This post is for National Blog Posting Month, which was brought to my attention by the lovely and hilarious Essaytch. They have something different every month and for April, the objective is to write a letter a day for a month. I’m obviously not writing a letter a day and I’m more than a week late. No matter…I’m participating. I don’t know how many I’ll do, but I plan on doing at least a handful (Quite literally five. Maybe I’ll do more.) Letter-writing is a very foreign activity for me. I actually don’t remember the last one I wrote. This should be fairly interesting.
I figured since you’ve written me so many letters over the past few years, it’s probably time that I write you one. I realize this is in my blog and you’ll probably never come across it, and you have trouble with English, but whatever…it’s the thought that counts right?
First off, I have a confession about those letters you’ve been sending me. I haven’t read them all. Many are still in their envelopes, waiting to be opened. I have kept (most) all of them though. The fact that they’re all in Korean makes them a bit difficult for me. It takes much longer to read than English. (And part of the reason why I haven’t written back is because my Korean handwriting, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary kind of suck.)
I even went through one day and re-ordered them chronologically. By my record, you’ve been writing since August 30th, 2004. (I’m sure it was a little earlier than that, but I used to throw them away after reading them.) They’re kept in a folder labeled “Letters from Dad,” inside the secured box of hanging file folders in which I keep all my important documents. They’re right next to “Receipts” and “School Records.”
I feel a little more guilt every time I toss another unopened letter in there. On more than one occasion, I’ve imagined myself reading them, in tears (manly ones), the night before your funeral. And I still don’t open and read them. I’m a horrible son. (And I still don’t open and read them.)
I realize you’re trying to get to know me and connect with me. You’re a relatively old parent. 59. And you’re not too healthy. And I know my minute-long phone conversations aren’t sufficient responses. But Dad, the thing is, I don’t know you. And I don’t mean that in an emotional, tear-jerking, abandoned-by-parent, daddy-issue, emo-child kind of way. I mean it in the plainest, matter-of-fact statement kind of way. I just don’t know you too well. (Or Mom for that matter. But that’s another letter. A letter that may not be made public on here.)
I know being a pastor (or a pastor’s wife) is a tough job. Your church was, and is, very small. And your congregation has been — frankly — grating, tiresome, stressful, ungrateful, and selfish. But many of them have also been genuinely good people (and have shown it). I also know that sometimes family is the first thing that’s sacrificed for church and congregation. I will never say that’s right but I will say I understand. But it still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t know you. It also probably has a lot to do with just your personality and culture.
I don’t know how exactly you’ll take this, but I’m kind of…not going to church. I actually can’t tell you with conviction whether or not I believe or not believe. I have so many issues with faith, God, Christianity, the church (and church-goers), doubt, evidence, truth, untruth, and a whole bunch of other things. But don’t worry too much Dad, I’ll work through them soon. And if what you (and basically our entire extended family) do for a living is really based on truth, then I figure I’ll be in line with you guys eventually.
I realize that if I really told you this, you will freak out to no end, most likely affecting your health. And it’s quite possible that I may then have to read every last one of your letters.
This also explains why I sometimes take forever to translate your sermons by email and end up sending them at 2, or 3, or 4 in the morning on Sundays. It’s not entirely because I’m having a hard time doing it like I say am. Much of it is because I’m conflicted with what I’m doing. I don’t feel right dictating what sincere, genuine members of your congregation will hear on Sunday mornings. I know it’s your sermon, and I’m not the one reading the translations anyway, but I still don’t feel what’s said should come from someone who’s as unsure about his faith as I am right now. But I eventually get them done. And I guess I’ll continue doing them. There really aren’t that many options for you guys. I really hate doing them though.
Onto another topic…Dad, I want to be a writer. I know you probably want me to be a pastor like you. But c’mon Dad, look around. None of my cousins are pastors. It skips a generation. Our kids (mine and my cousins’) will probably be pastors…just like their grandparents. But we’re the free generation. Or maybe we’re the “Lost Generation.”
Hemingway, Eliot, Pound, Joyce, Fitzgerald…Kim. That doesn’t quite look right. But don’t be mad at me for trying my hardest to make it fit, and look right, some day. (My last name is a girl’s name, Dad, in case you didn’t know. I don’t have a problem with it anymore, but kids used to make fun of me for it, a long time ago. It was stupid and it really wasn’t that big of a deal, I assure you, but maybe I should’ve told you about it. Perhaps we could’ve talked about it.)
But yes, I want to write. Maybe it won’t be fiction, or even as an author. But Dad, I think my future will have something to do with writing. I’m not even sure about all that yet though…and I really have no clue what direction I want to, or should, go in with that.
Well…this is getting too long. I’m supposed to be reading right now. I have an important class discussion tomorrow and I’m kind of sleep deprived these days as it is. But I got too into writing this letter that you’ll never receive. But this was good…and I think it was worth it. I’ll cram the reading and get it done tomorrow.
There is a lot more to be said. I think this is an all right start. You and I, nor anyone else in our family…we’ve never been too good with expressing our love for each other. Whether it be through words (even your letters), or any other means. Maybe we’ll get there someday.
Your son, Michael