The Words of In Jin Moon from 2009
The following is a transcription of Rev. In Jin Moon’s sermon at Lovin' Life Ministries held at the Manhattan Center in New York City on June 14, 2009.
It’s a lovely Sunday, and I’m delighted to be sharing this Sunday worship with all of you. I’m sure, like many of you, when we go through the change of seasons, I like to look through old photographs and think about the memories that have been encapsulated into them. Last week was no exception. There I was in my library, going through some old photographs and old letters. I came across one photograph in particular, a picture of my youngest son, Paxton, when he was four years old. He had a habit of becoming our alarm clock in the morning. He would come into the room. He would not quietly knock and not quietly open our bedroom door. You would hear this “pow,” almost like a gunshot. Then the bedroom door would fling open, and there stood this tiny child, but looking very much like a little Napoleon, shouting the words, “Open the light. Open the light. Open the light.” Five o’clock, or sometimes four o’clock in the morning.
Of course we as parents love this little bundle of delight that we call Paxton, but at four or five in the morning? This little tiny voice would yell out into the void, “Open the light,” meaning he wanted us to turn on the light. But he didn’t know how to say, “Turn on the light.” So he said, “Open the light!” As if with a snap of the finger the whole universe would come alive and awake.
I remember in moments like that, when I was so tired and I really wanted that extra five or ten minutes of rest, I would look toward my husband and say, “Honey, open the light.” Then my husband would look at the child and then look at me and say, “Honey, could you open the light?”
Of course being a loving wife, or at least trying to be a loving wife early in the morning, I would go and open the lights. I would pick him up. The first thing the child would say to me once he got what he wanted (which was light in the room, which meant my husband also had to get up), was, “Oo-yoo, oo-yoo, oo-yoo, oo-yoo.” For those of you who don’t know Korean, oo-yoo means milk. But he also used to “yoo-oo” to refer to water.
So when he was quickly saying “oo-yoo, oo-yoo, oo-yoo, oo-yoo,” you had to figure out what the first syllable was. Was it oo, or was it yoo? When it’s four or five o’clock in the morning, it’s very difficult to distinguish the difference. So we had a very unhappy child if we couldn’t respond perfectly, because maybe that morning I understood the oo to be yoo. Sometimes I would get it right and sometimes I would get it wrong.
At moments like that I would have to close my eyes and remember a wonderful saying of the great thinker Reinhold Niebuhr, “Oh, Lord, grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This is how I usually started my day, when the little Napoleon Paxton came into the room.
In the course of the day, thinking how I can be a wise mother, a really good mother, a wonderful, loving mother, I’ve often thought about what Reinhold Niebuhr had said. As my father said in his speech that I shared with you on the monitor just a while back, the wonderful thing about the family is that we don’t really have a part in it, unless one goes through the process of adopting a child. Most of the time our families are picked for us by God. So this little Napoleon that came into my life came from God. And in our community, unlike most communities, we have arranged marriages, don’t we? So not only are our children arranged by God, but, for many of us, our spouses were picked by God as well.
I thought it was kind of interesting that Fox News sent out a News Alert awhile back that it is thinking about creating another reality program, something like Lost or Survivor, but a little bit more interesting, with a bit of a twist. They are talking about doing a show on arranged marriages. Basically there’s a woman who is blindfolded, and she has to pick the man, with the help of her family members, that she’s going to walk down the aisle with, still blindfolded. Then she can take a look at the man she chose only after she’s married.
Because I was looking at the pictures and reminiscing about the old days, I thought of the 1970s and the 1980s, when my father invited people from all over the world to come and join in this wonderful thing called the blessing, and encouraged individuals representing different cultures to enter into a cross-cultural marriage, bringing the cultures into a union sanctified and blessed by God. A lot of Americans thought that was weird.
As beautiful as the ritual and ceremony of the blessing is the media sensationally captured the scene of thousands and thousands of members getting blessed by Reverend Moon, the mystical figure that had all these couples stand up and say something really loud. They presented the image of everyone saying Mansei, which literally means 10,000 years of peace. So here we were as a community wishing each other 10,000 years of peace, while the rest of the world thought we were a bunch of crazies, pledging allegiance to our great leader, this strange man.
