*Note: Read the earlier tab (Chapters 1-21) before starting on Chapter 22.
Chapter 22 (Faith)
I wonder if he knows. I wonder if Desire knows how crazy I am about him. I wonder if he has any idea that he’s taken control of my heart for the whole time I’ve known him. It’s already been over three years since that’s started; wow. I wonder if he knows, or better yet if he cares. I wish he would care. I wish he would care so much that he’d fly the thousands of miles to be next to me in a heartbeat, claiming me as his, wrapping his arms around me and never intending to let me go. That’s my dream. I want him to know that he’s all I want. No other guy in this world can compare to him in my eyes. No one else can make me feel how he makes me feel. As selfish as it sounds, I want him for myself. Great. I’m back to where I started: 3 years ago at the Far East symposium when I met Desire for the very first time.
For the past few weeks, Desire has been at airborne school away from YN. He seems so happy there. Once in a while, he’ll send me a message telling me how he’s doing, and usually he throws in what’s happening in the next few days. The last message I read from him was about a week prior. He said he had three jumps (out of airplanes) left in the airborne trip. That entire week, I was a mess.
I was so worried that he would hurt himself. I ran through hundreds of possibilities, none of which being good for my paranoia. When I went to Bible study with Hope that Wednesday, Strength and Understanding asked if there were any prayer requests to close out the evening. I so desperately wanted to raise my hand, to ask for everyone in the room to pray for the cadet I wish I could call mine, but I was too nervous to ask such a strong prayer in front of everyone. I didn’t want to break down right then and there, either.
After Strength closed out everyone at the Bible study in prayer, I asked Understanding if she and I could talk in private for a second. She smiled sweetly, nodded, and right away took my hand - and walked me out into the hallway outside the door where no one could hear us.
I told her about Desire being at airborne school, jumping out of planes, and she told me how she went through the same anxieties and worries. I was kind of confused, so she went on. She said Strength went to the same airborne school one summer years and years ago. I explained how I felt, being extremely nervous and worried and vulnerable all at the same time. She told me she completely understood how I felt and not to worry. Understanding definitely understood. She told me that it’s normal to feel so protective of someone you care so much about. She assured me that Desire was surrounded by all the safety I could imagine: professionals being there in the plane, with him while he’s in the air, and there with him as soon as he lands. She helped me feel a lot better about the whole idea of Desire jumping out of planes. She told me that she would pray for Desire, and she would pray for me to not worry and be so anxious.
After she finished, Understanding went back inside - and I said I needed a minute to gather myself before I could go back to the rest of the Bible study party. Before I could even start to think about planes again, Hope walked into the hallway. She looked like she was looking for me. As soon as she saw me sitting there, she dropped to her knees and hugged me. She knew. Hope already knew I was hurting, aching from missing the guy I love so much. Without saying a word, she pulled away and looked into my eyes. It was like she was looking straight into my heart, because she knew. Hope’s eyes filled with tears and that just topped it off for me. Our eyes started filling with pre-waterfalls, but then she told me not to cry. She told me everything was going to be okay and that in a few days it would all be over. All I could explain to her was how helpless I felt to not be next to the one person in the world I cared the absolute most about. She nodded and agreed. She understood exactly what I meant.
Hope and I have a connection like that. We may not have the same story line, or the same people in our days, but we are very similar. Peace and her brother tell us all the time how similar we are, in the way we act, the way we smile, the way we feel. They both say that Hope and I have a lot of emotions, and reading them on paper just makes it so much easier to comprehend. Peace told me once that reading anything I write looks like emotions splattered on the pages of my notebook. In the sense of having deep feelings and big hearts, Hope and I are the same. Especially when one of us is hurting, the other one of us can tell almost instantly, which makes things faster in the comforting process. If it wasn’t for Hope and Peace, my heart wouldn’t heal nearly as fast as it does.
Chapter 23 (Hope)
Joy finally came home. Two days before he arrived in RK, he called me more than ever before. Because I was working, I didn’t pick up and I honestly didn’t want to be more nervous than I already was. A part of me was angry. Why, all of a sudden, did Joy have a desire to talk to me? I felt so distant to him now. I avoided Joy when he wrote me messages before, so I didn’t think I had to bother writing back now. I didn’t want to write back because I didn’t feel like they were sincere anymore.
Love is sincere, isn’t it? If someone loves you, you should be able to tell by their actions, more than by how you feel about it, or what they whisper into your ears. My friend at work took my phone so I wouldn’t have to think or stress about it anymore. For the rest of the day, I just kept my mind off of Joy.
The next morning, I could’ve sworn that he was arriving on that day. My body was more nervous than my heart. I was vomiting in the restroom of my work and I was dizzy for the whole day. I was mad that my body reacted to the anxiety that way. I truly did try to calm myself down. While I was in the restroom, a lady came in and heard me. She is a parent of a really good friend of mine. She prayed for me right there in the restroom, for me to be bold and have peace inside of my heart. Joy ended up not arriving that day, so I went to sleep angry at myself because I freaked out all day when I really didn’t need to.
The next day was Father’s Day and also my mother’s birthday. It was Sunday, so I went to Chapel and then had lunch afterwards. I got a text during the middle of the day and it was Joy. He had asked to talk with me, but I explained that I couldn’t because of Father’s Day and my mother’s birthday. I planned to meet up with him the next day.
The next day came and I brought Faith with me to be around us as we talk. I was coached by my parents as to how to talk to him. So when I saw him, I smiled and opened my arms for a hug but he just looked at me plainly, ignored my gesture for a hug, and asked if we could talk outside.
