There's no question I'm happy to be in Korea right now. In Korea I can make enough money to pay off my debts and save some money. If I stay here two years I can save a lot of money by my standards. I also like my job and am liking it more and more. Loving it is a possibility. The 3-9pm schedule is annoying for reasons like not being able to go to Feast on weekdays, but it's also kinda awesome. Getting enough sleep is not going to be a problem for the first time in my life! I'm also making some good friends here and meeting sweet, loving people that I like being with.
Having said all that, I really miss China. I wasn't thinking about it but then I read an article a friend posted on Facebook about how the Chinese are searching for spiritual meaning more and more and how the society and even the government are opening up to that aspect of life. My love for China came flooding back. That's always the way it is. I don't think about it for a few weeks and then it just floods me. It's like remembering a past girlfriend that I never really got over or someone close to me who died.
I still feel like that sometimes, that my life in China died, that I died in some ways when I was ripped from my life there. Feelings of bitterness and regret still come up in my heart and pass away when I think about it.
Maybe I wouldn't miss China as much if America or Korea needed me as much. The fact is I was much more useful to the Faith there. In America I could speak the language and I was integrated into the community but it was just so damn hard to find waiting souls there. I guess I could find ways, though, in the long run. To be honest, in the last 1.5 years there I wasn't really trying. I was a little bit, um...preoccupied. So maybe things could be much different if I go back there to live.
As for Korea, well...it reminds me of hearing about communities in Africa that had been sorta "run" by pioneers for years and had recently developed to the point of being able to run all their own affairs. They didn't really need the pioneers anymore and, in fact, the pioneers were encouraged to let go and step into the background and let the locals take care of everything. They were ready to shine!
A week after I arrived here I went to a very moving reflection gathering in Seoul. They had experienced a lot of victories and confirmations in their last, and perhaps first, cycle of their Intensive Program of Growth. I got that feeling then--that the best thing I could do for this community is to let the Koreans take care of as much as possible. Of course I should still teach on my own and bring seekers to events, but if they can join a Korean-speaking study circle it's better. It may be difficult for me to start a study circle of my own because it will need to be in English, at least the discussion portion, but, y'know, we'll see.
So in Korea I'm not pioneering. I am not a pioneer. I'm just an American Baha'i living in Seoul who will teach the Faith as best he can and who will help the local community as best he can while still keeping my distance and letting them do their thing.
In China I was a pioneer. I was needed. I was in a place with amazingly high receptivity. Korea and America are remarkably similar in their mediocre receptivity and people who are committed to another religion already. In China people were hungry for spirituality and meaning! I would just meet people, get to know them a little bit, and they would join study circles like it was no big deal! Then their friends would join! I had many study circles going in China, really good ones. I was able to form new ones with little effort compared to the States. Korea seems to be the same as the States in this regard too: people are wrapped up in their lives, their hobbies, their passions--all wrapped up tightly in themselves--and it takes more to get them interested and into join a study circle.
China spoiled me and now I know what I'm missing. I don't know. I'm in Korea for the money, and that's a good reason to be here, but I'm having trouble seeing how I can be of much service to Faith here compared to China or even the States.
I see guys I knew in China marrying Chinese Baha'i girls and settling down there, building their lives there, living their dream, and feelings of envy and bitterness arise in my heart. They arise and pass away. I was so sure that that was going to be me! Everything was going in that direction. Just like those guys, I knew I wanted to pioneer in China. I felt deep inside that I was called to do just that. As long as I pursued that, everything else would fall into place.
Things were going that way. Then they came to a screeching halt, and before I knew what had happened I was wrapped up in American life, wrapped up in growing debt, wrapped in depression. I got lost in a dark maze and I should be grateful that I've found my way out and am building my life again. And I am.
Maybe all the suffering, all the bad luck, all the dashed dreams are a mercy from God. Me being a pioneer in China is nothing to Him compared to me being a consecrated servant of Baha'u'llah, tempered and purified in the fires of many tests.
I do feel like a different person now. I feel calmer, less interested in all the clamor of the world. I feel like I could just meditate on a flower for a long time, just be. I do feel more peaceful. A coworker today said that she feels peace coming from me and it calms her. That was a huge compliment. It also confirmed a bit what I had been feeling. I really do want the world less and God more now. Perhaps my experiences have made me weary of the world, as 'Abdu'l-Baha said tests were intended to do. I just have to let go and give myself to Baha'u'llah and forget about all my own desires. Let them all go! They're just a burden. Freedom and bliss is to be guided and moved by His will. Since I know that now and may be on that path, maybe things aren't so bad after all!
The Sounds of Christmas: Outro
3 years ago