How interesting it is that here we are after several decades, and many of you young beautiful and handsome Americans have families of your own. Here are the American media wanting to tap into the topic of arranged marriages. It’s also interesting that our religion has been called a cult for many years. To this day, I know on many college campuses the freshman packets contain a list of groups that you must be careful of, and there we are, the Moonies, something to be afraid of and avoided. But then there I am walking somewhere in Times Square, and I see a little sign that says, “What’s your cult?” That’s something we’ve been called for many years, a pejorative term that’s not a wonderful thing to say to a member of our movement. But here is some advertising company taking this negative word and putting a new spin on it for the young people, asking them, “What’s your cult?” That means, brothers and sisters, your kids must be the hippest bunch in America.
When we look on our own families, we as parents want so much for our children, the things we never had. My father was imprisoned in North Korea; on the day of his scheduled execution the allied forces came and liberated him. So my father said, “I have to thank this country of America. It was the American soldiers that saved my life.” So when he brought his children over to America, one of the first things that he said to us was, “I cannot speak English. Please learn to speak English better than the American people so that you can truly feel the way they do, so you can truly understand them. Therefore, you can truly love and serve them.” This was what my father wanted for his children because it was an opportunity that he did not have.
I know that when a lot of immigrant families come to America, this land of dreams and opportunity, that is exactly the kind of heart those parents have for their children. Maybe some of them will come from Mexico only speaking Spanish, but the father and mother will drop the child off at school, praying and hoping that the child will learn to become a true American, really learning the language, really speaking the language from the heart, and also growing up to be someone who’s not only going to do wonderful things for his native country of Mexico but wonderful things as a citizen of this great country of America.
I as a parent am no different. I want my children to be better than me. I want them to have everything that I don’t have, and I want them to become ultimately great sons and daughters of God. So when I think about my own feelings for my children, and about my father’s wonderful feeling of love and care for all of us, for me, my mind always goes to God, our Heavenly Parent, and how much He must love us as His sons and daughters.
We ask ourselves the question, why did God create the universe? Why did God create us? Adam and Eve, sons and daughters. It’s because as great as God is, as omniscient and omnipresent and as all-powerful and all-knowing as He is, He also needed to feel love. He as the great subject, in order to feel love, needed a true object. Therefore He created the universe and all of us, His sons and daughters. Through us, His hope was not just to feel love but to realize love, to actualize love, to substantiate love.
So we have this incredible opportunity to build what I call an ideal family -- meaning “I deal” with my parents, “I deal” with my friends. Or maybe from a child’s point of view -- “I deal” with my sister, “I deal” with my brother. But all of this dealing, so to speak, is a way that we can truly learn to love each other, by practicing true love in the family. It’s only through understanding the true nature of the parent -- child relationship, understanding the true nature of the brother -- sister relationship, or the different relationships with aunts and uncles in the family that we become a polished, complete, perfect, or flawless individual.
As I’ve said often times, human beings are like pieces of coal. That coal, after many thousands of years of pressure deep in the earth’s core in the darkness, over time is transformed by the mystery of God into a beautiful, rough-cut diamond. Each and every human being is like a rough-cut diamond with an incredible potential for divinity.
So what are we given when we’re given a family? It’s given to us. The child has no choice of who his father or mother is. I have no choice of who my sister will be. And you have no choice of who your brother will be. Many times even within the same family everybody is so different. One person might be tall. Another person might be small. One person might take more space horizontally, and another person might be vertically not taking so much space. Some people are artistic, and others are intellectual. Some people are so heartistic, and some people are as cold as ice, logical like a computer.
In my family there are seven: my husband, me, and five children. Each of us is like a rough-cut diamond. God has put seven rough-cut diamonds into this wonderful group that is my family. As we practice creating harmony among each other, as we practice achieving a peaceful environment in the family, what we’re doing is actually practicing true love. As Reverend Sudo used to say, “tlue rub-uh,” [true love] with a Japanese accent.