I stepped outside with Joy, and he asked why I didn’t answer his calls. I explained to him and he seemed to understand. We talked about him telling me to just be friends. He tried to say we weren’t done, and I explained, yes Joy, being just friends is classified as breaking up with me. He tried to explain that he didn’t mean to put us in this situation and that I just misunderstood. I was so confused because I asked God that if we shouldn’t be together that he would put it in Joy’s heart to break up with me. And he did, so I was very confused hearing him talk about not meaning to.
I ended the conversation by saying that I really couldn’t tell him anything because I honestly didn’t know anymore. He asked me for a second chance, asked me if we were really done. I felt like the tables were completely turned around. I was so mad that he flipped it, so it sounded like MY choice - not his. He broke up with me. HE did it, not me. He left and the first thing I said to Faith was, “I AINT EVEN MAD,” with a big smile. I wasn’t going to let all the confusion get to me or ruin my day. The rest of the day was spent laying poolside with Faith, soaking in all the sun.
The next day Joy and I saw each other was on Wednesday during Bible study. He asked to talk to me again that night. It’s not that I didn’t want to straighten things out, but I was resistant because I don’t like to associate bad things with things I love. Anyway, he insisted and he talked to me; he explained that he really did break it off with me. I was glad that he finally admitted it. I was also sad and broken from before, so it actually felt like he broke up with me all over again. Nevertheless, I was glad to begin the closure process.
Chapter 24 (Faith)
I prayed for him, constantly. I prayed away my anxieties and fears of my desire getting hurt. After Desire finished his last few jumps, he messaged me everything he was feeling at that moment. He told me he felt so alive, and how awesome it was to have that experience. I didn’t respond much, so he knew something was up. He told me that he was fine and there was no need to be nervous for him. “You can stop worrying now,” he told me. “Not worrying about you is easier said than done,” I admitted.
A day or two later, Desire sent me a message saying he was his way back to see his family in the islands. He stayed there for about a week and a half before he had to fly back to YN to finish up his school semester and end-of-the-year assignments. The whole time he was at the islands, I could almost feel his happiness all the way in RK.
We talked almost every day. He would make an effort to catch me online at least once a day, and it wouldn’t just be a ‘hey’ or ‘goodnight.’ Our conversations would last until one of us were falling asleep or heading out to go somewhere. I loved it. It was exactly what I needed after not talking to my desire in so long.
The day when Hope and I went tanning at the pool, Desire sent me an unexpected message. I asked him in the middle of the week if he wanted anything from RK, because of how often I’ve been going out shopping. I told him I was up to buy anything that he wanted and to send it to him, so if he wanted anything then he should let me know. Hope and I went for dinner when he replied with the cutest response: “The only thing I want from RK is priceless.” That made my day. My cheeks were getting sore from smiling so much. Hope kept laughing at me because I couldn’t help myself from smiling. I kept re-reading that response from Desire; it had been so long since he said anything like that to me.
Ever since that day things between Desire and I have been different in a good way. It’s almost like there was never a ‘break’ between us, like we never stopped talking. We’ve been sending messages almost daily, back and forth. I’ve been so happy lately, you can ask Hope or Peace - you can literally see a different in my smiles. I hope this is just the start, no more ‘breaks.’ I like being happy.
I wish he knew how much of an effect he’s had on me and my life. If only he knew every thought I ever had of him, maybe then he’d completely understand.
Chapter 25 (Hope)
Integrity and I grow closer and closer together. My feelings for him have grown as well, but I know that we shouldn’t progress because of everything that I’ve been going through. If I really cared for him, then I wouldn’t continue to spend so much time with him. It seems like we both only want each other more after seeing each other. He explained to me that he would wait; wait for me to tell him that I was ready to be with him. I knew that it would only hurt him if I chose to date him. The only thing that is keeping me from saying, “Let’s go for it,” is that saying goodbye, not seeing each other, not being able to be held in his arms when I’m tired, hurts.
He has high hopes for us if I would choose such a decision. He hasn’t been in my situation, he hasn’t experienced long-distance and I don’t want him to endure the pain that I did. We are great friends but a part of us wants to be more. He understands why I can’t be more than friends. I move from RK in a month and I don’t even know if I will ever see him again. I want to, but I won’t know.
I don’t understand how I trusted him so quickly. Faith, Peace and I had lunch together and as soon as I explained what Integrity and I wanted, Faith busted out with anger. “Why would you want that for yourself?!” She hated what I went through with Joy and she hates the pain of missing Desire. After that break out, I realized, if I really do care for Integrity, I wouldn’t do it. We’ll stay in touch of course, but we can’t date. I want to so badly. But when I think of the reasons why I want to, I realize that I’m only sad and I want comfort. I can only hope that Integrity and I meet again someday.
Chapter 26 (Faith)
Desire’s been back at school in YN. After speaking to him daily, when he was in the islands, to currently not speaking to him on a daily basis was too strange. I know it’s just because he’s super busy at the military school and all, but why must they deprive me of him for such long periods of time? I swear, they’re trying to kill me.
One of the last days Desire was in the islands, we got on video chat for a bit. We didn’t even talk for that long to each other, but once in a while he’d take long looks straight into his webcam and he’d smile at me. Right then, it was clear to me. That’s all I needed. I didn’t need him actually saying any words – or even making his excuses for why he hasn’t been on to talk to me lately. Those eyes and that smile were all I needed to be happy.
He had a lot of people over at his house. Huge masses of family, church friends, siblings, and friends of every family member (or so it seemed) were all squished in that house. It was a party. People would randomly barge into his room to say “hi” and then “bye.” Little kids would run in, “Desire! Hi! Hey! Hi! Where should I hide?! Can I go in the closet?” If not something along those lines, we’d be interrupted by someone saying “Can I hide under your bed? I’m going under your bed, okay?!”
