The Words of In Jin Moon from 2010
On November 21, 2010, Rev. In Jin Moon spoke to the Lovin' Life Ministries congregation about the importance of not being crushed as we try to be "superhuman" taking care of everyone else around us, but instead to remember the divinity within and how special and precious each of us are, having been given the opportunity in life to leave something beautiful behind. Rev. Moon also shared how she learned in her life, with the encouragement of her mother, that if we can dream, visualize, and see what we want to achieve in our minds, then we can make it happen in our lives.
Good morning, brothers and sisters. Please have a seat. How is everyone this morning? You've heard the great news that True Parents are coming [to New York], right? They're on their way, and we will spend a fantastic evening with them tomorrow night. I hope all of you can participate in the event and show our True Parents how much America loves them and appreciates the privilege of having them in our lives.
As I was thinking about the message that I wanted to share with you this morning, I came upon several e-mails. As Dave Hunter mentioned earlier, this is the start of the Christmas holidays, so a great deal of planning and scheduling takes place. For many parents, there's a lot of running around to get things done to make sure that everything is in order so that when the festivities hit, they can have a great time together with their families.
This is actually a wonderful time for families, but at the same time there's a sense of urgency -- and, I think for a lot of mothers in the audience, almost a sense of desperation -- because we want to get it right for the holidays. The children are expecting so many things, and we don't want to fall short. So we put a lot of stress on ourselves, hoping to be the best mom or the best supermom.
I got an e-mail from a lovely lady who has a beautiful family. She is walking the road of motherhood and self-discovery, trying her best to balance work and family. She is struggling to balance the rigidity and inflexibility of some of her scheduling with a desire to be flexible all the time for her children, her spouse, and her relatives.
This is a highly accomplished woman, very capable in her job, and doing her best as a mother. Just like many of us in the audience who have children of our own, she wants to be Supermom, almost an action hero type of person, a mother who can be 10 places at the same time, making sure that right before her child falls, she's right there to make sure the child doesn't fall. Or just as her distraught child runs home from school, she's waiting at the front door with a plate full of cookies. This is the image of motherhood that we may put on ourselves: We want to be there for everybody whom we love.
But this mother was severely "burned out," as we say. Here she was, trying to live her life for the sake of others, going out of her way to take care of everybody all around her, but she didn't realize that perhaps she was forgetting to take care of herself. In so doing, she found herself in a state of panic with the holidays approaching, all the relatives coming in, and all the expectations that she wanted to fulfill. It was a "senior pastor SOS" e-mail. When I read her message, she reminded me a lot of what I used to be like.
When we are growing up and trying to be our best, many times we want to be superhuman; being human is just not good enough. We don't realize how special and precious we are. Instead of learning to appreciate who we are and then taking it to the next step, we keep taking step after step after step without taking time to appreciate the preciousness of who we are as divine sons and daughters. When we forget to remember the divinity within or how special and precious we are, having been given the opportunity in life to make something beautiful and leave something beautiful behind, we can easily degenerate into feeling worthless, with no meaning to the world.
I found myself in that situation many times: I felt I was going out of my way taking care of everybody, but when I was by myself, I felt incredibly worthless. I asked myself, "What is the meaning in life when I'm feeling tired and burned out all the time?" That's when a lovely voice in the back of my mind grew louder. It was the voice of my mother, reminding me what a beautiful child of God I am, that I am a divine being.
When we were much younger, we sometimes had to follow True Father on his speaking tours or at workshops, and all our toys would be left behind. We wouldn't have our favorite things with us. We would come to Mother and say, "Father is giving a long speech. Can we go out and play?" Sometimes she would let us go out and play. We would run around a bit, but invariably after tiring ourselves out we would go back to Mother and say, "We don't have our favorite things. We want to go back home."
Mother used to tell us the same thing over and over again. She would say, "But you have so many toys." We'd say, "But Mother, we have no toys." She said, "Yes, you do. You have so many toys." We just looked at her. Had she gone bonkers, or was she trying to tell us something profound? We said, "Mother, we didn't bring anything." Then she'd say, "Yes, but you brought yourselves. What about all those friends, all those toys that I see you drawing, that I see you creating, that I see you making up in your mind? What happened to those little stories that you write, that you love to read to your brothers and sisters? Aren't they all your toys?" She would say, "You have a lot of toys. Now go play."