In a family, what we’re doing in practicing true love, we are “tlue rubbing” each other. We are literally rubbing against each other. The logical against the heartistic, the intellectual against the spiritual, the angry versus the serene, the volcanic eruption (me) versus the placid lake (my mother). Rubbing each other in the context of this God-given family truly shapes us into good human beings.
As we work our way to becoming a perfect son or daughter of God so we can be the embodiment of perfection, or the perfect embodiment of the quality of true love, then we as mature human beings can one day have families of our own. When they’re perfected as embodiments of love, then one day my daughter will be a great mom and my sons will be great dads -- even though whenever I mention the word marriage to Paxton, he makes a face and says to me, “Mom, I’m never getting married.” I always remind him, “Do you know that in the Eastern world where mommy comes from there’s a saying, ‘It’s the one who says I never want to get married who always goes first’”? It would not surprise me if Paxton is the first one to marry in my family.
But it’s this constant rubbing against each other. Sometimes it’s difficult, right? It’s difficult even when we’re trying simple things as a child of God, even before we have families of our own, when we’re trying to perfect our character by practicing give-and-take relationships, learning how to be a giver and also a receiver, trying to overcome this very difficult task of mind over body, learning the importance of delayed gratification.
When I was a young girl, I was no exception. I remember one summer together with my mother. Usually in the summer my father, loving the ocean, would take the family to Gloucester or Provincetown and spend the whole summer on a boat with many of you. I’m sure you remember. We would be fishing for different types of fish, but my favorite and my dad’s favorite to catch was tuna. Many times I would stay home with my mother. But when my father got up at 4:30 to get ready to hit the open sea, it meant my mom had to get up at 4:30 in the morning, too.
In the late 1970s blow dryers and feathered haircuts were in vogue. As young teens, 12, 13, we tried the new hairstyles and the blow-dryers. My mother said, “You’re doing such a great job with your hair. Can you come and do my hair?” At first I felt complimented, so I said, “I would love to do that.” But because she got up at 4:30 in the morning that meant that I had to get up slightly earlier than 4:30 in the morning. So very quickly my enthusiasm turned into resentment. The first day I took my mother’s hair and diligently tried my best. But then the second day the diligence was wearing off.
By the third day I was thinking, “I have the whole summer ahead of me, I don’t know if I can get up at 4 in the morning every day to do my mother’s hair.” Being a precocious little thing, or so I thought, I didn’t want to be disrespectful to my mother. I didn’t want to say to her, “Mom, I don’t want to do your hair. I would like a little more rest.” I thought I was taking the more deferential approach, which was not saying anything. But perhaps I thought, maybe I can show through my body language that I wasn’t too keen on doing this.
So on the fifth day I said to myself, “Tomorrow when my mom asks me, I’m not going to say anything. I’m going to go to her room and start blow-drying her hair. But I wonder what she would do if I started pulling on it a little vigorously?” I thought, maybe this would be a nice way for her to get the idea and say, “Okay, you’re off the hook.”
So on the sixth day I showed up and quietly started drying her hair. Then I thought, this is getting really tedious, so I started brushing a little bit harder. I started pulling my mother’s hair harder, so much so that her head was going to the left, to the right. I thought, am I making my point clear? The amazing thing about my mother was, here she was watching me in the mirror, with her head being pulled back and forth, but she did not say a word. I finished and went back to my room and said, “What happened? I wasn’t successful. She didn’t say a word.”
My mom always says persistence is the way to go. So on the seventh day, there I was, and I thought, maybe a little more vigorous. Maybe a little bit harder on this side of the head. And the same thing happened. My mom was very quiet, intently looking at the mirror, but her head was being pulled back and forth. Once I pulled her hair so hard that the brush went, twang, and I had to go pick up the brush. But she did not say a word. I was not successful that day, either.
