The Words of In Jin Moon from 2010
Good morning, brothers and sisters. How is everyone this morning? Happy Labor Day weekend. I'm delighted to be with you once again. I woke up this morning thanking our Heavenly Parent for a beautiful Sunday morning.
Today was interesting for me. I got up, prepared myself, made my way to the kitchen, and made a pot of tea. I just grabbed one of the cereal boxes that I have in the cabinet and sat down for a bit of a treat. Most of the time, I'm so busy I just grab something without looking at it and then run out the door. But today there was a beautiful picture on the cereal box, and it caught my eye. I turned the box around, and it was one of my children's favorite cereals, called Banana Nut Crunch. When I read what was on the back, I started giggling.
The box had a picture of a banana, the main ingredient. The company said in its advertisement, "We should all aspire to live like bananas." I thought, "Great statement. Why?" Then it says, "Because bananas are on permanent vacation in exotic places or lush tropical forests." It went on to say, "Bananas have it made because they grow under the canopy of other trees so they have the perfect blend of sunlight and shade." I thought, "Hmm, a lovely holiday sounds like a fine thing every once in a while."
The Asians who were born and raised in America and speak perfect English sometimes call themselves bananas because they're yellow on the outside but white on the inside. Or sometimes we're called Twinkies because we're yellow on the outside and white and creamy on the inside. I thought, "This banana thing has a lot of different connotations for me this morning." As one of the bananas here, standing at the pulpit, I find myself thinking, "Isn't it everyone's desire to be on a permanent vacation with our Heavenly Parent?"
As Confucius said, "There are many roads in life, but the destination is the same," By this he meant that regardless of what kind of family we're born into, what kind of career we might follow, or what kind of life we live, sooner or later we end up in the same place. Hopefully it's within the embrace of our Heavenly Parent in heaven.
That leads me to a lovely conversation I had with a young lady. One of the advantages of being a senior pastor here at Lovin' Life is that I get to meet a lot of young people. They truly inspire me in so many ways to really invest myself in my work so that I can better support these fine treasures of young men and women that I see in our community.
I remember a conversation with one young lady who came up to me at one of the meetings I had with a group of Second Generation. She said, "I always wanted to ask you a question." I said, "You're more than free to ask anything you like." She told me a little about her family, her parents, her relationship with her siblings, and some of her difficulties at school.
She said, "My friends and I were talking about this. We seem to be going through feelings of extreme loneliness." She mentioned that it always comes right before school starts, the way Labor Day weekend signals the end of summer and the beginning of school. It's around this time that young people feel really lonely. First they're struck with the fear of seeing new faces at school, new teachers, and being in a familiar and yet different environment because now they're a grade older.
She and her girlfriends were talking about this, and she asked, "Were you ever lonely?" I looked into her lovely face and asked her, "Is the sky blue? Absolutely. What you are going through is exactly what every one of us goes through." When we're adolescents, this loneliness hits us and we feel like no one understands us, God doesn't understand us, our parents don't understand us, our siblings don't understand us, all the people that we dearly care about don't understand us. Then we start to feel a weight of negativity and loneliness, and it can be crushing for many young people.
This girl was feeling this crushing weight of loneliness, and she was reaching out, asking me, "Do you ever feel like the sky is crushing down on you? What do you do?"
I shared with her a simple formula that works for me. I hope it can work for you as well. Growing up in a public family like mine, I learned to expect that my parents were rarely at home, and even when they were at home they were with other people, not our family members. So 24-7 they were always on the job. We had various people supposedly taking care of us, but when a lot of people are taking care of you, that basically means nobody is taking care of you and you're left alone a lot. When you cannot speak to your parents, you don't know who to go to. You feel incredibly isolated, like you are set on a huge, darkened stage with only a spotlight on you. Everybody can see you, but you can't see anybody. You belong to everybody, but you can't touch or see or feel anybody because it's simply dark. Many times that's how young people feel, and certainly many times that's how I felt, too.
Usually when I had a problem to work through, I would seek my mother's guidance whenever I could find an opening. One day I was terribly sad and depressed. I was living with my younger sister, whom I love dearly, but at that time I felt that this person I loved so much didn't understand me. Even though I was living in the same room with her, I felt incredibly alone.
I asked, "Omanim, I'm feeling really, really horrible today." She said, "Why are you horrible?" I said, "I'm feeling really lonely. I know I don't have much time with you, but I wanted to ask if you ever felt lonely." She turned to me and said, "Of course I've felt lonely." I said, "You did? But you're always with Father. How can you be lonely?" She replied, "Because your father is a public person, even when I'm with him I can feel lonely."
