Articles From the April 1995 Unification News
My Korea: Reflections on our Homeland
by Daniela Wetherall-New York City
It was the end of summer, 1985 in Italy. I had just come back home from a cruise in the beautiful waters of the Southern coast of Turkey and was eager to know from one of my two younger brothers, what he had experienced during a spiritual retreat that he mentioned he would attend that same summer. Thus, after a beautiful family reunion and lunch, Fabio (my brother) and my mother (to whom he had already witnessed a couple of weeks earlier) sat close to each other and while standing a few feet apart from them, I began asking him questions about his mysterious workshop. I have always been a person full of interests in many things and truly enjoying a full life of searching for what could quench the inner thirst I carried in my heart. Moreover, I would oftentimes find myself pondering about the nature of God and would wonder what I would have done had I lived 2000 years ago and met Jesus at that time. Would I have followed him? My brother Fabio, on the contrary, had sort of a shy personality and he was often made fun of, for being a bit too spiritual, to the extent that I had nicknamed him, the Great Saint! As I asked him to share his experience with me, in a quiet but very firm voice he said, "Daniela, Jesus is back on earth. He is Korean. His name is Sun Myung Moon and he is 65 years old." No more, no less. I took a deep breath as I tried to control the tears swelling in my eyes, fir I knew he was speaking the Truth. Then, at that very moment, I had a spiritual vision in which I saw a huge white board with a sentence written on it, "Now, you will know the answer to your question!" That is how I embarked on my spiritual journey.
Since I have a linguistic education and had the chance to learn several languages while growing up, I had often considered the possibility of studying Aramaic because it was Jesus' language, but for "unknown" reasons I had not yet done so and hence began studying Korean instead, knowing that this would have helped my understanding of the Messiah. Then, when I attended the Blessing in Korea in January 1989, True Parents gave us the blessed opportunity to live in Korea and so my husband and I did stay there for over three years. As I moved back to the Western world in the Fall of 1992, I knew that the greatest part of my heart would have always been in Korea and to this day this is still the case. Hence, when I was kindly allowed to participate in the IRFWP conference that took place in Korea at the end of April last year, my heart and body leapt in jumps of great joy and anticipation. Thus I flew to Korea a few days prior to the conference so as to be able to fully savor again the taste of "home."
I must admit that while on the plane I felt as excited as a little child, and had the agony of a person who had been separated from her native place for too long a time. While landing, I saw the gentle hills surrounding Seoul, and could not help but shed tears of longing as my heart screamed "HOME!" Do you remember E.T. ? Same feeling!!! I had never experienced anything like this, even when I go back to Italy, for in those moments my happiness stems from the fact that I will see my parents soon and not because of the country itself! For a couple of days, I visited cities and places I had stayed in those three years, meeting friends and spiritual children, always accompanied by this feeling of being comfortably and cozily at home, with my own people. As it had often happened before, people approached me to ask for information or directions thinking that I was "one of them," maybe because that is really how I feel. As I was plunging back in the Korean realm, I could not help but wonder about True Parents' feelings toward Korea. The land they love so much and desperately try to unite and save, and yet the very land that is still struggling to recognize True Parents' greatness!
Once the conference started, even though my mind was totally absorbed by the given responsibilities, my heart could not forget that all this was indeed happening in Korea. The conference itself was indeed a highly inspiring experience that broadened my heart even more and the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Founding of our Church was an even more profound experience and gift from Heavenly Father since I also happen to celebrate my birthday on May 1st.
At this point, I would like to share with you the conclusions I have reached after years of a personal journey in trying to understand the reality of "Why Korea." Of course, Divine Principle greatly explains the many "whys" of the providential Korea and you may want to freshen up the notion of that very chapter, but what I mean here is a really "person-to-person-why-Korea" experience. Most Westerners in approaching Korea or even Korean people, commit a common mistake which often leads them to false and inappropriate conclusions and serious misunderstandings of this unique country and people. That is, they look at Korea from a horizontal perspective. This may sound to you like "the discovery of hot water" [as an Italian saying goes], but it is indeed the very core of the problem.
Nobody has ever denied the fact that Korea is a struggling country, plagued by many of the modern diseases which affect our societies worldwide, and even Father is very aware and honest about Korea's reality. While I lived in Korea a famous American professor referred to today's Korea as the "Damsel in Distress," fully capturing the state of this fast growing country. Then, "Why Korea?"
Our aim and goal in life, especially in a restorational life, is to come to resemble God's heart the most. And here lies the secret of "Why Korea." This nation's long history of suffering and internal- external turmoil has shaped and clearly molded the nature of its people. This nation's pride lies in its people's unceasing willingness to succeed, in its painstaking endurance, perseverance and forbearance of domestic and foreign atrocities, in their genuine simplicity. Yes, Korea is a simple and genuine land. Genuine in its roughness, genuine in its chaos, in its ignorance of Western understanding but clear in the complexity of its vertical relationship which are evident in every aspect of society. Korea is a land of dignity, a land of honor and loyalty, of pride and respect, of thoughtfulness and mindfulness, but above all, Korea is a land of Shimjong and this is what really permeates the core and root of its people.
This realm of Shimjong, for those who understand what I am talking about, is poignant and vibrant in its diverse manifestations. For instance, in its language, a language of "we, us, ours," not "I, me and mine." In their commitment, that goes far beyond the mere selfish interest, where the motto "One for all and all for one" still has a meaning. In the every day life, where you can always find a lending hand or "back" to be carried on! It is indeed a colorful land of beautiful heart, that we must understand, praise, love and help. A great Land that has given birth to the most precious persons in the universe, our True Parents. A great Land of Shimjong. Our Parents' Shimjong.
When time gets rough and I find myself sojourning in the valley of tears, I stop and think about Korea but most of all I find comfort when I recall that moment of ten years ago, when I was told "Jesus is back on earth. He is Korean. His name is Sun Myung Moon and he is 65 years old." And God I thank.
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