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Column: The Winding Road
[ Issue 104 Page 6 ] Monday, February 21, 2011, 23:07:04 Hye-mee Suh stephswts1005@gmail.com

At heart, my nature alternates between two professions: a dreamer and a waddler. Just like how butterflies escape through our hands when we try to catch them, our life is a continuum of dreams that come and go. After breaking the embryonic shell, the reason that it hurts so much after our first fall from grace is that we are not naturally born with an emotional skin. It doesn’t matter how lively and delirious I am in front of people, there is always something at the end of the day which makes me feel weak. Every day I am fighting, trying to breathe, hoping for the cruel memories to drown through my veins as quickly as possible. I take a deep breath, and listen through the silence. I can hear my heart whisper, “It’s gonna get better...” Underneath the starlight, I feel the light shining through my head, and then, inexplicably soothed.

At this moment I want to borrow the words of the screenwriter Hee Kyung Rho to relate to you what exactly suffuses my mind during these nightly reveries. In her memoir “Those Who Deny Love, Guilty,” Rho asks how one could understand the emotions of the wretched if he has not been hurt himself; how could he condole those who have failed, if he himself has not just crept away from a bottomless abyss of despair?

What a reversal of thought. People spend their hearts and lives trying to find the straightest, the most infallible route to ensuring success. We, as the notorious progeny of over-solicitous parents who exhort that one must be educated in order to be respected in this society, must know that better than anyone else. However, if it was true that we could act as the willful authors of our own biographies and live life by what is written in the old sagacious book, then life would turn out to be quite predictable. And nobody wants to read a predictable story.

If life could be compared to climbing a mountain, we would find many paths laid out like a labyrinth ahead of us. There would be the direct route stretching far to the horizon like the trunk of a tree and there would also be topsy-turvy curves leading to who-knows-where, crossed and interweaved like a web. For preference’s sake, we would like to take the shortest route, but in reality it doesn’t always turn out that way. The shortcut may surely be tempting, but maybe we need to take those serpentine paths for a reason, whether that is to learn a lesson, to meet new friends or the love of your life, or to set the stage for the start of something wonderful, before we reach the final destination and call it a game.

So present condition has it, I dare say, that I have learned to embrace some of my sorrows. It is easy to waddle away in the mud that precious time which has no promise of return, but being joyful is taking a stand. Where will this journey ultimately lead to? I wish I knew. Hopefully there will come a time when all those tortuous paths and winding roads taken converge to a point where they suddenly make clear sense.

You know what the old men say, that life is a bittersweet thing. As long as we continue to live this unfathomable mission called life, we won’t stop beating our heads with a hammer. Stumble on pebbles and forage through the forest to search for that one light of hope as we might, to me living a significant existence is really more about how we manage to overcome our imperfections and surpass mountain after mountain. When we finally reach that top, the struggles that we have been facing in the world down there will seem so small. I wish you all a happy life.

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