On the third day of my vigorous brushing I thought, maybe I need to do more than just the brushing. Maybe I should try bumping on the chair a little. I thought I was being deferential, finding another way to avoid the issue but show in different ways that I did not like to do this. On the third day I started brushing and also kneeing the chair my mother sat on. So not only was she being pulled this and that way, but you could see her jerking because I was kneeing the chair. It might seem funny, but I was deadly serious because I had a message to deliver and I was not being successful. I had a hard time practicing this mind over body thing because I could not overcome my sleepiness and tiredness, so I was looking for another way out.
The next day my mom didn’t say a word. But I felt so bad. Before I went back to my room I saw a silent film in my mind of my mom’s head bobbing to the left, to the right, to the back with a bit of a jerk. I was seeing my mother’s face, not saying a word. She didn’t say, “In Jin, what’s going on?”
Then I saw what I was doing and said to myself, “What are you doing, In Jin? Maybe if you don’t want to do this, it would be much better to go to your mother and say ‘I’m sorry, but I’m really tired.’” But then better yet, here was my mom always teaching me mind over body: “You want to play but you have responsibilities. You want to play but you have your studies to do. You want to play, but you also need to clean. So do the cleaning, do your responsibilities, do your studies, and then play.”
I was a young girl, hearing this constantly, trying my best to apply true love in my daily life, this understanding of delayed gratification. But when I was confronted with this task of doing my mother’s hair every morning, I just could not believe what I was becoming. I was becoming so blunt and so disrespectful with my actions.
On the fourth day I went back and said to myself, “I can’t do this any longer. I love my mom, I want to make her look beautiful for the day. It’s a great opportunity for me to have a part in my mom’s daily beauty regimen.” So instead of approaching the job resentfully or grudgingly, I decided to change the way I thought about it. Instead of it being a detriment to my life, I began to see it as something that could be a contribution not just to my life but also to my mom because when my mom is happy, I’m happy. When she’s beautiful, then I’m beautiful. If I can truly serve her in this simple way by sleeping a little bit less, then it’s my way of letting her know that I truly love her.
So I came into the room and started to do her hair. This time I did it better than the first day. I gave her all my love, all my attention to the little details. I wanted to show her by my body language that I was sorry for what I had done. The interesting thing about my mom was she did not say a word. So not only was I unsuccessful in trying to convey what I initially felt, but I thought maybe I was unsuccessful in truly conveying to my mother how much I loved her.
The next day I woke up: “Here we go, persistence. Let’s try a little bit longer.” The next day I tried my best. I even did a better job, I thought. But my mother didn’t say one word. Then the next day I did it again, and my mother didn’t say one word. And so on. I think we did like three weeks’ worth.
As a mother now, I understand my mother’s wisdom. She waited to see how I would do the first three weeks. She didn’t tell me that I did a good job after the first day of having a renewed understanding of my responsibilities as my mother’s caretaker. She waited for the providential number 21 days to finish. Then she looked at me and said, “Thank you, In Jin. You’re well on your way to becoming a mature young adult. I’m so proud of you.”
That just made my day and made my summer. The little challenge I faced, this difficulty of mind and body unity, was something that she wanted me to work out myself. As much as she loved me, as much as I love my children, there are things that they have to work out on their own, instead of the mother helping them to walk, if you will. Sooner or later the child has to walk by herself. In this instance my mom was teaching me to walk by myself, in seeing the adversity before me, this difficulty of getting up and doing my mother’s hair, but developing a profound enough heart to say, “I’m going to have mind and body unity and I’m going to do the right thing.”
Instead of my mom quickly rewarding me after a job well done, she taught me to be persistent. So I did not receive that immediate gratification of receiving that carrot or praise; she wanted me to walk alone to become somebody who embodies the quality of true love.
When I think about that little scuffle I had with my mother a long time go, I realize how incredibly wise she is. She knew all along that I needed some work done, but she had enough trust and faith in me to let me work it out. We do the most important job in the home, and I think my mom and dad have done a phenomenal job of teaching the children basic moral concepts -- the difference between right and wrong, the difference between good and bad. But if we really want our children to grow up and be responsible, take ownership of their own life, sometimes the parent also has to allow the child to walk alone in the belief that the child, who has been cared for and educated in the best way they know how, will do right.
