Last Tuesday a boy who graduated from high school and left the children’s home in 2014 returned to the home to try and find me. I had started teaching him English back in 2006 when he was in 5th grade and enjoyed spending time with him until he graduated and left the home. Along with English I also taught him basketball and we had a lot of fun together. He visited a few times in 2014 after moving out of the home, but then he disappeared and I lost track of him. I would ask some of the other graduates about him, but none of them knew what he was up to.
I was resting in my car when he came into the children’s home facility. When I opened the door to greet him he stopped in his tracks and greeted me formally with a bow (like Koreans do to a superior or to someone they don’t know well). I jumped out and gave him a big hug and told him I missed him. He smiled and gradually relaxed. He wanted to talk, but I had to direct basketball practice so I asked him to stick around. After the practice, I took him out for a meal because I could tell he hasn’t been eating well. We had a good long talk and he was able to open up about some heavy things with me. He kept expressing his gratefulness for my time.
At the end of our time together, he expressed how nervous he was returning to the children’s home. We hadn’t seen each other for almost three years and he shared he was worried I would be upset with him or reject him. He shared he was relieved when I called his name and opened up my arms to him. I’ve seen him now a few times since last Tuesday and he even came out to my church this past Sunday. He has already repeated to me a few times how nervous he was last Tuesday and how thankful he is that I greeted him so warmly. This is a boy that I never once rejected and never once had to discipline harshly, yet he still had fear.
At church on Sunday I gave him some homework to do during the sermon (the sermon is in English, which he speaks very little of). I had him read a couple chapters of the Bible and then write some memories that he is thankful for. He read the chapters first, but then got stuck on the memories. After staring at his paper for a while, he leaned over to me and whispered, “I can’t think of anything.” Such sad words, but so many other orphans have said the same when I had them do the same activity. I told him, “Then think about some of our memories together and write what you are thankful for.” After sitting there for a moment, I saw him begin to write diligently on the paper. Amidst a lot of darkness from his life (fear, loneliness, rejection, depression), he began to remember some of the good.
The end of Romans 12:9 reads: “Cling to what is good.” The literal translation of the word “cling” in the Greek means “Be glued to” or “Be cemented to.” The devil tries to steal our hope, our joy, and our sweet memories. The devil tries to inject lies into our minds to turn us from connecting with people. There is a reason we are commanded to “cling.” We can’t forget the good memories God has given us. We can’t forget the reasons why we love and appreciate people. We can’t forget His love. We must cling. We must journal and reflect. We must meditate on His goodness.
One of the chapters I assigned to the boy was James 1. James 1:17 reads “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” After he finished writing the memories he was thankful of, I had him reread that verse. I told him that every good memory he wrote was from God, and the more he reflects on the good in his life the more he will see God.
Reflect on the good in your life. Reflect on your friendships and your loved ones and the good memories from your past. Cling to what is good.