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By Diana Kim

Photo by TheWalkingDead CastPictures

There is a difference between recovering and not doing anything. Oftentimes, we think that it is in not doing anything — being a couch potato, lounging around all day — that we recover after a long day or week. While there may be a time and place for such leisure, this will not always be the optimal way to recover.

Gym enthusiasts know that you cannot excessively work out 7 days a week. You need to include recovery days. You cannot smash out personal record workouts every day without allowing your body to rest. It is during these recovery days that the microtears you made in your body during the previous workout heal, allowing you to become stronger. But if you work out without any rest, this will negatively hurt your gains and you are more prone to injury. Then does this mean that during recovery days, you are sitting around, not doing anything? Not necessarily. You should include restorative movement during your recovery day — this can include walking and stretching. You should eat food that will help fuel your body so that you can recover well. You should get good sleep, since this is when your muscles recover. If exercising is a regular part of your life, then you know that these aren’t practices you sprinkle sporadically during random seasons: they are themselves a part of your lifestyle.

Recovery is not just for the body after a tough workout. Recovery is necessary for all areas of our lives: my body, mind, and spirit all require moments, days, weeks, even months of recovery.

As many people can relate, the last few years have been quite difficult for me. Burnout, uncertainty, anxiety — my internal systems seemed to be running at maximum capacity, until I had no choice but to shut down. And by “shut down” I mean zero productivity — sleeping most of the day, barely responding to emails, not making any progress in my studies. My life came to what felt like a screeching halt, and while I know that it was necessary for me, perhaps there could have been a better way for me to approach this season of recovery.

While I know my body needs time to recover, I had forgotten that my mind and spirit also need time to recover. As I incorporate recovery of mind and spirit as a regular part of my lifestyle, I do believe that there are times when doing nothing can help. But there are other practices that can be incorporated to promote recovery. Just as walking can be helpful for physical recovery, I have found walking to also be helpful for mind and spirit recovery. I have found music and podcasts to act as mind and spirit supplements to promote recovery. I have found meditation and breathing practices essential for recovery. 

Mind and spirit recovery are not for the success or gains of intelligence or spirituality. Rather, recovery is for me to be able to function as a human being. Admitting to myself and the world that I need time to recover (body, mind, and spirit) means having the humility to know that I have not yet achieved maximum capacity, but also that I am on a journey and am getting stronger as I progress.

Diana Kim is a pastor of a local Korean church in Torrance, CA. Her primary goals in serving are to teach and equip the next generation to be passionate for Jesus and to live out His passion and care for the world. Diana is currently a PhD student at Fuller Theological Seminary and is majoring in Christian Ethics. Her current research area of interest is Asian American feminist ethics.

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By Wendy Choy-Chan

Photo by Nathan LeClair

A friend shared with me an operation that left him with an open wound on purpose. If the doctor had stitched up the wound in this particular situation, the scar would easily lead to another tumor growth. Therefore, the wound was left to be healed by having the body regrow the flesh from below. God’s design of the human body is amazing! I wonder if some emotional wounds need to be healed this way — in that forcing the wound to close up would potentially lead to more turmoil in the future. Thinking back, I have had a similar experience. 

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By Tina Teng-Henson

Who knows whether the present storm

Is something the Lord will quiet with a whisper

Who knows whether He will quell the raging seas 

and the tumult within you both

He knows the stormy paths 

that brought your lives together

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Togetherness: Join Me

By Emi Iwanaga

Photo by Jeff Vincent

““The rich man also died and was buried. 

In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up 

and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 

So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me

 and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water 

and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’”

…between us and you a great chasm has been set in place,

 so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, 

nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭16:22-26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

JOIN ME

The extreme togetherness

The ultimate togetherness

The final togetherness

One place or the other

One person not the other

One Presence or total absence

Togetherness extreme, ultimate, final.

Reset, adjust, expend

Accordingly

Emi Iwanaga served thirteen years as a missionary in Amazon Valley in Brazil, over 20+ years as a children’s ministry director, women’s ministry director, and pastor’s wife, and is currently a spiritual director.

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By Jerrica KF Ching

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

If I think of the word togetherness, the word that quickly follows would most likely be family.  Then if I think about all the times my family spends together, from childhood until present day as an adult in her early thirties, the clearest memories of togetherness are for Christmas.  Christmas was the one holiday where my parents would invite family from both sides of the family over to our home for a big Christmas dinner.