As a little girl I was really intrigued by that. I asked, "What can I do when I feel this crushing weight of loneliness?" What she told me has proven to be a wonderful nugget of wisdom. Even now when I feel the crushing weight of loneliness, her words come to mind, comfort my heart, and encourage me to go on and do greater things. She said, "In Jin, so many people spend their life trying to run away from loneliness. Young people like you need to be careful." A lot of the teenagers in America, such fine, prepared young men and women of God, are trying to do everything to run away from loneliness. They want to bury their loneliness by doing drugs, to drown it by drinking, or to hide it by going to parties and having endless relationships. Young people are always on the run from loneliness.
She said, "The first step in overcoming loneliness is to welcome it." I didn't quite understand when she said this, but she continued, "One of these days you're going to be a mother and you're going to experience motherhood." She said, "The loneliest point a woman can go through is right before birth, in the midst of incredible pain when your body feels like its being pulled in half. No one can really help you. But once you go through that, then you experience the most beautiful thing -- holding a baby in your arms. She said, "Loneliness is a wonderful thing if you can welcome it. God in heaven wanted to experience what it felt like to be a parent. He was lonely, and he wanted to experience loving relationships; that's why he created children."
If you really think about it, all the things that prepare us to be great people involve hours of loneliness. To become classical pianists, my children spent hours alone in the piano room, just them and the instrument, honing their skills, working on the very thing that would make them incredible musicians in the future. It's during these times of loneliness that they can immerse themselves, knowing that loneliness is not a permanent state of being but is actually a sign of a work in progress.
If we can take a bird's-eye view and see ourselves in the context of providential history, in the context of our personal destinies that we are all meant to fulfill, we realize that these phases and episodes of loneliness that we go through are actually preparation for us to get moving. Loneliness provokes us. It makes us want to do something about it. It gets us to think about things we've never thought about. It gets us to do things that we've never done. At the same time, if we can understand loneliness as a time of preparation and welcome it as such, then we can be grateful for a lonely feeling.
My mother said, "Many times young people will not search and look for God if they've never experienced loneliness. Sometimes people come to find and rest their hearts in the embrace of our Heavenly Parent only because they're incredibly lonely." They have to fill this incredible void with something eternal, something profound, something divine, and that is what leads them to God."
Early in my youth she urged me, "Try to welcome loneliness. Don't always try to run away. See it as one of those steps that you need to go through in order to get to the next level. Take each day one step at a time. You'll realize that if you do these simple exercises of prayer, singing, and rest, they can help you overcome the crushing burden of loneliness."
She encouraged me to pray. Why pray? When you grow up in a family of 14 siblings, like me, you cannot write a journal without somebody reading it out loud publicly. You cannot scribble your thoughts without someone finding it and saying, "Look what she's writing about!" We got no satisfaction when we gazed upon a blank canvas of a page, which was so inviting. Having my diary raided over and over again by a good many of my siblings, I learned that the best way to really articulate my thoughts was through prayer. In a way you are welcoming God, our Heavenly Parent into your life by inviting God to have a conversation with you.
When you start talking to God, it is not as if you're talking to somebody sitting up there on a throne, but it is as you would like to talk to your parents. Even though I grew up without my parents being there many times, I realized that I had an eternal parent, an eternal set of ears that was always there to listen to me and comfort me. I could talk for hours about what I was feeling, how angry I might have been, how sad I might have been, how lonely I might have been. But at the same time, the feeling that there was somebody hearing me out was an incredibly comforting one.
Even to this day, whenever I get the urge to write in a diary, I usually break out instead into a conversation with my Heavenly Parent. It's almost like having a dear, dear friend who follows you everywhere. You can have this conversation anywhere. It does not have to be scheduled. It can be five minutes, or 30 minutes, or a couple of hours, maybe late at night.
I realized the importance of articulating. When we are adolescents going through the tough times in our lives and we feel like nobody understands us, the first thing we tend to do is clam up, like an oyster. We take away the power of speech, and we don't want to talk to anybody. What ends up happening is, because we are divine beings and there's an endless, percolating true love that wants to come out and be expressed, if we suddenly deny ourselves the beauty of articulating our thoughts, sooner or later we're going to burst like a volcano.
Thus, speaking out, talking, and articulating what they are going through can help young people through their episodes of loneliness. By talking to God, knowing that Heavenly Parent is always listening, even if our parents, our best friends, and even our siblings might not be there for us, we know that we always have God.
My mother has a beautiful voice; often when I visit in her room she's humming or singing. One of the most beautiful things I saw my mother do was respond to something that had happened earlier in the day. I think she was terribly hurt. She was crying when I went in to greet her, but she was singing at the same time. Watching my mother sob -- really crying -- but at the same time singing, was something I'll never forget.