It’s something that we as parents should think about because many times we think that being a parent means exercising control over our children. Sometimes, yes, it is discipline. I believe there’s a great deal of difference between control and discipline. But also there has to be a time when you as a parent realize that the child is growing up. You want the child to grow up into an independent human being, an independently thinking, walking, and talking human being. So the parent slowly recedes into more of a supportive role but so clear in the faith of having laid a good foundation of teaching what is proper and what is not so that the child will ultimately work things out.
So that was one way I was “tlue rubbing” with my mother, and in that way she helped polish the rough-cut diamond that I was. This was a relationship between a parent and child. But just as important is the relationship among sisters and brothers. I shared with you a while back a story about my younger sister [Un Jin Moon] that I grew up with, who was almost like a twin sister for me. When I was little, I had a great deal of difficulty when our father and mother asked us to do everything together. My sister had such mastery of cleaning the room into a museum-esque vision that my parents so loved to see that I always felt I fell short in comparison.
She could vacuum the carpet with no streaks, but somehow I always managed to vacuum with some parts dark and some parts light. She always managed to make the glass in her room sparkle like crystals. I always fell a little short. She had a knack of knowing exactly when our mother would come into the room to check, so she was prepared, whereas many times I wasn’t. When she was cleaning our shared room, all the cleaning agents ended up on my side of the room. So her side of the room was magnificent, and my side of the room was a pile of mess.
Whenever my sister started cleaning and vacuuming early in the morning, I would turn to look at her, and it was almost like seeing the opening scene of Sound of Music, when Julie Andrews comes out to the hills with her arms outstretched, ready to belt out, “The hills are alive.” See, my sister, knowing exactly when my mother would come, would start her cleaning session with her arms outstretched. It looked to me like she was going to belt out “The hills are alive” any moment. Because she had a history of getting me in trouble because my part of the room was always the dirtier of the two, I looked at her in not the best way, but in a sarcastic way. “Here she goes, putting on her wonderful apron and doing her Cinderella role, making the magic appear. Poof the dust would be gone, poof, the bed would be done, poof, the laundry would be folded and put away.” She was almost like an animated creature. All the while this vision of Julie Andrews would transform in my sarcastic vision into, “My ears are alive with the sound of Windex,” instead of “The hills are alive with the sound of music.”
I would hear the squeak, squeak, squeak of the Windex and would be so irritated. In my mind the song continued, “With happiness and joy she will clear the mess. It’s sensory overload with the sound of Hoover,” the vacuum cleaner. “Will she ever let me rest?” These were the words running through my mind.
I remember that my sister and I had really difficult times, and in a couple of instances I voiced my anger at her. I did not behave properly. But I had a sister like her and I had the mother that I did, who was always emphasizing patience, the virtue in letting this one pass -- “Whatever happened between the two of you, let this one pass. Is it so bad to ignore what just happened for the sake of love, for the sake of loving your sister? Just as you required some time to come to your own senses and walk the road as a mature young adult, can’t you give your sister that space, that time?”
As difficult as it was “tlue rubbing” with my sister, she was polishing my rough-cut diamond, too. She taught me the importance of patience, the importance of letting this one pass. She taught me the importance of not taking things too seriously. These are the lessons that can come only in a family.
There was another instance with my older brother [Hyo Jin Moon], a young teenager and an avid guitar player. My difficulty was that he always required an audience when he practiced, so he would call me, and it didn’t matter what I was doing. I had to come and kneel before him and be there for him when he was practicing. After he practiced he said, clap. After he finished a song, he would say, “Clap.” So there I was, doing what my brother asked me to do. In the beginning you do what your brother asks you to do, but over time you develop resentment, like, “What am I? A dog? A dog gets a biscuit. What do I get? I clap and I don’t get a biscuit.” You start feeling and thinking these things. What starts as a vision of unity, a younger sister supporting an older brother so he can go on to be a world-class guitarist -- which he became ultimately -- has you thinking, “Why is he taking away my time, my space? Why is he making me kneel? Why is he humiliating me?”
