The Words of In Jin Moon from 2010

Think of loving and giving not as a duty but as a privilege

In Jin Moon
October 24, 2010
Lovin' Life Ministries

On the morning of October 24, 2010, Rev. In Jin Moon gave a sermon about loving or giving for the sake of others, not as duty, but as a privilege. Rev. Moon first spoke of her recent hearing of a woman with a van full of children stating "Child, I'm tired" continuously, almost as "song of blues," near a shopping store. Although understanding her experience, being a mother herself, Rev. Moon recalled her own mother's words to her growing up: "Think of loving and giving not as duty but as a privilege." She then re-accounted the story of Pinocchio and his father, Geppetto, who through his relationship with his son shows examples of being patient, strong, and steadfast for the sake of his son.

Good morning, brothers and sisters. How is everyone? It's good to see you again this lovely Sunday morning. I don't know about other parents in the room, but we're getting close to the holiday season, right? We're coming close to Halloween and then also Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, so the kids are getting quite excited.

Even though I had some things to take care of yesterday, I spent a good deal of my time yesterday preparing for the holidays with my two boys. They were on the lookout for a great costume, since they know we're having a holiday party gala out on the West Coast and the best costume is going to win a prize. They were not simply satisfied with just any costume; they were determined to find something truly unique, something that made a statement. Like all the other parents, I did my duty of taking them to different stores. It turned out to be an all-evening affair.

I thought about all this preparation for the holiday season. For the kids, when they think of the word holiday, they're thinking Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. These are the days of the year that they cannot wait for. But I think for most parents holiday means it's a workday: It's a lot of preparation. For the children, when they're getting so excited about biting into that fresh, juicy bit of turkey, I'm thinking I have to make a grocery list of all the things I have to prepare and all the things that need to hit the oven at a particular time so the whole dinner is prepared on time. I think for a lot of parents, holiday means a lot of work, but we do it because we love our family and because we love our children.

I remember a couple of years ago I saw a scene of a mother in a parking lot. I guess she had spent a good deal of time looking for a Halloween costume. She is what I would call beautiful, with an Aunt Jemima face. When I was growing up and starting my day off with a lovely breakfast, maybe a bunch of pancakes or waffles, often we did not have our parents there. Many of us ate alone very quickly in different stages in the kitchen.

When I was eating my pancakes, the image of this beautiful black lady on the bottle of Aunt Jemima's maple syrup was a source of great comfort to me. In her face I felt the love and comfort, and I knew I was going to bite into something yummy. This was a warm, beautiful face of a black woman, a wide smile out to both ears. In the parking lot, this was the image of the woman I saw: a beautiful, big black woman, and her face was so cherubic, with big eyes and white flashing teeth.

But I guess she'd really had a tough day. She had a van full of four kids, ranging from 3 to about 17 or 18 years old. The side door was open, and I could see this beautiful woman who'd had a tough day. She looked up to the heavens, looked at the kids and said, "Child, I'm tired. I'm tired. Why don't you just sit there and be quiet?" She had a long litany as to why she was tired. It almost sounded like a great blues song. If there had been a drummer in the back and a great bass player, it would catch on the riff, "I'm tired."

For me it was like a musical experience, but at the same time I totally understood her frustration and anger. Perhaps the children provoked her all day long on the drive to probably different stores because they wanted to find the perfect, unique costume.

When she spoke, she was expressing she was tired, but she had so much strength. Her whole body shook. It was like an earthquake. She said, "Child, I'm tired." It was like watching fireworks. It was beautiful, it was scary, but it was also exciting.

Here I am, supposed to be following my kids into the store, but I was really getting into the blues of her "I'm tired" song. Finally when my kids were saying, "Oma," I separated from this interesting scene and followed them into the store. But I thought about that beautiful Aunt Jemima gone wild, and about her song, "Child, I'm tired." I thought, "I feel like that sometimes. Sometimes I want to say that, too."