The little youngsters were so adorable. One little girl came in and sat next to Desire on his bed. After talking to him for a little bit, she finally noticed me on Desire’s screen. She was a shy girl. Her eyes suddenly got really wide, and Desire giggled at her before introducing me. He told her to say “hi” and waved to me – wanting her to follow his example. I smiled and waved back at her. She didn’t seem so scared anymore. Desire looked down and over at her, put his arm around her for a cute hug, and sweetly tapped her forehead with a kiss. I couldn’t help but smile; it was just too cute of a picture.
The girl ran off to find her hiding place before the other kids came to find her. I kept trying to stop stupidly smiling at Desire, but it was no use. He was so sweet. I hope – whether it’s sooner or way into the future - that I would be the one he hugged and comforted, giving kisses sparingly.
Chapter 27 (Hope)
The day before Joy left back for OC, he asked me if he could walk me home after Bible study. I thought about it for a while, and finally decided that it would be good for us to talk it out and have some closure. I went to Bible study and I received a text from Joy explaining that I should just get a ride home with someone else. I was so angry. Why would he do that? Why would he get my hopes up of having good closure, then kill the hope with the memory of being ditched?
After playing a few games and having the delicious dessert that Understanding made, I decided to make my way home. I let Integrity know and I said goodbye to Joy and everyone else. Understanding realized that I didn’t have a ride home or anyone to go with me and when Joy noticed, he offered to walk me home. I was frustrated because he didn’t want to walk me home and now he did.
The first few minutes were very awkward for me and I only wished the time would speed up. After a while, he asked me, “Do you really think that it was God’s will for me to break up with you?” I replied, “Well, I have nothing else to believe. I prayed and asked for God to put it in your heart to do so, if that was His will, and you did so.”
I could only think in my head, YOU broke up with me, I did not do it. I never would have done it. I wanted to work hard for us. When I realized that Joy did not want to work hard for us; that’s when I broke apart. We talked a little more and he admitted that he didn’t really want to break up with me. He believes that it wasn’t supposed to happen.
Either way, it happened. I cannot take it back. He cannot take it back. I told him not to worry and to just move on. He asked me if I still loved him and I told him, “If you stopped, would I have stopped?” I didn’t respond blatantly, but I knew he would understand my answer. I had to move on; I had to try to forget, letting my heart stop loving him.
We hugged each other and then I let go.
We agreed to be good friends, and that he wouldn’t have to be cautious about talking to me. So the next day we talked more and then the next day even more. I know that I probably will see him when I move. I got accepted to a university in OC for the upcoming fall semester. I actually applied there when Joy and I were still together, to be near him. But now that we’re done, all we can be is friends.
Chapter 28 (Faith)
Summer has been moving along slowly. Smooth sailing. I sleep late, I wake up late. I even wake up so late that the afternoon sunshine is usually my wake-up call. I have days free to do as I please. Most of the time I read my summer books, listening to radio podcasts, hang out with Hope and Peace, and talk to Desire. I so easily forget how much I enjoy summertime.
I had a Starbucks date with Hope today. It’s been a very long time since we’ve sat down together outside of Bible study, so I looked forward to this date all weekend. Right before I left my house to start walking, I called Hope to make sure our plans were still in place. At the end of the call, she finished with, “We’re on our way.” It took me a second to realize what she just said, but I finally asked, “We?” She said Integrity was with her and coming too. “Great.” I thought, “An awkward hour with coffee.” Insert sarcastic excitement face here.
The dates with Hope are supposed to be able to vent everything off our chests, so our minds are clear. Normally, we have Bibles and notebooks with us in case we need to write down or look up references. How were we going to talk about Integrity and Desire with each other, when Integrity was going to be there staring at Hope, listening to every word?
I left my house, but I no longer wanted to go. I called Peace to tell her the surprise Hope was bringing along, and asked if she could come with me, “rescue me,” so that I wasn’t completely awkward sitting across from them. Peace laughed and said, “Nope, I wouldn’t want to go either. Nope. Nope, I don’t want to go. I refuse. Call me after you get back.” Thanks, Peace. “Ugh. Let’s just get this over with,” I thought. I texted Hope when I was almost there, saying it was going to be super awkward. She somehow didn’t understand.
I walked into the cafe, and sat down with Integrity and Hope. Already awkward. Integrity said hello, but I just smiled. I didn’t know what to do. Super awkward. Great. After some moments of silence, I got up to get a caramel macchiato. I semi-prayed in my head as I was walking, questioning why the heck I was even here. “God, help me. Get me out of this place. When I sit down, please make it so it’s not so strange to be sitting there. I’d like to still talk with Hope today. Please help Integrity understand our conversations, and help him not to judge. Give me the courage to speak normally, as I would if it were just Hope and I. Please?” I walked back to the table and sat myself down. Integrity didn’t seem so intimidating anymore.
The rest of the hour was surprisingly great. Over time, we all opened up and super awkwardness was no longer there. It was different, but who said change is bad?
We shared our favorite Bible verses with Integrity and his new Bible; he seemed so happy to read each one. Hope and I shared our newest found quotes, as we usually did. All of our chatter probably made our table the loudest in the whole place.
Rewinding to a couple days back, Bible study this past week was a little different. Strength didn’t get back from work until late, so the whole night was just fellowship. The house was filled with conversations and laughter into the night. People were playing games, enjoying the delicious dinner Understanding put together, and happiness was immersed throughout the home. It’s amazing being in a place with all other believers in Christ, brothers and sisters through faith. The bonds we all have with each other are so beautiful; it’s hard to put into words.