But again, because I was given this opportunity to rub against my brother, to have this experience, and to work out what I was feeling, watching my brother and clapping without getting a biscuit, I found that he was becoming phenomenally good. I started to realize that in order to become really good requires so much practice. It really takes dedication.
In one instance we were starting at 6 o’clock at night, and he proclaimed to me, the only audience in the room, that he was going to practice until midnight. I wondered to myself, can he really pull it off; can he really practice until midnight? But he did, with blood, sweat and tears. By the fifth or sixth hour, his fingers were bleeding but he just kept on going. That’s when I realized that in order to be a true virtuoso in anything, it does require blood, sweat and tears. It does require devotion, persistence, consistency. Instead of being resentful that my brother made me kneel and clap, I could think the other way around. I had a hand in my brother’s becoming a virtuoso. I had a hand in him being able to play music like the way we speak English or Korean, or whatever language we were born into. I had a hand in him being able to share this universal language of music with the world.
This family that I was given, this strange group of characters that I call my brothers and sisters and my father and mother, helped me become what I am. I’m hoping that I can help them become what they are. When you really think about it in that way, you realize the incredible wisdom of God, our Heavenly Parent, and our True Parents, Reverend and Mrs. Moon, who are constantly encouraging all of us to embrace different cultures, different races, different religions, because we are ultimately one family under God -- meaning we are all sons and daughters of God. We are all divine beings who are meant to manifest a brilliant light of divinity in the world with great confidence, dignity, and a spirit of truly loving each other as brothers and sisters.
This is the lesson that our Heavenly Parent wants us to learn. There is great wisdom in my father and mother inviting the different religions and races to come together in the holy matrimony of the blessing. When you invite all these different cultures and customs -- and the best part, the different foods -- into one family, then you have literally a small universe within your family. As you come to rub up against maybe an African American father with maybe a Finnish mother, both with their own set of customs, the children in their home will grow up seeing no color but the color of true love. They will not see black and white in a family that is joined in holy matrimony through the blessing. Someone coming from a Jewish tradition together with a spouse from the Islamic tradition will have children who will grow up seeing no religion. They will grow up seeing only love in their parents.
When this magic of two rubbing against each other takes place, each child as a magnificent vessel of God has the opportunity to work things out in order to become a perfect son and daughter. Perfect doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes. When we use the word perfection, we’re talking about the perfect embodiment of a quality, which is love. People ask me, “If Reverend Moon is a True Father and Mrs. Moon is a True Mother, do they ever slip and fall on the ice?” Absolutely. But does that mean that their perfect embodiment of a quality, which is true love, is any less? Absolutely not. That never changes; their quality as True Father and True Mother never changes.
It’s not the perfect little things we do, like entering a semicolon instead of a period when writing an essay. It’s not like that. It’s the quality of the person that makes him or her perfect. That’s what we see in our True Parents. They invite us into this wonderful thing called a family that we had no hand in, and God is giving us opportunities to work things out, to deal with the things that arise in the family. When we are successful in these issues in the family, then we will undoubtedly be ready for the world.
A child who grows up seeing no color will see no color once he or she goes outside the family to join society or the larger world. A child who grows up knowing no religion other than the virtues of true love and the importance of recognizing every human being as a true vessel of our Heavenly Parent will treat the worldwide family as his brothers and sisters. And children growing up in a multicultural home will not only learn to appreciate kimchi and maybe mix it together with spaghetti but, who knows, might become fantastic fusion cooks in the future. They will have an appreciation for the differences that color every aspect of our human experience and truly make it exciting.
Some have called this great country of America a salad bowl; others have called it a melting pot. I like to think of it as a family, a worldwide family. Where else in the world can you walk down the street, get a shot of double espresso at Starbucks, walk a little further and pick up an enchilada at a Mexican restaurant, then walk a little longer into the Italian section and get a gelato? Where else can you do that? Not very many places. But you can here in America, the country that God prepared to be the symbol of what God’s country should be, a country that truly lives up to its Founding Fathers’ belief in principles of honoring God, our Heavenly Parent. Where else in the world do you have “In God We Trust” printed on the money? Nowhere.