She would usher us out, and many times we'd decide this was a call for us to write stories or draw. What she was asking us to do was to take stock of who we were. Here we found ourselves in the middle of a long speech by True Father, and we wanted to go out and play with our familiar playthings that we left behind at home. Mother didn't use the word imagination or say, "Use your creativity to amuse yourself; create the toys that you want to play with." But that was exactly what she was asking us to do.
She was challenging us not to complain: "Even if you don't see what you want, you are still a divine being." She was indirectly telling us that as long as we could tap into our ability to create and imagine, we could creatively take ourselves out of the situation: "If you find yourself in a situation where you have no toys, you can, with the ability of the divine within to imagine, create your own personal playthings that you have a hand in making." So from when we were a very young age, our True Mother has encouraged us not only to see what we don't have, but if we don't have something, to create something out of nothing, something better than we had before, that could amuse us for endless hours.
When I think about this sister who was totally burned out and so overcome by all the things she had to do that she felt crushed and demoralized, I see myself, and I realize that at various points in my life I was exactly that superwoman wannabe. I realized that this simple message that Mother gave to me many years ago about imagination and our ability to create tells us that we can get ourselves out of the rut we're in because we have ability to imagine.
A lot of great men and women have done just that. They were born into poverty, with few prospects except for a life of misery and maybe certain failure and death. But by tapping into the divine, by discovering God along the way and realizing that they have infinite potential to be the kind of people whom they would like to be, by understanding that they are God's children who have been given the divine gifts of the ability to imagine, dream, and visualize, these people who seemed set for certain failure have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and turned themselves into great men and women.
They could do this because regardless of where they were or what the situation was, they were able to exercise their creativity, to dream and visualize what they wanted. Then they started implementing that visualization into something substantial in their lives so they could be the kind of people they wanted to be. For instance, a great athlete like Michael Jordan already knew what he wanted to be. He visualized it. Regardless of what dire circumstances or obstacles were set in his path, nothing stopped him.
The same goes for our True Father. He was born in the remote hills of North Korea but became one of the great religious leaders and the True Father of humankind. At a very young age, even with nothing to his name, he knew exactly what he needed to do after Jesus Christ anointed him at the tender age of 16. Jesus asked this Korean teenager to fulfill Jesus' mission -- instead of being crucified, to live and find a wife, become the True Parents of humankind, establish a true family, and be a great model and guide for humanity in helping all people realize that regardless of where they come from or what their backgrounds might be, they have a personal destiny they need to substantiate in their lifetime. This was the message given to our True Father. Ever since he was 16, he has visualized and dreamed what he needed to do, and one step at a time he has put it into motion.
When I think about the mother who sent me that e-mail, it reminded me of myself, being in the rut of wanting to be a Supermom being there for everybody. But not having the physical means to do so, I found myself hitting a brick wall. That's when I realized my Mother's wisdom again: "Imagine yourself out of the situation."
She has taught me a lot of lessons along the way. One of the simple lessons she gave us when she encouraged us to visualize and imagine was that she also would say, "Children, remember to breathe. You have to breathe." Remembering her words later, I would say to myself, "We have to stop what we're doing and take a moment to breathe." As we go about our day doing so many different things, we do not realize that we're not exhaling all the time, nor are we just inhaling all the time. There's a give-and-receive action that's taking place with us and the universe. We are inhaling and exhaling 20,000 liters of air per day.
Just as we give and we receive, just as we live for the sake of others and go on living for the sake of others, there has to be a moment when we're giving, giving, giving but also breathing in. When I feel totally confounded by a mountain of work or the weight of the holidays approaching and want to imagine myself out of this supermom conundrum, I remember how my mother always encouraged us to breathe, to stop, to rest, to take stock of where we were, and to feel ourselves as a human beings again, not as robots or people who facilitate things that need to be done in the home. We need not to just think of ourselves as somebody who executes the things that need to be done in the course of the day but to remember ourselves in our simplest state of being: simply inhaling and exhaling.
Then she would also encourage us to take stock and rest a little bit, just as at the end of a long day we need to sleep to be healthy for the next day. So we rest and take stock. Just as beautiful photographs need to go through processing in the darkroom, a quiet place where different solutions await them before the pictures can be brought out onto paper for all of us to enjoy, human beings, likewise, regardless of how faithful we want to be in our lives, can't always be exhaling, exhaling, exhaling. Sooner or later we need to inhale, and we need to rest. We need to take stock of where we are.