After eating, instead of playing games, I sat next to Save. Save is our friendly giant. He stands at about 6’5” tall, but I swear, he wouldn’t hurt a fly. We sat on the floor, comparing leg lengths, when my phone buzzed to life. Save and I both looked at my phone screen, but before I could cover it up, Save ‘aww’ed at me. Out of nowhere, it was Desire sending me a text message. The rest of the evening, I held my phone tight in my hand, waiting for text replies. I may have looked very strange sitting in one spot in the middle of the floor staring at my phone all night, but I hadn’t been so happy in weeks.
I’ve always wanted to have the cute, back and forth “I miss you,” “I miss you more” fight. He started it, I swear - and now I can cross that off my list of things to do.
Chapter 29 (Hope)
Integrity and I spent most of our free time with each other; in some cases that could be the leading causes of wanting someone. He went to the hospital one week. I was with him every day except when he went to the ER late at night. My parents are concerned for me. They worry that I spend too much time around him.
In many ways I am disappointed with myself for being able to love spending time together. I should be broken-still. Right? I should still be contemplating all that has occurred and passed away. I should still be drenched in the non-happenings of what I thought would be, but instead I am devoted to Integrity.
Nobody wants us together. If he really wants me, if I really want him, it will have to wait.
Chapter 30 (Faith)
In the next few days, my family decided to go on a summer vacation. We hadn’t been on a trip together in a while, so what better time to fly somewhere random and relax at a nice resort? My parents quickly booked tickets to some islands close by, PI, so it wouldn’t be too pricey.
My reoccurring thoughts: Why is it as soon as Desire and I start texting on a regular basis again, do I have to leave and be out of range for RK Wi-Fi? I don’t want to leave and be even farther away than I already am from Desire. I want to stay right where I am, thank you.
The day before I left for vacation, I told Desire that I didn’t want to be away for so long. I was scared that he would lose interest in me in that one week I was MIA. As soon as I told him this, he told me I was being ridiculous. “That would never happen,” he said. He told me to go, have fun, relax, and spend time with my family. I did just that.
That entire week in PI, I spent each day poolside or at the pier where the resort hit the ocean. I wrote in my journal so much and listened to tons of music, while enjoying the calmness of paradise, and soaking in as much sun as possible. I prayed for peace and serenity. I prayed to God to keep me calm with no stresses or worries, so I could relax and enjoy my time away.
My dad would ask me if I preferred being at PI or in “the islands.” Our last family vacation was a trip to the islands (the same islands that Desire goes back to see family), so everything in this week was a comparison to that vacation. Every time my dad brought up that question of here or there, without a second of hesitation, I’d say, “There.” My parents just looked at me. They didn’t know what to say. They didn’t get it. Yeah, PI was nice, but if we went to the islands, Desire would be there. The islands also have more civilization, more shopping, more beaches. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’d rather be there than here, I thought.
In a couple days, I’d be flying back to RK. I might as well enjoy it here.
Chapter 31 (Hope)
I had about two more weeks left in RK. I don’t want to leave this place. I have always wanted to live here in RK. My father would travel here when I was young and he would bring back strange snacks and gifts; I desired to live in the place where he explored. Now it’s time to leave. I am moving to OC, and the only reason I am going there is because I hoped for the better, which was being closer to Joy. I am nervous. Is there a more accurate word for this ‘nervous’? How about overwrought? I am completely freaked out, anxious, and sweating in awkward places.
To really make this fun, I have confessed to Faith about how I really feel about Integrity. Apparently, I’m not good at hiding my emotions for someone. For many, it is too soon to say that he is what I want, and love. For radicals, it is not uncommon and they are not surprised.
Honestly, I am scared to merely ‘want’ him. How could I? How could I ‘want’ him when all I’ve known is wanting someone and not having that person? Sometimes, I stop and think, why was I even allowed to meet him? I feel tricked because I knew that I would end up wanting to ‘want’ him.
Faith, Peace and I were out today at our favorite bookstore. We stocked up on journals and pens and other things to doodle and decorate our histories. I am going to miss them. I am going to miss their hearts, strong and full of encouragement. We decided to make YouTube accounts. I have to make one and record myself as I live life over in OC. For every one I post to Faith and Peace, they will reply back to me. This way we can still be connected with each other.
In that short time, I am bombarded by a myriad of tasks in order to prepare for school in OC. I am relieved and softened by Martin Luther’s words, “There are two days on my calendar: this day and that day.”
These days have surely flown by and I have only fourteen short days left here in RK. I just had a lovely blowout argument with my mother that caused her not to speak or look in my direction. It’s too bad, because it looks like I will be leaving without being reconciled. It makes this whole situation a bit more bitter. She is distraught with me because I have chosen to lie to her instead of tell her a truth that she wouldn’t want to hear anyways. Families are delicate and can be one thing or another. Sometimes I feel like they either build you up or slowly break you down.
This reminds me of a quote I read: “Every time you make a choice you are turning into the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and pace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.” - C.S. Lewis
What I want seems foolish because it may not be what’s best. It’s a great prospect in what is wanted in every life. I strive for more peace. Before someone can truly love another, they must be fully satisfied first with themselves. If they aren’t, they will only want who satisfies their primary desires. All love would be lost in that process.
Current state of mind: I must finish school, I must do well in school, and I must find a ‘family’ while I am in school in OC. I am nervous and scared and I would rather stay comfortable living here in RK without having a worry in the world. (Not that there is nothing to worry about because I’m sure I can come up with all sorts of things).