God is everywhere in America. So even as we’re spending that money, there should be an inner voice asking us, “How are you spending your money? What are you buying?” It’s in all these little ways that God reminds us to be responsible citizens: but not just citizens of this great country but also responsible people.
We’re given what I call the ultimate gift, a family. Then we have to ask ourselves, how should a family operate? I very much like to think of my immediate family, my five kids and my husband, as a team. A family should really operate like a team in that it should have a spirit of cooperation and a set of ground rules (a sports team cannot play in a game without a set of rules). And it should have a commitment to practice and a pledge to play fair. These qualities make a sports team -- football team, soccer team, field hockey team -- into a successful one. Every member of the family is crucial to the success of that team, meaning it doesn’t matter if you’re the left hand or the right hand; it doesn’t matter if you’re the left foot or the right foot; it doesn’t matter if you’re the mouth speaking out. It doesn’t matter if you represent the backbone. It’s what comes together as a whole that makes it truly unique; it’s how the team comes together that truly makes it effective.
We are trying to build men and women of character, or what I think of as men and women of integrity. Let’s think about the word integrity a little bit. If you study the root of the word, it comes from the Latin integrare, which means to make whole. When somebody is successfully integrated in society, that person has the ability to multitask, being extremely efficient and effective in managing his or her life to achieve that desired career success.
When we say somebody is a man and woman of integrity, what we are saying essentially is that he or she helps to make whole. In the context of a family you’re talking about making the family whole, or making it effective, or making it balanced. You’re talking about a family that is truly functioning, or in the youthful language, a team that’s “in the flow.” It just has that special vibe, that special something. The end goal is, how do we cooperate, how do we unite, how do we work together so Reverend Moon’s team or Reverend Anderson’s team out there can be effective.
I always believed that I’ve been given an incredible blessing. The blessing starts with the fact that I’m alive. When I think about how many people do not have the chance to enjoy life, I can’t help but be grateful. On top of that, I was given a wonderful family and wonderful brothers and sisters that helped me “tlue rub,” and helped me polish and make me into the person that I am today. I am not what I am today without my family.
When my husband thinks about the family and the team, his thoughts immediately go to Starship Enterprise. I think kids who have ability in math and science often end up being Trekkies. They love Captain Kirk, and my husband is no different. He knows every episode; he knows every line. When I got married I had to watch it too, meaning out of my love for him I had to try my best to understand the significance of Styrofoam rocks coming down the cliff. The props are not the most thrilling thing, but it’s the message. He was just so enthralled. He said, “Look, this is a starship representing all different races. Look at Sulu. You have not just races and cultures; you’re talking intergalactic. He went on and on. Every time there’s s Star Trek event anywhere remotely near our home, he knows about it. He’s trying all these different ways to take me. As politely as possible, I say, “You can take the kids, honey. I did watch the show with you.”
It’s amazing to see how much he loves Captain Kirk. I’ve thought about it, and now I understand why. He is a charismatic leader. He is very smart in that he provides the vision and the charisma, but he doesn’t do all the work. He has Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scott, Sulu, and all these other people working with him. It’s a great team. He knows how to delegate and how to give everyone space so they can effectively do their thing and come back to him with a report.
I think the real reason why my husband is such an avid fan of Captain Kirk is that he has the rare ability to woo women from every galaxy. All these alien beings wearing boots and miniskirts, with fantastic hairdos and perfect make-up. He has the ability to woo these women and have them fall head over heels in love with him. To my husband, growing up with his protractor, his pen capsule, his high-water pants, and his button-down oxfords, going to class with his really big, big glasses when he was 14 or 15, Captain Kirk must have looked really hot. It’s definitely something to aspire to, that man who can woo every alien in the galaxy. For me, watching it from a mother’s perspective, I’m thinking, “That’s a great team. I wish I could operate my family like that.”
