlines - are the true Columbia days? 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

More Than

Everyday - fighting my most natural feelings and hopes and inclinations - I tell Jesus: I love You more. More than the things that make my heart radiate joy, more than the things that most tenderly capture my attention, more than the things I count dearest to me. I love You more, I love You more, I love You more - and I will rearrange my priorities, my loves, for You.