I wish I could be reconciled with my mother, so that I could feel more and more at ease with the new life that is ahead.
Did I mention that Faith, Peace and I are military brats? We are prone and known to be the best adaptors as young adults in this world. We are carried along in the backpacks of our parents as children so we are ready and not as fragile as others when moving to new places and new faces.
I am pumping myself up by saying this. Looking at myself in the mirror and giving myself a pep talk about how I will try until I cannot try anymore, and I will do until I cannot do any longer.
Current state of spirit: The only needed variable is God. I have yet to be proven wrong about how He comforts me. Comfort is only a small part: how He strengthens me, how He helps me, how He provides for me. “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining toward to what lies ahead.” – Philippians 3:13
Chapter 32 (Faith)
“Hope is waiting for something to happen, faith is believing something will happen, and courage is making something happen.” - Anonymous. Our story’s Hope and Faith both strive for courage. Hope is actually waiting for some things to happen, while Faith also believes some things will happen.
I heard a girl once say, “I just want one man to prove to me that they’re not all the same.” But for me, I know they’re not all the same. One man has already proven to me that they’re not all the same
Desire, I promise to love you when you drive me crazy, to respect you when we disagree, to support you if bad times come our way, and to always remember how grateful I am to have you in my life. I promise I’ll never leave, if you promise you’ll never love anyone as you love me. I wouldn’t be able to meet anyone as perfect as you any other way.
For a couple of days, Desire and I had been texting constantly. One of the days, we even got to a point when he told me he missed me times infinity. I told him I missed him excessive amounts and in response, he asked me how much that was. I told him he was cornering me (into saying I loved him). I didn’t want to say it, yet. I didn’t want to fall, super fast, for him again, or at least admit that I’ve fallen for him so fast again.
He “apologized” and asked me how he could make it up to me. After a while, I told him the way he could make it up to me would be to start calling me “his,” but he said, “Not yet.” He thinks we need more time. I asked him, “For what?” and he said, “To get to know each other more.” I was pretty confused by that. I’ve known him for almost 3 and a half years, I thought we knew pretty much everything about each other. I asked him, “Isn’t that what dating is for?” But after a bit, I understood why he said he wanted more time. Not just because of the lame excuse he said at first, but because he doesn’t want to ruin our chances in the future by trying (and possibly failing) at long distance. “Distance is hard,” he said. After letting him explain all that, I told him I understood, and that we had all the time in the world. Even though I just told him I was okay with waiting; what I actually wanted to say was, “I’m willing to wait for you, as long as that takes, because I love you.”
“Nobody said it was easy, they just said it would be worth it.” I don’t know where I heard that the first time, but I keep getting into situations where I end up referring back to it.
Peace and I have been talking about Desire a lot lately. Usually she ends up getting mad, though. She keeps asking “Why are you okay with him making you wait?” All I can say to answer her is, “because I don’t mind waiting.” One time, she kept repeating, “3 years. 3 years.” and all I could do was nod at her. I’ve gotten so used to waiting - years and years of waiting. But I can’t seem to let go or move on. I love him too much to do so. Peace keeps saying he’s a coward. She just doesn’t understand. I doubt she ever will, either. I don’t want anyone else. That’s why I wait.
Peace told me exactly what was on her mind, “I’m just tired of seeing the people I love getting hurt. If I was in your position, I wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning. I wouldn’t ever be happy. I’d always feel like I was in pain.” I said to her, “Well, by now, I’m pretty used to getting hurt. I’ve grown, almost, immune to the pain because it’s been so long.” I guess this wasn’t the answer she was expecting me to say.
At a church service one Sunday, a guest speaker was comparing lust and love. So on another day that Peace asked me (yet again) why I was okay with waiting, I told her what the guest speaker said. “’Lust is instant gratification, whereas love waits.’ I’m willing to wait for Desire. I’ve done it for years; I don’t mind waiting a bit longer.”
I don’t know what to do with my life; I have absolutely no idea. But I do know that I should put my faith in God, and trust him to make the choices for me. I need to stop trying to do it all myself. I need to surrender everything that I have to Him, but that’s been an issue for me. It’s never been so simple as to just surrender it all. I’ve only admitted that to Hope before now. Everyone else thinks I’m a girl with strong faith and that I don’t have any problems in my relationship with Christ but that’s because they don’t see past that. I guess you really do have to dig a little deeper to find out the important information.
I need to let go of everything, and let God pick up the pieces for me. I know that’s what I have to do, but I need time and help with all that. I love Desire, but I also need to trust that God will make it all work if he wants it to happen with us. I don’t know what to do with my life, and I don’t have any other choice than to give it up to my Father, and let him work in my life through me.
“Sometimes you just have to take the leap, and build your wings on the way down.”
I don’t know what God wants me to do with my life, and I don’t know where I’m going to end up going (traveling or living), but I do know that I want to go to Italy. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe I’ll go there to write, sightsee, and possibly even be a missionary there. I’ve been so interested in the language and about the culture lately, so I’m trying as hard as I can to teach myself part of the language. ‘Vi amerò fino al cielo cado’ is the latest quote I’ve learned. It means, “I’ll love you till the sky falls down.” I’ve realized that the quotes and phrases that relate to my life are the ones I memorize the easiest and fastest.
On a completely different note, Hope asked me to be a part of Integrity’s walk with Christ when she leaves. She wants me to help him with the “faith” part of his walk; she’s been helping him more with the “facts” and the Bible. I told her not to worry.