I gave her a big hug and asked, "Mother, why are you crying? Why are you crying and singing?" She answered, "When you sing, you're vibrating, and when my body is vibrating and I can feel, then my sadness, my difficulty, my suffering lessens with every note that I sing." She said, "You might think your mother is funny, but next time you are really sad or really lonely, try singing…Or humming."
One of her favorite songs is, "Sing, sing a song. Sing out loud, sing out strong." The Little Angels sing it all the time. "Sing of good things, not bad. Sing of happy, not sad." Right? These very simple words in a simple children's song carry a very valuable lesson for adults as well. Many times when we are so burdened by loneliness, misery, and suffering, we literally turn into bundles of wax and forget to stand. We forget that we are divine beings, that we are awesome sons and daughters of God. We forget to be joyful.
Sometimes when we are engulfed in a miserable state of being, a simple song like, "Sing, Sing a Song," or one of our favorite melodies can invite the beauty of the universal language back into our hearts, minds, and environment. It's amazing how a simple tune can change the way you feel. It's a nice reminder to "sing of good things, not bad. Sing of happy, not sad." As juvenile as it may seem, it somehow makes you feel better.
My mother also talked about the importance of rest when you're trying to overcome a difficulty or loneliness. I learned the importance of rest when I started going to piano lessons with two of my kids. One of the first things the Russian piano teacher taught them, before they started to play and before she put them on six months of intense scale training, was breathing. That reminded me that we're breathing in 20,000 liters of air every day, but we don't realize it. In this piano lesson, she said, "We're going to breathe in, and we're going to breathe out. We're going to breathe in, and we're going to breathe out."
She took my two kids through breathing exercises, saying, "You need to get in tune with the universe. You need to get in tune with your body, which is part of your instrument. You need to understand the importance of breathing in and breathing out." She went on to express that music is a living thing, a living language of love. As with most language, it needs to breathe.
If you hear music, no matter how great it is, without breaths, without punctuation, without silence, sooner or later it's going to turn into water torture. You're not going to be able to enjoy it at all. It's the wonderful rests in the music, or a taste of silence in the course of a song, that makes the next part of the sound more delicious so you can relish it more.
My mother emphasized the importance of rest, learning how to breathe. I think a lot of mothers in the audience know what it's like when we get married and have to take care of our husbands and kids, and our days are scheduled from morning to night. We are always busy: Prepare breakfast, prepare lunchboxes, take the kids to school, pick them up, bring them home, make sure they get to activities on time -- art, music, sports, whatever it might be -- do the grocery shopping, pick up the cleaning, make dinner, make sure they do their homework, take a bath, and get to bed. It just goes on and on.
Many times the mothers, myself included, forget to breathe. We feel almost like Joan of Arc, heroines struggling against the storms of our family. We can easily feel that our husbands and our children don't understand us. We can become incredibly lonely because we put ourselves up to be supermom, flying here, there, everywhere, not realizing that we have to breathe as human beings. In order to become effective moms, there has to be a time when we act, but there also has to be a time when we rest. There has to be a time when we give, but there also has to be a time when we receive.
I've found myself often in a state of chaos, feeling incredibly lonely, feeling I had to hold up the whole world in my hands. I literally was being crushed alive under the weight of everything I had to do, not realizing that perhaps if I took five minutes for myself, if I gave myself 30 minutes to go for a walk, or if I took a couple of hours at the King Spa Sauna -- which is becoming a real hot spot for our movement -- then back home I could be the rejuvenated and embracing mom that we all know we are.
Loneliness is not something that only young people suffer in adolescence. It's something the First Generation, moms and dads, grandfathers and grandmothers go through, too. But we need to understand that it's a work in progress, not a permanent state of being, and it's something that can be worked on. It's through episodes of loneliness that those who are artists can write a wonderful song, do a wonderful painting, or write wonderful poetry.
First Peter 5:10 says, "You will suffer for a little while." God doesn't say you will suffer for all of eternity or your whole life. God is saying, "You will suffer for a little while," meaning that these periods of loneliness are episodes, different phases that we go through, but it's not a permanent state of being. It goes on to say, "You will suffer for a little while, but He will restore, He will support, and He will strengthen you, and place you on a firm foundation."
God is being very frank with us here. Yes, you will suffer for a little while, but God will be there every step of the way. Just as a mother watching a baby learning how to walk stands back and lets the baby try over and over again, knowing the baby will fall repeatedly, we know it's a process that the baby has to go through so in the end he or she can learn how to walk. The baby might cry, the baby might fall, but a loving mother will be there to reassure, encourage, and support as she allows the child to go through the process for a little while.