But my problem is I have the voice of my mother in the back of my head that says, "Child." It's amazing how calm she is all the time. The world could be falling apart and she is just an extremely elegant woman. Nothing fazes her. There can be waterfalls and she'll just glide right through, like a knife through butter. Any obstacle that comes in her way -- like animated mountains suddenly falling on the cartoon character, that's what it's like many times in the True Family -- but my mother just shakes it off and gets on her way with a lovely smile as if nothing happened.

My problem is, even though I wanted to sing the Aunt Jemima blues myself, I have this voice in the back of my mind and I hear my mother saying, "Child, In Jin." When she calls me by my name, it gets really personal. My heart's antenna starts vibrating and starts to listen. She says, "Think of loving and giving not as a duty but as a privilege." This is what she said to us over and over again. "Think of loving and giving not as a duty but as a privilege."

When I was much younger, these were just words that were strung together into a sentence, into something my mother seemingly mumbled to me over the years. But when I became a mother and had children of my own, I realized that what she was trying to convey to me was incredible wisdom.

What she was asking me to do is, whenever you find yourself wanting to sing the blues, "I'm tired," think of what you have to do, or how you need to approach your life, loving or giving for the sake of others, think of it not as duty, as something you grudgingly do out of a sense of responsibility, but something that you think of as a privilege. If you've been invited to the White House, privileged to be given an invitation to dine with the president, it's an honor. It's something that we as citizens of this country would be grateful for. It's something that we would be extremely happy about.

What my mother was asking her children to do, over and over again, through her wisdom, was to approach this philosophy of living for the sake of others by not doing it because we have to, but because we don't have to but we do it anyway, just because. And because we want to love. We don't do it because it's our duty, but it's a privilege to love. It's a privilege to give.

When I was ruminating on my memory of the Aunt Jemima blues gone wild, I was thinking that we have different stories that every culture loves to tell again and again. One of my favorite stories that I liked to watch with the kids when they were little was the Disney version of Pinocchio. That Disney version was made from a story that was told many years ago about someone called Master Cherry in Tuscany, Italy, a master wood-carver. [Click here to read the story.]

One day he decided to go out into the forest and find a piece of pinewood that he would carve into a lovely table leg. He brought a piece of pine back home, looking at the wood, trying to see what kind of a beautiful table leg he could carve out of that wood, bringing out its beauty to share with his family.

As he was thinking about this, he prepared his tools, but just when he was about to strike the wood, the wood cried out, "No. Don't chop me." The wood-carver was totally surprised, asking, "What kind of devil is in this wood? What kind of spirit is here?" He didn't know what to do with it, so he went to his neighbor, Geppetto, and said, "Here I have some pinewood saying nasty things to me. Here, you take it and see what you can do with it."

Geppetto didn't have children of his own, but he wanted to be a parent, so he thought, "Hmm, how wonderful if I could carve this wood into the shape of a boy. Even though he wouldn't be a real boy, maybe he could be like a son to me." So Geppetto took the wood and probably meditated on what the design should be. Then he started designing a puppet. He thought, "Not only will I have a little wooden son who can travel everywhere with me, but we can make money together and I can find a better way of living."

So he took great pains to carve this wood into the shape of a boy. But deep in his heart he really wished that this piece of wood would not just be a wooden boy but turn into a real boy, his real son. He dreamt of how wonderful it would be if this wooden boy could somehow be transformed into a little boy.

But as he started carving the face, a most peculiar thing happened to him when he created the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. By the time he got to the mouth, the nose just kept on growing. This piece of wood wasn't talking, but the nose kept on growing. In the animated version we know that Pinocchio's nose grows when he tells lies. To an Asian ear, when we hear that someone lies, many times we get confused because we're wondering, are they talking about lies as somebody not telling the truth, or are they talking about lying on the floor?

To an Eastern ear learning English, we hear that when the wooden boy starts to lie, then his nose grows. In Asian version thinking, when we are totally vertical, meaning totally united with our parents, it's almost like having a backbone. But when I was told the story of Pinocchio, that his nose started growing because he was lying, then it sounded like every time he started thinking horizontally, maybe connecting more to his peers, connecting more to some colleagues that might not be the best influence for him and forgetting to connect vertically to his parents, maybe that's why his nose was growing.