Integrity and I pinky-promised at Bible study to have Starbucks dates when Hope leaves. I promised that I’d be there for him whenever he needed me. Whether Hope was here or not, that is. Integrity’s learned so much in the past month; it’s really been a great surprise to see him so quickly dive into the Bible. He’s been so determined to learn so much. I love that I always see him with a Bible and journal now. Hope and God have done a fantastic job working in this guy’s life.
Chapter 33 (Hope)
Faith and I refer to God quite a bit, so we think it’s about time to explain how we both first came to know Christ.
I have been raised up in a Christian home all my life. When I was younger, I was involved in activities such as “Missionettes,” which is like Girl Scouts but for Christians, and “Bible Quiz” and. My parents attended church every Sunday and any other day they were available; they always brought my siblings and me along. I accepted Christ into my life when I was eight years old and was baptized that same year. When I was fourteen, I went to a weekend retreat and realized what I got into when I was eight. I was deeply moved about living for Him, rather than living for myself so I rededicated my life for Him. I continued getting involved in events at my chapel and also continued to foster a relationship with Him on my own. I didn’t succeed well in fostering a relationship with Him because I chose to be focused with other things, including school and friends.
When I was fifteen, I attended another retreat and I felt imprisoned for not letting go of my relationship with God, so I decided to become serious about my beliefs. My mother played an immense role as my mentor and gave me so much encouragement in reading the Word of God. She gave me Bible studies to work on during the school year and during the summer. Two of them I finished that year, one called, “Breaking Free,” by Beth Moore and the other called, “Esther”, which was also written and produced by Beth Moore. These kinds of Bible studies had DVDs to watch with homework during the weekdays. They required an abundance of my time; they involved me into the scriptures and how they were powerful in my everyday life. I came to love God. I loved understanding the deepness of His love; it never ends. I cannot even come to comprehend it.
1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”
After I graduated, I went to college and realized that it was sincerely up to me to continue my relationship with God and not my parents. As a child of Christian parents, most tend to follow along like little ducks after their mother. When they leave the household, they tend to fall back from what God has taught them while being in that home. Those children, who most of the time, have been blessed and spoiled, turn away from God for whatever vile excuse and forget. I do not want to forget.
I didn’t forget Him; I continued to press on towards the goal. My goal was to grow stronger in Him. My goal was to put my trust in Him, and not in man.
The past two years living here in RK have been the hardest. At first, I didn’t understand why but I’ve been more involved in Him since I have been here, so naturally I will be tested to reveal whether or not I am a true believer or not.
Chapter 34 (Faith)
I’ve grown up in a “religious” household; my mother’s family is all Protestant and my father’s family is all Catholic. But over the years, my family has slowly been falling away from going to church as a family and experiencing the journey of God’s love as a whole. For a long time, my dad was the first one to object to going to a Protestant service. He said things like… “I’ve grown up completely Catholic, and I’m not going to just change that and go to a service that I’m new to.” I understand what he means; that was always his choice. For the past seven or eight years, my family has not, once, gone to church together.
In 2005, my dad was deployed overseas and had to go there on military duty for about six months. It was hard with me, my mom, and little baby brother, who were trying to live on our own in the smack center of a big city in a house too big for our own good. One morning about a month before my dad was supposed to come home, I turned on the TV and breaking news flashed on. Headlines: missiles hit Baghdad U.S. Embassy Palace. Guess whose dad. ate, slept, worked, and did everything in that palace. Mine. I think those headline words will actually haunt me for the rest of my life. As soon as my mom and I processed the information that was just told to us, we were in complete shock and there was silence.
I ran upstairs and collapsed halfway down the hallway. I was screaming so loud that I couldn’t hear myself think, and all I wanted to do was sit there and cry out as long as my lungs would let me. The next thing I knew - I blacked out.
The next thing I remember, someone was holding a phone up to my ear. A man was saying, “Faith? Are you alright? It’s me. I’m okay.” I recognized the man’s voice; it was my dad’s. He got a hold of us as fast as he could, and explained that he was out of the building in time before the palace shattered down to pieces. He said to me, “I’ll be home soon. Stay strong. I love you.”
Since that one Saturday morning in 2005, I knew God was there. I knew for an absolute fact that it wasn’t just a ‘coincidence’ or some ‘good luck’ that my dad wasn’t in that palace. He could’ve easily been killed if it wasn’t for God telling him to get out. He saved my dad when he could have let him pass with all of the other people that lost their lives that day. But instead, He blessed my family with a miracle that day. When I opened my eyes, I realized that accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior, putting all my faith into a wondrous God, is the best thing I can do to stay safe and secure. That is when I truly started living my life for Him, not for me.
I thank the Lord every day for saving my dad. The only bad part about this incident though, is that my dad doesn’t believe any of it. He refuses to believe that he was saved miraculously and he refuses to believe he needs to go to church. My mother and I ask him whenever we have the chance, but he won’t acknowledge any need to know God or anything about the Bible. He’s not an atheist, but he’s not at all interested in faith.
My dad might not have any faith, but I do. I have faith that God can turn my father’s heart around and help him surrender so that my mother and I can see him too in eternity. I won’t stop reaching out to my dad until I know that he loves God as much as I do.
Chapter 35 (Hope)
It’s four in the morning and I can’t sleep. I’m usually able to sleep no matter the jet-lag but I guess not in this situation. I’m sleeping in the basement of my friend’s house in the city where Joy is. I tried talking to Joy a few days ago, but he didn’t seem to want to speak with me. It’s beautiful here. I saw three rainbows yesterday when I was leaving the airport. They reminded me of the devotional I read from Charles Spurgeon. He was talking about God’s covenant to us.
