Monday, August 11, 2014

Musing Mondays: Pride & Patience

My grandparents moved in with us early July.

Since then, it's been a whirlwind of tennis camp, slow driving, house hunting, and eat-out dinners for my entire family. With two extra people and their lives added to our household, along with my family's usually busy summer schedule, it's been kind of a struggle for me. Here's why:

  • My grandparents are old and on the slower side. As for me, I move through life in fast-forward. I'm forever knocking things over and not explaining myself correctly because I move so quickly. 
  • My grandparents are forever trying to feed me. I love food as much as the next person, but I'm not used to being offered it every time I pass by the kitchen. 
  • My grandparents speak broken English. Like I've said before, I'm Korean American, who has been thoroughly raised American, and I relate to American things more than I do Korean things. (Which is kind of sad in itself, but it's another issue.) I could not speak Korean if my life depended on it. We can communicate, but it's hard.
And then there's the whole matter of my impatience.

See, I'm not very good around slow people. Whether they're disabled or have language barriers, I have a super hard time being patient with them. For example, we've been eating Korean food a lot, because my grandma knows how to cook only that, and I prefer American or Italian food over Korean food. My grandpa rarely ventures over 40 mph when he's driving, and it's exasperating for me because I like people who drive fast, and I like getting places early.

But the reality is, I'll probably be slower than they are when I'm their age. I will probably never be as good a cook as my grandma, and as fast as I move through life, I'm not a quick thinker. My reflexes are like a drugged bear's, only I'm not drugged. When I start driving in about seven months (I turn fifteen and a half in March, which is when I can get my learner's permit), I'll probably go slower than they do. I'm a scaredy cat, and I'm a complete hypocrite.

I'm just so used to doing things my way that it's hard for me to adjust to anyone else's. Selfishness plays a role as well. I'm often thoughtless and many times I act as if the world revolves around me. (Spoiler Alert: It doesn't.) I'm introverted, and I'm short (both in terms of stature and in attitude).I'm coldly brusque. I bear very many similarities to Elsa, minus the white hair and the ice hands.

But recently, I hope my pride has come to be broken down at least a little. 

The other night, we ate takeout Chick-Fil-A. 

Along with my sandwich, I got a bag of carrot sticks out. (I'm healthy like that.) I set the bag literally six inches away from me on the table, and I could reach over and grab a couple of carrots anytime I wanted. But my grandma kept taking the carrot sticks out of the bag and moving them to a plate that was a mere three inches from mine, saving me about three inches' convenience.

Even though it was such a little thing, it annoyed me immensely. I saw it as a challenge to my independence, all three inches of it. I like getting my own carrot sticks. I'm used to getting my own carrot sticks. I don't need anyone to give me any carrot sticks, because I can get them myself. I don't want other people giving them to me.

Later, when we were done, I ran upstairs with my siblings so I could show my brothers the new Lecrae singles on Spotify. Partly through "Nuthin" (which is an awesome song, by the way), I said, "Oh, great, we should help Grandma [Halmoni in Korean] clear the table. Did you guys clear your stuff?"

They said, "Yeah," and I said, "Well, we should go help them clear the table." We're used to clearing the table, and I always get sort of a guilty conscience whenever I don't do it.

"They said they didn't want us to clear the table," one of my brothers said. "When I offered, Grandpa [Haraboji in Korean] said it was okay, he'd do it."

"He did?" I said this incredulously. "We can clear the table by ourselves. Why do they do this for us?"

"Because they love us," my brother answered.

So I'd done it again. I'd completely missed the point of why they were doing this for us. It wasn't some challenge meant to purposely arouse my feministic tendencies. It wasn't some random whim. They cleared the table because they loved us.

They take me to tennis practice because they love me; they take me to the library because they love me; they buy me Chick-Fil-A because they love me. They bring up old memories because they love me; they watch my younger siblings when my parents and I go out because they love us. They try to bond with me because they love me, asking me if I want to learn to sew. (My grandma used to be a seamstress.) Even a staunch language barrier and a couple of generations won't deter that love. So all along I've been missing the point.

The point is that even though I sometimes don't like the initiative that they take and the actions they show, it's love. (I don't have to like it.) Jesus died for me, and my grandparents are showing me Christ when they clear the table and cook me food. 

I can't believe I've missed it all along.


  1. I didn't know your grandparents moved in with you ッ

    1. They moved to our state. They found a house near here and are going to move in at the end of the week.