more than gold

This phrase stuck out to me when I was listening to Lady Antebellum singing “Never Alone” for the first (second?) time during my first (second?) day here in Seoul:

May your tears come from laughing
You find friends worth having
With every year passing
They mean more than gold

While true friends are of course worth more than gold, the phrase brought to my mind all the things in general that you can’t put a price on. Or even if you can, the meaning of it still doesn’t come across monetarily, digitally. Like the two sides of the word “value,” or “worth.” I’ve mentioned this to people before leaving, but I really do want to make the most of this year, to honor what I’ve been given and to see everything in gratitude, no matter what stumbling blocks or disappointments I run into. Living thankfully is something I’m constantly learning.

That’s all looking forward though. On the other hand… perhaps another thing that struck me was in coming to realize the value of what you already have. If you listen to the song, it’s a blessing song–kind of in the category of I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack, or You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban, but going the opposite direction, or… hm I’m sure there are many others but they’re not coming to mind right now. (Btw, the rest of the second verse rounds out with: May you win but stay humble / Smile more than grumble / And know when you stumble / You’re never alone.)

Anyway, sung from the perspective of someone who’s loving and caring for the intended listener, the song reminded me of all the blessings I received before embarking on this project, half a world away from home. And it’s strange to use the word “home.” I don’t think Southern California ever felt like home to me until this past year, between 2009 and 2010. My room, my house, the town and its urban counterpart, it all seemed like fragments of a perpetual summer camp until recently, and maybe that’s a big part of why God had me back there for almost two years after college instead of anywhere else. It also certainly makes me all the more prone to homesickness, which I’m not used to, but then again that feeling of all the comforts which await you at home does hit you all the harder when you get plain sick. (I pretty much had caught something the next day after arriving.)

Aside from physical health, I’ve also run into a few other bumps, already, in my first week here, and so I can’t help but think of all those lovely things I was given before coming as gifts to give me strength and sustain me. My warm Sedaqah group, and each wonderful person in it… they’re smart and funny, but best of all they’re sincere, with kind hearts and ready smiles. I don’t want to compare before anything’s even happened, but I really do think I’ll be hard-pressed to find the same degree of community here (as uncomfortably spotlighting as the last week was ;). My friends, people from college who stuck with me in that strange four-year bubble and are still intent on being with me now (yay for Skype!), those from even before who haven’t forgotten our ties, those unpredictable ones that seem to fall in your lap, and those just new but feel close as anyone (hi 姐姐).  My family, with my mother who learned a new recipe for my last magnificent home-cooked dinner just to satisfy my half-joking request. I don’t often find it easy to appreciate my family the way I should, but I seem to be learning that the amount of care I receive on those days (hahaha, it really is true, you get treated best at the bookends) isn’t something that ebbs in and out depending on the time; it’s constantly there, constantly full. It’s just transparent then.

Not to be cheesy (and I really do hate the cheese – I almost didn’t name this blog what it is because I detest the cheese so), but all those little things now seem like little glowing pebbles in my treasure box of memories, little reassurances I can peek at when I’m feeling discouraged or weary.

morethangold isn’t the perfect name, but it captures a lot of what I hope for, beyond any of the planning and surmising. I’m going to be missing a lot of things over the next year. Two weddings, a baby birth, a changing church, another year with my parents… things I would love to be there for and made me feel like I should have stayed. At the same time, I can’t forget I’m holding just as much in possibilities here. May all the love I receive(d) really help me in discerning what’s worth more than gold, both in the hand and in the sky.

I always seem to write more than I plan to (visually) (and though it’s only two posts’  precedence)!! I have got to learn to cut this down. I promise, pictures for next time.


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