“By itself a cloud does not give a rainbow; there must also be the crystal drops to reflect the light of the sun. So, our sorrows must not only threaten, but they must really fall upon us. There would have been no Christ for us if the vengeance of God had been merely a threatening cloud: Punishment must fall in terrible drops upon Him. Until there is real anguish in the sinner’s conscience, there is no Christ for him; until the chastisement that he feels becomes grievous, he cannot see Jesus. But there must also be a sun; for clouds and drops of rain do not make rainbows unless the sun shines. Beloved, our God, who is as the sun to us, always shines, but we do not always see Him-clouds hide His face; but no matter what drops may be falling or what clouds may be threatening, if He shines there will be a rainbow at once. It is said that when we see the rainbow, the shower is over.”
I’m not saying that everything is perfect; I just felt like in a sense, for now, I can relax and have fun. When I saw those rainbows, I felt like the shower was over, finally. Of course, another awaits me, but it’s nice to know that the showers do in fact end.
My last day in RK wasn’t too heartbreaking, though I am already missing my family and friends that are so close to my heart. I spent the whole Sunday with Integrity again. He is so many things: kind, generous, contagiously happy, and charming. He gives so much to people, knowing that people don’t always give back. He puts others first before himself; he’s outgoing and vigorous in large groups of people. When I am alone with him, he is calmer and quieter.
That Sunday, we spent the day together but as the day was ending, I had to say good-bye. We said good-bye to each other outside. I might have been a bit fidgety; but who wouldn’t be? We hugged for a long time, he kissed me and I said good-bye. I caught up with Faith who was walking towards Starbucks for our last coffee date. She was sharp about what may happen between Integrity and I, and I felt a little foolish for being too hopeful again. But I still plan to be hopeful. I can’t be hopeless just because one person proved me wrong.
I understand that my hopefulness hurts me the most, but it also keeps me going. Subconsciously, I knew Joy wasn’t ready. I always denied it and made myself believe that it was amiable and we were leveled. Here, it looks the same, and I hope it isn’t. How is wisdom effective next to hope? Where is the line drawn from wisdom and foolishness?
While Faith and I were at Starbucks, she looked surprised and said that Integrity was coming inside. I turned around and saw him breathless. He came up to me and hugged me again; he held my hands and asked, “Will you wait for me?” I told him I would and he hugged me again and got up and left.
That was the last time I saw Integrity.
All I write about in my journal is him. I wrote him a message the day I left but I haven’t been able to get online lately. That night, I did feel nervous but at the same time, I was not worried. Yesterday, after being picked up by my mother’s friend, she brought me to her home and I saw her sons. We all went out to dinner and went to the market afterwards. We came back to her house and I went to sleep. Now, I’m here in her basement, waiting for the day to hurry because I am wide awake. There’s no Internet, so I decided to write and watch “Pretty Woman.” I love this movie.
I just got to the scene where they get into an argument and she decides to leave. He tries to pay her but she doesn’t take the money. I think that’s when she really realizes that she loves him. He goes out to the elevator, apologizes to her and asks her to come back inside. I think what I like best about the film is the way he treats her. She is, indeed, a hooker, but he never ceases to treat her like a lady. A man doesn’t have to treat a woman as a queen or a goddess, but to treat her as a lady, as an equal, as some delicate being, is to accomplish something. If you are going to tell a girl that she is beautiful, she probably won’t believe you unless you treat her as if she is beautiful. I have to admit that I have a problem when someone tells me those words. When I am treated like a lady, like someone he respects, someone who is adored in an amiable matter, I feel beautiful. Being treated otherwise doesn’t assist to their words.
The light is finally coming through my window. It is officially okay for me to be awake. Six o’clock. I am not a morning person; you would normally never see me awake at this hour. Hopefully I can get Internet sometime soon so I could write to Integrity. Now I am at the part of the movie where he is asleep and she kisses him. She said that the only rule is not to kiss on the lips because it’s too personal. He wakes up and kisses her back.
Maybe respect is where relationships fall. The moment you stop respecting the person and their heart, that’s when you’re vulnerable to having arguments and other destroying aspects.
I can hear the boys upstairs; one is going to the same university I am going to and the other goes to the high school here. I’ll say it again: it is beautiful here. The mountains are gorgeous and the sky is amazing, and I saw stars last night! I haven’t seen stars for the past two years in RK; it’s too much of a big, polluted city. Here, the stars are totally visible and I feel like a little kid staring at them. I like the weather here too. It’s hot during the day but it cools off at night. So far, I haven’t met any new people. Hopefully, that’ll change soon.
Chapter 36 (Faith)
I just said good-bye to Save last week and Hope just the other day. Both of them were so hard to say “bye” to, but I know their time in RK is done - it’s time for them to spread love and happiness elsewhere. I will miss them like crazy, and no one will ever replace them. I know both of their departures won’t quite hit me for another few days when I try to pick up the phone to call them and they never pick up. Ring… ring…
On the other hand, I shouldn’t be sad for too long. God has blessed these two with such giving and loving souls, and it was such a pleasure knowing them both. I can’t imagine what God has in store for them, but I know it’ll be only the best. I’m also sure I’ll be seeing them again in the future. Just like Hope and Save, Father - make me a witness to those that don’t know you and a blessing to those that do.
I’ve been reading Nicholas Spark’s book, Dear John, lately. I’ve never cried while reading a book before. A lot of the book was so relevant to me, and Desire, and how we’ve been for the past few years. I’ll show you what I mean.
(Excerpt from Chapter 9) “It was perhaps the most idyllic week I’d ever spent. My feelings for Savannah had only gotten stronger, but as the days wore on, I began to feel a gnawing anxiety at how soon all of this would be ending. Whenever those feelings arose, I tried to force them away, but by Sunday night, I could barely sleep. Instead, I tossed and turned, and thought of Savannah, and tried to imagine how I could be happy knowing she was across the ocean and surrounded by men, one of whom might come to feel exactly the way I did about her.”