Working here at the Manhattan Center, we meet a lot of celebrities. The ultimate icing on the cake for my husband was finally meeting not Captain Kirk but a new, improved version, a female version. Her name is Denise Crosby [Tasha Yar in Star Trek the Next Generation], and she plays the new captain. He had an opportunity to have dinner with her. He’s always wanted to say something to this captain, and she’s a very attractive person. Here we were at dinner, and I was wondering, will my husband have the nerve to actually ask Denise Crosby this question? I was waiting and waiting. There he is, enjoying his supper, talking about the Manhattan Center and different things.
He turned to her and said, “Denise, do you want to see my phaser?” He sat there for the longest time, and Denise just cracked up. She could not believe that he had the audacity to say, “Do you want to see my phaser? And not only did he not end it there, but he said, after she cracked up, “It’s set to stun.” That’s the first time I actually saw my husband as somebody courageous. That was just awesome. He won huge brownie points.
It’s interesting to see a Trekkie meet a star of the show that he grew up on and loved. He always tells me it was much more fun asking Denise, “Do you want to see my phaser?” as opposed to Captain Kirk. She was such a great sport and took it all in stride and laughed up a storm with him.
Captain Kirk and the Enterprise are a wonderful team because there’s a whole universe in there. It’s a functioning universe where everyone has a place and nobody is saying, “You’re better than me,” or “You’re worse than me.” Nobody is acting conceited.
How many times do we see young people with their family at a play or a movie theater? Rarely do you see a family come together. The young people are mostly with their friends. But sometimes when you see a family together, you see the father ask, “Do you want some popcorn,” instead of the kids asking, “Dad, can I get you something?” The father is the one asking. Sometimes the young kids stick their nose up and look the other way. I asked my husband, “What is that? Is that a yes? Is that a no? What is that? Why would a child do that to a parent?”
In the Eastern world you would never see that because the concepts of tradition, duty, and honor are so strict, almost to the point of being overbearing. But here you see it from time to time.
That’s why our community is unique and special. Here we have the whole world, meaning we have the best of the Western world but we also have the best qualities of the Eastern world. The fact that my father came from the East means that he’s naturally going to infuse our movement with some of the great qualities that come with the Eastern way of thinking.
The Disney animated film Mulan is my favorite because it has a heroine, and Mulan is just awesome. Not only can she fight, but she can ride, she can run with the best of them. But the most inspiring thing for me is that she was willing to risk her life to save her father, to preserve the honor in her family.
At the end of the story, she chases away the Huns, brings great honor to her family, and even finds true love in the process. I love the ending scene, when Mulan asks the young gentleman, “Can you stay for dinner? And it’s the grandma who says, “Can you stay forever?” That’s the wonderful thing about an Eastern family. Many times you have the grandparents there as well.
When my father speaks of three generations -- the grandparents, the parents and the children -- he means the three generations truly rubbing up against each other. How wonderful to have a grandmother who is going to ask the question for you that maybe you don’t have the confidence to say to a wonderful man. It’s interesting how in Korean halmoni means grandmother, and when you say halmoni in English, it sounds like harmony. So it’s truly the grandparents that help to create the harmonious environment of a wonderful family. Just as the harmony gives depth and profundity to a melodic line by adding different layers of feeling and intonation, following the line makes it a more rich and powerful experience. That’s what a grandparent does.
When my father is talking about three generations, he has some wisdom and a reason for saying those things. That’s because he wants to see each family become an effective team like the Enterprise, or like a good soccer team or field hockey team that is going to win many medals, not just for that team in particular but for the sake of the nation.
My father is thinking that if we can build a family of harmony by practicing true love, by rubbing up against each other, by polishing each other, not just siblings but different generations even, then it’s helping to create a family that will be a successful foundation or the cornerstone of a successful, family, world, and universe. In so doing, world peace will be achieved.
Many times when we say we want world peace, we want it out there somewhere, but the true secret is that world peace starts from each and every one of us, and it starts in the building block of the family and in the great team that we can build.
Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, I wish you a wonderful Sunday morning and hope that you can spend this week thinking about how awesome your family is, how awesome your spouse, your children, and your grandparents are. And if you haven’t given your mom and dad a call, or your grandfather and grandmother a call, please do so. Continue to “tlue rub” against each other and become the brilliant diamonds that you all were meant to be. Thank you.