Shared by Jeney Park-Hearn
What have you been learning lately?
One of the challenges I have as an Asian American woman is resisting the Superwoman image. For instance, there’s a part of me that wants to be a good mom and wife and a domestic Martha Stewart. There’s another part of me that says I have to excel in everything — be successful as a student and hopefully as a teacher or a counselor, eventually. On top of that, America says you can do anything you put your mind to, and that you can and should have it all. With all this, I’ve been learning how to be ok if one area of my life isn’t excellent. If the house is tidy but not immaculately clean, it’s ok. It’s living into the truth that I am enough, and that this truth is not contingent on anything. It’s not because my house is in order, or that I make yummy food, or that I wrote the best dissertation. It’s that in my being, I am enough. Many of us Asian American women run around from one thing to the next, driven by this expectation that we can and should be excellent in everything. If we keep living like that, there’s a cost.
Living out this truth can be really hard, and some days are better than others. I remember working at home one day and my daughter Emma was with me and wanted to play with me. I had all this work to do, but something inside of me just said, “Jeney, your daughter is not going to want to play with you forever. There’s going to be a day that comes when she’s going to want to play with her friends. Just stop this unrelenting pursuit of whatever it is you think you want to be, and just play with your daughter who thinks you’re the best thing on earth.” A few years ago, I don’t know if I would have had the wisdom to stop and have a pretend picnic with make-believe food with my daughter. Even now, I don’t always make the right decisions. But I have found that it’s easier to live with the consequences of our decisions when we can say, “I’m good enough.” That’s the challenge – wanting it all because we think we’re supposed to have it all. The truth is that we don’t have to have it all to be enough.
Jeney Park-Hearn is a full-time PhD student at Claremont School of Theology studying Practical Theology – Pastoral Care & Counseling. She is also part-time staff at the Community Church at Holliston as pastor of community life, as well as a wife and a mom. Jeney graduated with an MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary and a master’s of theological studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Her interests include Korean American fiction, and she loves hiking and the outdoors.
Interviewed by Joy Wong