Then the next thing we need to do is to visualize what we want, that is, have an image in our minds of where we want to go. The supermom in the rut needs to take a moment, maybe go to a spa for three hours, and think about the day. If she can only get nine out of ten things done, so be it. Maybe a fantastic relative of hers might show up and actually pick up the last piece and make it a glorious holiday. We try to do everything ourselves and think that the world is going to fall apart if we're not there.
Often my children want me to figure everything out for them. Many times they ask questions like, "Mother, what should I do about this? Maybe I can go to Boston for this, maybe I can go to Chicago, maybe to New York." I know that the child already knows the answer of what might be the best trip for them, but they're making me give a command about what to do. As we mature in our motherhood, what we do more and more is to allow our children to think through their own questions and arrive at the answer themselves.
At HSA, people who work for me write long e-mails asking obvious questions that they already know the answers to, but I simply don't respond. They know the answer, they've thought about it, they will come to the conclusion, and they know that the answer they will arrive at is the answer I would like to see. But sometimes they want to take a shortcut. They want somebody in the position of authority to say, "Okay, you can do the easier way."
But when you've thought it through, you realize that the answer to your question is obvious. A wise mother will sit back and allow you to answer your own questions. Many times I do the same here at HSA. When I remember my mother asking all of us to take stock, she was very good at not answering all the questions. She was very good in terms of having us children think it out, work it out, learning to walk on our own.
As we were growing up, we were not the most malleable group of children. Mother encouraged all of us to have opinions, thinking or feeling our way through. We had different ideas, plans, and goals. Coming together as a family was a very difficult thing. But what she did was incredible in that she has created a family of very different types of people. We represent all different character types, all different shapes and forms, so that when we come together it's almost like many different nations coming together.
We're not a cookie-cutter family. Because Mother appreciated our unique gifts from God and allowed us to tap into our divinity, our ability to create, imagine, and dream, we can do so, no matter how difficult the obstacles in our path. For that, I am eternally grateful for my mother.
Here she is, imploring all of us, as the first step in the course of this process of imagination, to rest, to breathe, to take stock and look at what we need to do: "Don't be so overburdened, don't feel demoralized. You are just experiencing another process on the road of life."
She would encourage us to visualize where we wanted to go and what we wanted to be, just as Michael Jordan could visualize exactly what he wanted to be. We all have the ability to be successful, to find incredible love, to prosper in things that are emotionally, physically, and spiritually wonderful. This is what God wants for all of us. Many times we are our own restriction, with patterns of negative thinking, saying to ourselves that we cannot do this or that: "I'm not strong enough, not fast enough. But this is a restriction we put on ourselves."
If we can dream, visualize, and see it in our minds, then we can make it happen in our lives. Our mother would push us on, to rest, become healthy again, then start visualizing, dreaming, and having goals and aspirations that we would like to see happen in our lives. Then she encouraged us to do something about it -- implement it, go about it.
When we as human beings go about our business in our daily lives, there are many ways that we can better our lives. The imagination process can take place in the confines of our own room. It can change our whole understanding of family, ourselves, or our world. We can make a breakthrough discovery, as many scientists have done, and change the world.
I'm a huge fan of the great American poet from Amherst, Massachusetts, Emily Dickinson. She was a master in mixing comedy and satire to deal with the themes of death and immortality that run through all her work. This frail-looking woman was such a recluse that toward the end of her life she never left her room. Even the friendships that she had over the years were all through correspondence. She very much lived within herself.
She wrote a fantastic little poem many years ago [Summer's Obesquites] that is a parody on the Trinitarian understanding of baptism. Matthew 28:19 describes Jesus imploring his disciples to baptize the nations in the name of the father, the son, and the holy ghost. Jesus was urging everyone to share the good news of Jesus wherever they went. We hear this "Great Commission" often being repeated.
What Emily Dickinson did was not only charming and intelligent but also extremely poignant. She took the text from Matthew, "In the name of the father, the son, and the holy ghost," and wrote a poem, using the same beginning and ending: "In the name of," and "Amen." But she totally changed the nouns, and therefore changed the whole feeling of the concept of Trinity.
She was a very well educated woman, very well read and well versed in Scripture. I am sure that as a woman she probably had approached religious life as many of us, including myself, have done. In the verse from Matthew we have the concept of baptism, and the way we baptize the nations of the world is by issuing this statement, "In the name of the father, the son and the holy ghost." I am sure Emily Dickinson, when she read these lines, must have asked herself, "Where do I fit in? Where is the mother? Where is the daughter? Will the holy ghost have a form? Will it be male or female?"