When we feel lonely, it does not mean that God, our Heavenly Parent, has deserted us. In fact, He is watching us very much, wishing us well and supporting us from the sidelines, saying, "You can do it. Reach out for me, Child. Look for me, Child. Talk to me, Child. Sing to me, Child. Rest a little and work with me." This is what God is saying.
We as human beings and as sons and daughters of God desire this ultimate holiday with our God in heaven. We long for these moments of wonderful holidays when we can take time off and be with nature or our loved ones and friends. It's interesting that the word holiday comes from "holy day." A holy day is a day of rest, a day when we remind ourselves to breathe in, to breathe out. It's a day we remind ourselves that silence is just as beautiful as sounds that we hear.
God is speaking to us in many different ways. God speaks to us not just through happiness and celebration but through times of loneliness and difficulty. He speaks to us through our victories and through our trials and tribulations. Through it all, while we experience all these different feelings, God is with us each and every step of the way.
No matter where we are in life -- as Confucius said, "There are many roads in life." I'm sure the young people who are nervous about going back to school don't want to be different or lonely or isolated or scared. But Mother is advising us to welcome the fear, welcome the loneliness, and welcome the possible pain. By experiencing it and overcoming it, we can grow wider and taller and deeper as people.
Somebody who's known only happiness can never really fully understand the heart of God. Someone who has experienced only misery can never fully understand the heart of God. You have to understand God by canvassing all the different colors of the rainbow, all the different emotions that we human beings all feel.
I myself have felt loneliness. So will you. I myself have felt loneliness. So will our kids. But let's help our kids understand that loneliness is not a permanent state of being, that it might be the catalyst through which they reach out to God, the catalyst through which they become incredible writers, artists, musicians, and thinkers, and the catalyst to create them as human beings who are excellent internally and externally. Recognizing loneliness in this way, we can realize that life in all its multitude is truly a gift. It doesn't matter where we are in life right now, we must concentrate on what Confucius taught: that all roads and all destinations are the same, that we will go ultimately back into the embrace of our Heavenly Parent.
So the ultimate question we must be asking ourselves is, "What are we going to leave behind?" The wonderful Legacy of Peace tour was so profound in that it addressed the question, "What are we going to leave behind?" As human beings, the most beautiful things we can leave behind are children. It is through our children that we live forever.
For centuries men and women alike have sought the fountain of youth, the key to living forever. But living forever is actually the eternal. The divine is already within each one of us, and we will and we do live forever through our children.
It is our duty to raise up this beautiful generation of peace that understands that they belong to one family. As my father declared to all of us on God's Day, 1987, "I see all religions as belonging to one family." My father has gone on throughout his lifetime to teach that all races belong to one family. No one is better than the other. We're all brothers and sisters. And no one culture or tradition is better than the other. We must learn from each other.
It's exciting for me as the senior pastor to be reminded -- when my children come back from their colleges and their friends visit them at Lovin' Life -- of the things that are said over and over again about our movement: "Your church is the most beautiful church I've been to. The people are so beautiful, inside and out. I've never seen such beautiful people excited about God, and especially the young people."
In our movement we have the beauty of East and West, the beauty of horizontal and vertical. Anybody who comes to see our community can feel it. We must not be jaded because we see our community up close and personal. We must not be like the area directly under the lamp that tends to be the darkest. Many times I think we don't realize how blessed and precious we are. But if we can take a look at ourselves from the vantage point of my kids' friends, or friends of our kids, we cannot help but feel that our movement is phenomenal. The fact that ours is the most successful, powerful, and influential movement in the time of the founder's own life is unbelievable. That is an achievement in and of itself.
Brothers and sisters, let's put our movement and the history of our church into context. Jesus Christ changed the world in less than three years of public ministry. He has given new life and a new understanding of love to millions of people around the world. Our movement is just getting started. Father is still with us. We have celebrated already the 50th anniversary of our movement. We have 50 years' worth of good works and good love to share with the rest of the world.
If Jesus could change the world with less than three years' ministry, think about what our True Parents will do with more than 50 years of ministry.
Brothers and sisters, let's put ourselves in the context of history and realize what a phenomenal family we are and what a phenomenal movement we are. And we will be the ones to usher in the next millennium. On that note, God bless you. Thank you.
Confucius said... "In
the world there are many different roads but the destination is the
same. There are a hundred
deliberations but the result is one."
World Scripture, A Comparative Anthology Of Sacred Texts - Editor, Andrew Wilson
Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.
Sing, sing a song
Let the world sing along
Sing of love there could be
Sing for you and for me.
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.
1: So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed.
2: Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly,
3: not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.
4: And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory.
5: Likewise you that are younger be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
6: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you.
7: Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.
8: Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.
9: Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.
10: And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.
11: To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
12: By Silva'nus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God; stand fast in it.
13: She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark.
14: Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you that are in Christ.