Growing up in Hawaii, there is never a concern about inclement weather delaying flights or car rides, since my entire family was on the same island.  My mom would say grace for the food while my cousins took turns lighting the advent candles.  My dad would prepare a giant ham for dinner for all of us, and my siblings and I oversaw some type of Christmas game; either we’d have a game where you had to unwrap a present while wearing oven mitts, or a Christmas edition of Family Feud.  This Christmas dinner tradition was always in existence, and even though there were some years where one or two family members couldn’t make it, it was always something that we knew would happen in our home.

Of course, as with most families, COVID-19 changed the way Christmas would look and how we could celebrate togetherness.  Initially the idea of not having a Christmas party felt very strange, however even though some restrictions were lifted this past year in 2021, my parents opted to not have the Christmas party, as it would’ve felt stranger to hold it instead.  Even if we followed all state guidelines for limiting the number of people over at our house, would that be considered responsible?  Would it be safe?  What if someone became sick after the party then how would we feel?

I think the sheer amount of questions regarding health and safety outweighed the desire to be together “like normal” – whatever normal now meant.  What I think my family quickly learned in 2022 however, was that togetherness didn’t have to center around Christmas time.  As we are now in September – three-quarters of the way through another year – I realized how fortunate and blessed my family and I are that we were able to make the most of technology, our airline miles, and time off with one another.

We learned that it doesn’t have to be Christmas to feel that sense of togetherness.  We don’t need a huge party of twenty family members to feel as though we are having family time.  Instead, it can be the five of us — my parents, my brother, my sister, and myself — being very intentional about a family dinner when I’m visiting during an off-season month to Hawaii and playing card games.  Or it can be a zoom call with everyone to catch up on what we’re all doing.  Whether in person, or apart from one another, I think the biggest contribution of togetherness is the intention to have it.  To come together as family or as community, to create memories, relive pastimes, or to simply be with one another.

It was incredibly easy to feel as though something was amiss when plans needed to shift due to a global pandemic.  I think many of us may have even felt “wrong” that we weren’t spending time with people in the same manner that we are used to be it through ministry, fellowship, or stewardship.  Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” – a refreshing reminder that regardless if we are with families, friends, or community, and regardless if it is big or small, God is there in togetherness with us.

Jerrica KF Ching grew up on the island of Oahu, Hawaii and currently lives in the beautiful state of Washington, working as a licensed mental health counselor and Asian/Pacific Islander mental health specialist, working with children, teens, and adults within the AAPI community. She graduated with an MA in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling from George Fox University, where she is now an adjunct professor and supervisor. Her research on racial colorblindness has been published in The International Journal of Social Science Studies.

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By Melanie Mar Chow

Photo by Scott Swigart

“togetherness: the pleasant feeling of being united with other people in friendship and understanding” (Cambridge Dictionary)

Recently, I awoke from an afternoon nap to the sound of a drumline. I live two blocks away from the local high school. I played flute during my secondary education and learned the role of the drumline is to set the tempo. Hearing the drums as a band member signaled the leader’s whistle to signal the start of making beautiful music together. Each band member understood the importance of their notes coming together to become a symphony. 

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By April Yamasaki

Photo by Joel Olives

For the last few years, I’ve chosen a key word or phrase to help give focus to my year. I don’t think of these words and phrases as goals to achieve, or as new year’s resolutions to feel guilty about when I don’t measure up. Instead, my key word or phrase often represents what I hope for the coming year.

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By Ajung Sojwal

Photo by yrjö jyske

There’s a certain assumption of purity, maybe even holiness, around the notion of simplicity.  But, the other day, it dawned on me that the state of being simple, uncomplicated, with freedom from guile, which the dictionary calls simplicity can be a dangerous allure. Dangerous, because such an imagination devoid of subtlety, complexity or diversity has no capacity for transformation. 

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By Angela Ryo

Photo by CLAUDIA DEA

Ever since reading Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster as a teenager, I have tried to practice simplicity as part of my spiritual life. And over the years, I have discovered that living a life of simplicity helps me to recognize and nurture the richness and complexity of my soul. I think that’s the paradox of simplicity: the lesser I own on the outside, the fuller I feel on the inside.

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By Casey Iwanaga

Photo by Alice Popkorn

God’s love is simple
Everything else is tough
He just loves, its not forced upon or mandatory
Whether we want His love and acceptance, its there
When life gets challenging its there
When life is joyous its there
Its simply there
Always
Waiting for us to accept it

Casey Iwanaga is a senior at the University of California in Merced. Her father is a retired pastor currently serving as Chairman of the OMS Holiness Churches.

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