In the Orient we have a clear understanding that you have to create your backbone vertically by uniting absolutely with your parents and then you can grow in flesh to become the beautiful human being that we all are. When I thought about Pinocchio and his nose growing because he lied, it sounded like he was lying down horizontally, not being connected vertically. That kind of person ends up growing in flesh without a backbone, turning into a massive amoeba-like creature rather than being a great boy or girl. That's what it sounded like to me.

When Geppetto started crafting the foot of this wooden boy, the first thing the foot did was kick him in the nose. These fairy tales are told over and over again because they portray a similar experience that most people go through in the course of their lives. We're human beings and we have feelings and similar experiences throughout our lives, even though they may vary from one situation to the other, such as becoming a parent or dealing with the rebellious child. How do you deal with it with love and with a giving heart, thinking of it as a privilege and not as a duty? These are the things that we all deal with in life, regardless of whether we are white, black, yellow, or red. Regardless of where we were raised, we all go through similar things.

When a young boy, probably in a rebellious phase, connects more horizontally with his friends and colleagues, forgetting the importance of connecting vertically with his parents, then when you hear the story of Pinocchio kicking his father's nose, that's the total act of rebellion.

The story continues that the minute Geppetto finally put two legs on this wooden boy, the first thing the boy did was run out of the house and run out of town, so fast that the police officers monitoring the boundaries of the town spotted him and brought him back. Somehow in the course of the police officer accompanying Pinocchio back, the officer was convinced that this wooden boy ran away because his father or his maker mistreated him, so the police threw Geppetto man in jail. Pinocchio, the boy, ends up coming back home to an empty house.

Then he suddenly realizes he's hungry. Without his father, he doesn't know where to find food or how to prepare it. He goes to the neighbor, Master Cherry, and knocks on his door, but Master Cherry refuses to answer, so Pinocchio returns home freezing and wet. These two adjectives, freezing and wet, the total antithesis of what a child wants to experience in the embrace of a father and a mother, are so clearly descriptive in the story.

Because he's freezing and wet, this wooden boy decides he should dry his feet. He decides to dry them on a stove, but being tired, he falls asleep. The next morning he wakes up to the smell of smoke and realizes that in the evening while he slept his feet were burned off. This boy, who should have walked together with his father, ran away from his father, and was brought back out of his own hunger. In order to take care of himself, he thinks, "Let me get some warmth," not realizing that he is made of wood and that his feet would be burned off.

When the wooden boy realizes that his feet were burned off and he is stuck with the horror of not being able to walk out the door, not being able to run out of his home whenever he wanted, he starts to cry. It is when he started to cry that he feels for the first time an incredible sadness, realizing he would not have had feet to begin with had it not been for his father figure, Geppetto. It was Geppetto who lovingly and painstakingly crafted and carved those beautiful feet for him. But Pinocchio didn't care how much love went into it; he simply took it and ran, felt entitled to it -- "This is my body and my feet; I'm going to go wherever -- without thinking about what that might do to Geppetto.

As Pinocchio is feeling this incredible sadness for the first time, his tears come like a waterfall. During this washing away of all his foolishness and selfishness, the father returns from jail. What does the father bring back? He has in his hand three beautiful, perfectly shaped pears. Without saying a word, Geppetto looks at Pinocchio with loving eyes and is so happy that his wooden boy is back at home. Geppetto thought he had lost his wooden boy, but there he is.

The three pears symbolize what the boy and the father would share together in their lifetime. In the Divine Principle way of looking at it, the pears symbolize the formation, growth, and perfection stages that a child would go through under the care and nurture of a loving parent. Even though Pinocchio ridiculed him to the police officer and even put his father in jail, the father returns with these three gifts that he wants to share with his son.