When I hear those words, that's what's going through my head, and when various sisters, mothers, and women of the world read those words, I know they feel exactly the same thing. The concept of the Trinity for a lot of women is a very cold, archaic, patriarchal, and male-based concept. There is no mother. There is no sister. There is no warmth.
But what Emily Dickinson did was that she rewrote this with a hint of parody and, as a lot of literary critics have said, with a hint of blasphemy. She replaced the three nouns -- father, son, and holy ghost -- with bee, butterfly, and breeze. So Emily Dickinson's rewritten version of the call to baptize the world reads, "In the name of the bee, in the name of the butterfly, and in the name of the breeze, amen." It's important to understand that she's writing with a sense of humor, comedy, and parody. What she is doing is actually provoking us to think, to visualize this call to baptism and understand it in a totally different way.
She's saying, "This is what we are called to do, to baptize the world. But, you know, I'm feeling a little lack of the feminine spirit here. What if I were to use words that come from Mother Earth, from the things we experience?" Instead of the knowledge of the Trinity as something archaic, old, and patriarchal, what about bringing symbols of spring into this scriptural, rewritten, Emily Dickinson version, bringing symbols of spring and new life, like bees. You see bees in the springtime going from flower to flower. You know that winter has melted; you know it's time for new life, time for pollination.
She brings the beautiful concept of butterflies flying around: a symbol of beauty, something that's light and airy but inspiring at the same time, something that moves. When we are moved, we say, "I have butterflies in my stomach," right? We feel something.
In the Father, we don't have any sensory experience. We have the words the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, but none of these words convey sensory experience. In Emily Dickinson's version, you have the concept of spring: the bee, the butterfly, the breeze. You can actually hear the bee buzzing. You can see the butterfly is fluttering. You can feel the breeze that is caressing everything about your being.
What she was visualizing in this quiet room that she allowed herself to be confined in, she was seeing a whole new way of understanding religion, something different from the old, male-dominated concept of Trinity in which the holy spirit, the aspect of the feminine, has no form. She spun it around and brought in a feeling of spring: the sensory, experiential themes. She leaves us with the last word. Breeze is a noun, but also it can be a verb.
There is a feeling of movement. We can accept not just the old understanding of Trinity, but we understand Trinity as something experienced through nature or an appreciation of Mother Earth. It's a way to be more in tune with where we are and who we are.
I feel that Emily Dickinson wrote this little poem because she was yearning for the feminine, yearning for an understanding of where she fit in with the universe. At the same time, as you read it, you don't realize you are getting stung by this beautiful and seemingly sweet poem. Because it's so charming, you don't realize the sting until you're done reading it and you think about it.
The sting is there, to provoke us to think of something that's missing in the concept of the Trinity. Emily Dickinson was dealing with something that all we women have had to deal with in our life of faith. That's why for me sharing this breaking news with the world that the True Parents are here is an incredibly profound reality. Emily Dickinson was toying with an idea bordering on the limits of blasphemy, really tackling this question of where women fit in as mothers and daughters. I have felt the same way, and women of the world have felt the same way.
But with our True Mother in place, in the form of the True Parents, we have incredible breaking news in that we can feel represented. We feel validated; we know that we can be great women of God, just as our fathers and our brothers can be great men of God. That is a great blessing for all of us, brothers and sisters.
When we're thinking about welcoming True Parents tomorrow, we need to be mindful that many times we lose sight of how precious we are because of all the things that are going on. But if, like that supermom, we stop for a moment, take a breath -- inhale and exhale -- and realize that regardless of what situation we're faced with, we can always visualize and dream our way out, then we can be the agent of our own changed life. We can make the decision to say, "This is what I would like to see happen," and then implement it every day.
As we approach the holidays burdened by many things going on, please rest assured that our Heavenly Parent is with us always, and also our True Parents are here with us. No matter where we are in life, no matter how frazzled or demoralized we might feel, we can always come back to the simple things in our life of faith -- love for God, our Heavenly Parent, and love for True Parents, who are working with us every day. Then from that core, as we believe in ourselves as divine beings who can be the agents of our changed lives, we have the ability to be anything that we can dream ourselves to be; we have the ability to accomplish everything that we visualize ourselves accomplishing.