So Pinocchio accepts these three pears, symbolically representing his desire to now vertically connect to his father and become that beautiful boy that Geppetto so longed for. When Pinocchio receives these three beautiful pears from his father, he sees that mysteriously his feet have come back. He realizes that he wants to love his father; he wants to do what would make his father happy. Pinocchio started his life with, "Don't chop me," shouting something negative at his father, but he ends with the words that symbolize, "This is what I want to do with my life, and in gratitude to you I'm going to do something that I might not enjoy the process of, but in the end I know it's good for me."

Pinocchio calls Geppetto "Father" for the first time, and says, "Father, I want to go to school." Instead of running around and not having any vision or purpose, Pinocchio decides on his purpose, his mission. He decides he wants to go to school just like all the other boys and girls. In response, the father is so moved that he is overcome with tears. Even though this is the middle of freezing winter, he sells his coat for a chunk of change and gives the money to Pinocchio to buy his books, symbolically giving him the gift of getting started.

That's how the story ends in the original version. When I thought about Pinocchio and Geppetto, and about the words my mother said to me many times throughout my life -- "Think of loving and giving not as a duty but as a privilege" -- in the shape, form, and character of Geppetto you have a parental figure who loves this boy. The single most beautiful characteristic that love shows is patience. When my mother was saying, "Think of loving and giving not as duty but as a privilege," she was reminding me to think of it as something to be grateful for. If something doesn't go your way, let it pass. Be patient, be strong, and be steadfast.

When you look at the characteristics of parental love, a couple of things come to mind. You realize that Geppetto shows the character of perseverance in that he is steadfast in his goal to be a loving father to Pinocchio, regardless of whether he understands it or not. Despite the fact that Pinocchio kicks his face, throws him in jail, and runs away, Geppetto's steadfast love, wanting to be the father of that character, is never changing. He exemplifies perseverance.

When we parents go through our children's teenage years, sometimes it gets really difficult. There can be a lot of misunderstanding on both sides; trying to get into a cohesive unit to complete the mission at hand can be an incredibly difficult thing. But when we think about being patient, we realize that there's an element of fortitude when we think about that word. Geppetto exemplified strength of character in the face of very difficult situations. He had a certain amount of courage to stand strong as the father.

In our modern day, when the going gets tough, parents often leave their position, thinking that if they can be their children's friend and not their parent that it will ease things, and that it will make things go much better. But when the parents leave their parental position and decide to become a friend, basically doing whatever the child wants, that's a major recipe for disaster.

When you look at Geppetto, he exercises his position of fortitude, knowing that he is the parent and he's going to do what's right for Pinocchio, whether Pinocchio understands it or not at that moment. He has the courage to do so, in spite the fact that he's misunderstood and thrown in prison. He has fortitude and strength.

I've often said that compassion is not a weak word. It's an extremely powerful word, the ability to empathize. Likewise, the word patient, having the fortitude or the ability to wait calmly through difficult things, to walk calmly through incredible odds, conveys deep strength. Unlike the modern perception of patience as passive, actually the word patience is an incredibly active word. When you understand it as a symbol of fortitude, patience becomes concentrated strength.

My mother, all throughout her life as a wonderful partner to my father, being a wonderful example to our community as True Mother, has gone through incredible suffering and difficulty that cannot even be described in words. But she is a symbol of patience, that symbol and personification of concentrated strength that we're talking about. When you look at Geppetto, you see another trait connected with patience, called forbearance, or restraint under provocation. Forbearance was something missing when I listened to the Aunt Jemima blues. She was being provoked all day long, so much so that she got angry, so much so that she articulated her frustration. But what forbearance or patience means is that, regardless of what provokes or stimulates you to anger, of what causes you to be frustrated, there is a certain control.

Most parents with new babies think of them as angelic and goo-gooing all the time. But quickly they enter the terrible twos, and it's fast-forward to teenage years. Before you know it, they're 13. Many times we feel that the world is running away with our children; our children are running our lives, provoking us to extreme irritation, and we don't know what to do. But in Geppetto, we see an example of forbearance. Pinocchio provoked him to no end by throwing him into prison, probably telling the police officer, "That man has been abusing me." But the only thing that Geppetto could feel when he came back and saw Pinocchio sitting on that chair without his feet, watching his son cry, was "How can I give more? How can I love more? It's the forbearance that nothing can provoke you because you truly love the child.

My mother, my father, and Geppetto are excellent examples of the word patience. We as a community should be so grateful that we have such a great example in our True Parents. In True Father's life, he has never, ever wavered from his singularity of purpose and dedication to the mission, willing to live his life and apply the principles of living for the sake of others. No man or woman can come close to our True Parents.

The Good Book, in Psalms 32:8–11, says, "Let us not be like a horse or a mule that needs to be tempered," meaning one that needs to be controlled by the use of a bit and bridle. The Bible is saying, Let us not be like these animals, without understanding, to require the use of a bit and bridle to control our temper.

We have our True Parents as an example, and as children going through life, yes, we can just follow, just do what our True Parents ask us to do, but what our Heavenly Parent is really waiting for us to do is not be like a mule or horse, without understanding. We understand we have a divine purpose. Instead of Pinocchio being threatened by Jiminy Cricket that he will turn into a donkey if he doesn't listen to his father -- instead of being threatened that we'll turn into a donkey or mule, something without understanding that needs to be controlled with a bit and bridle -- we as human beings, eternal sons and daughters, have the opportunity to decide to be united with our True Parents, our parents and our Heavenly Parent. With our own understanding of our worth and value and of what we must do in our lives, we must walk and talk like great, eternal sons and daughters. As it says in verse 11, we need to rejoice, sing, walk, and live upright in heart.

So unlike Pinocchio, whose nose keeps on growing because he's lying all the time -- not just fabrications, but also lying in the sense that he's concentrating too much on the horizontal and ignoring the vertical -- –if we can be upright in heart, meaning vertical in heart, meaning vertically united with our True Parents and Heavenly Parent, then the only thing we need to do is be grateful for our lives, to shout the joy, to rejoice, and to live in gratitude.

When Psalms reminds us that we should not live an animal-like existence, without understanding, the Bible is reminding us to know clearly the purpose and have a clear mission in our lives, to know what we want to do and become, with steadfast love, as it says in verse 10, and trust in the Lord. Trust, meaning, it's okay to be vulnerable to our parents. A lot of teenagers are afraid to be vulnerable in front of their parents, anxious that their parents will take advantage of them. But we don't need to be afraid because our parents love us, and they want the best for us.

There needs to be trust on both sides, and there needs to be a practice or application of steadfast love. It's time for us to sing as a movement, to sing the glory of our True Parents, the breaking news that they are here. We need to tell the people, "Brothers and sisters, get ready, the train is here." We see the train. The train is our True Parents, and many hundreds and millions of people have waited their whole lives and have gone on to the spirit world without ever getting on the train.

Brothers and sisters, we are the lucky ones who are not just singing; the train is coming. We can get on the train and decide to follow, to unite, and to live our personal destinies to be great eternal sons and daughters of God. In that way, we can enjoy every day as a holy day with our Heavenly Parent and with our True Parents. When we realize that every day is a holy day, then we understand how grateful we should be.

So let's run through our ritualistic miseries, the Aunt Jemima blues. Let's pass through life like a knife through butter because there's a glorious holiday waiting for us always, in the embrace of our Heavenly Parent and our True Parents. So God bless, and have a great Sunday.


Psalms, chapter 32

0: A Psalm of David. A Maskil.

1: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.

2: Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3: When I declared not my sin, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.

4: For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. [Selah]

5: I acknowledged my sin to thee,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD";
then thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. [Selah]

6: Therefore let every one who is godly
offer prayer to thee;
at a time of distress, in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.

7: Thou art a hiding place for me,
thou preservest me from trouble;
thou dost encompass me with deliverance. [Selah]

8: I will instruct you and teach you
the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

9: Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
else it will not keep with you.

10: Many are the pangs of the wicked;
but steadfast love surrounds him who trusts in the LORD.

11: Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

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