All the things that make our life seem hopeless and impossible go away when we stop, rest, and give ourselves the space in that dark room -- of our bedroom, our prayer room, or a moment of silence -- to realize how special we are and allow ourselves to exercise our blessed given ability to dream and visualize. Then everything that we can see in our minds can become a reality.
When our True Father preaches to the world that the peaceful world we are waiting for is right around the corner, I very much believe that. He has often said that we are holding a peaceful world within our hands. I am a firm believer that we need to work on ourselves, taking the time -- while living for the sake of others -- to take care of ourselves so that we are always ready for the next day and always ready to see the face of love.
Many times I take love as an acronym, and instead of a loving and caring, organic person coming at you, sometimes the person who comes at you may be loud-mouthed, L, organic, O, vituperative, V -- just wanting to fight it out with you -- and E, and incredibly energized bunny ready to do battle. Sometimes our loved ones come at us like loudmouthed, organic, vituperative, energized bunnies ready to do battle.
I know how the supermom feels: "Here comes my love -- loud-mouthed, organic, vituperative, energized bunny Number One child." Sometimes you feel absolutely overwhelmed. But when you do, remember to give yourself time to imagine, to be creative and dream again, just as True Mother reminds us. Take that step back. Close the door. Go into the bathroom and say, "Do not disturb Mommy for five minutes." Even when I went into the bathroom, my children would find me, so what I had to do was go into my closet. They would say, "Mommy, come out of the closet." But that's how I found my space.
We all need that. I remember sometimes people I grew up with actually said, "How can you do that? How can you give yourself five minutes like that? You need to live for the sake of others. You need to give everything."
Many times I took their advice, but then I found out that I was dying for the sake of others, and I was really no good to anybody, not even to myself. That's when I went back to listening to the voice in the back of my mind, which was my mother, saying, "Breathe, child. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Rest." So now my children know when I say, "I'm going into my closet," that means, "Mommy had a tough day and let's just chill until Mommy comes out because she will be a much better mommy when she comes out."
We have this understanding in our family; many people may laugh about it, but it works for us. I want to encourage you to find your own closet. It's okay. Give yourselves the space to take care of yourselves. When we do, then we can give more and more.
In this community that we call our own, people are so beautiful but very different. As we celebrate our time with True Parents tomorrow, let's try to come together in the revolution of heart and in the understanding that we have something precious within our midst. That small woman from Amherst, Massachusetts started something in a very few lines that has moved the hearts of lots of young women, lots of women literary students all over the world, and also me. That poem moved me immensely, and I started dreaming of a life of faith where women were duly and honorably represented. For me as a student of religion to experience it unfolding in my lifetime through the great work of True Parents and the beautiful, simple, and elegant work of our True Mother is incredibly exciting.
As we come together as a community, let us put aside our differences and realize that, just as that tiny woman started a revolution of heart because she provoked us to feel what we thought about God, Jesus Christ, and the holy ghost, our True Father and True Mother also want us to realize and feel how precious we are and what a great opportunity it is to live our lives honoring God, True Parents, and each other. And they want us to know that in living such lives we can help to usher in a great and loving peaceful world that we all so want and have all dreamed of for so long.
Once we know we can visualize it, we know that this reality is within our hands. So, brothers and sisters, as we come to the end of this year, we need to think about what this year was all about. It's an incredible time for all of us as we are coming to the end of another year together with our True Parents, when we are actively participating in making a remarkable history, and not just history but providential history.
Brothers and sisters, please have a beautiful Sunday and know that just as Ben sang so beautifully before the sermon, every time you wake up, you are so beautiful to me. This is what God is saying to all of us. "Take your rest, child, at night, and the next morning when I see you, you are so beautiful." That is how God sees you. That is how True Parents see you, and that is how the True Family sees you.
We've got a lot of great work to do, right? But our True Parents are coming, so what are we going to do? We're going to give them the greatest round of applause and let them feel our love, let them feel the spring dawning in America, let them experience not just the beauty of the bee and the butterfly but also the breeze, the caress, the love, and the care that we are sending their way. Can we do that? Thank you.
The Gentian weaves her fringes --
The Maple's loom is red --
My departing blossoms
A brief, but patient illness --
An hour to prepare,
And one below this morning
Is where the angels are --
It was a short procession,
The Bobolink was there --
An aged Bee addressed us --
And then we knelt in prayer --
We trust that she was willing --
We ask that we may be.
Summer -- Sister – Seraph!
Let us go with thee!
In the name of the Bee --
And of the Butterfly --
And of the Breeze -- Amen!