This is exactly how I felt the last week I was in the same country with Desire. In the Dear John book I was reading, I marked all over this paragraph - replacing all “shes, hers, men, and Savannah’s” with “he’s, hims, girls, and Desire’s.” I think the reason the book was so important to me, was because I could personally relate to long distance, loving a military man, and the pain.
Desire keeps telling me, “I promise.” Whether it’s about getting on to video-chat later, texting, the future, or just to mail something, it’s always finished with, “I promise.” I’m not sure why he’s picked up this phrase. I asked him why he’s been making everything a promise lately, and he said, “I’m not sure. I didn’t notice it actually. I don’t think I say that to anyone else.” I don’t totally know what that means, but he assured me that he keeps all of his promises. It’s kind of sweet, that he’s making me all these promises and I believe him when he says he’ll be keeping all of them.
Chapter 37 (Hope)
It’s been a little over than week since I’ve been here at the campus where my school is. School started without any major issues or setbacks. I am starting to meet people slowly but surely. Homework has already been piled up and I am trying my hardest to adjust here without thinking why I am here in the first place. The friends that I have so far are encouraging, kind, and always include me in.
I recently put up a video for Peace and Faith, and it seems like they are doing well during their last couple weeks of summer. So much has happened this summer; so much has changed this summer.
My roommate and I get along fairly well. The first few nights we stayed up talking about our lives, what we like, and what interests us. We found out that we both like playing cards so one night, we stayed up late playing cards for a couple of hours.
Integrity and I talk whenever we can, which is obviously not as much as we both want but we seem to be managing just fine. I miss him. I wish that ‘over-there’ could become ‘over-here’. I talked with my roommate about Integrity. He and I talked about marriage a few days ago. Weird though, I actually got nervous talking about it with him. I’ve talked about it before in other relationships, but with cute remarks such as which dog I prefer and about other things such as the essence of a home. However, talking about it with Integrity made me really believe that it is a strong possibility with us. I always find myself waiting for God’s ‘will’ for me so that I can hurry up and make decisions. I never have the guts to simply keep going, just by myself and when I do, it is with much tension. I am always scared to make “the next step” because I am not without some approval from Him. Approval is always good of course, but to get there, I must have something that needs approving, right?
So why not make it happen? Integrity wants to visit me here. At first, I thought that it was a bit out of high hopes, and I couldn’t imagine it really happening. “It would be too good,” I thought. Now, I decided that I wouldn’t go against it. I am not interested in dating without the intention of becoming married. If Integrity isn’t a prospect for me, than I shouldn’t be in this situation at all. He is a prospect, and if I truly want this, then I will have to pray harder. I will have to pray every day for his growth with Christ, and pray every day that we become closer and closer to each other’s hearts though we are oceans away. These years I have here in OC can be years of growth, apart from each other, so that when we have the chance to see each other, we can make wise choices.
Time has passed, and this is the second week of school for me. Just like the first week, it has gone fairly well. Schoolwork is a load and I am writing this chapter after a ton of notes and homework I had to do. I have joined two Bible studies to keep me going. I plugged myself into a group of people I can rely on, and I am just waiting for things to happen. My brother mentioned to me a while back that he had dreams of me moving here and prospering.
Chapter 38 (Faith)
I’ve accidentally tried calling Hope a few times in the past few weeks; especially when I’ve wanted someone to vent to at Starbucks. But I can’t seem to find the strength to take her off my speed dial. As stupid as it may sound, I feel like if I keep her name on my speed dial list, she may be closer to me than I think. I know she’s having a great time in OC, though. I’m happy that she fits right into a group of good people. I’m happy that she’s made some good friends already, and I’m proud of her for staying so strong on the move - Stronger than me, at least.
Throughout the last week of August, Desire and I talked more frequently than we ever have. We got closer as friends, and we learned things about each other that we didn’t know over the past few years. We really got to know each other. I stayed up night after night, his mornings, talking on video chat. And he stayed up to talk to me on my weekend mornings. Time has never passed by so quickly before, I swear. Normally, our time is limited - due to scheduled classes, work, and other things that get in our way. It would only seem like a few minutes, though it ended up being an hour or more and then one of us would have to leave.
Desire told me how he used to only want us to be friends and chill. He used that as his reasoning for why he kept me on a rocky, confusing state for so long. “But it’s different now.”
I told him we’ve always been chill, even now. We stared at each other in long silences. He asked me if I was mad at him and I told him no. “I’ve just always had something for you, and cared for you,” I said, trying to hold back tears. “I know. I have too. I just didn’t see it clearly. I’m sorry it took me so long to figure it out,” Desire said. I so desperately wanted to break down crying right then and there, but I kept telling myself it would be stupid to do so. There were just so many mixed emotions, and confusing, rough waters finally starting to calm down. I didn’t know what to feel. Desire was finally stepping up, after all this time.
On September 1st, I wrote in my journal: He tells me he likes me, and that he cares for me. This still amazes me. We haven’t established anything though. My ultimate goal is for us to be exclusively together. I miss him so much, and all I want to be called his.
On September 5th, Desire and I talked about being together. We established that neither of us wants to be with other people. He said he was “afraid” that he wouldn’t be able to give me the attention that I “needed” and deserved. I told him that he was thinking too hard about it, and that I wouldn’t expect anything more than what he’s already giving me. “I’m not going anywhere.” “Neither am I.” He told me constantly that he wished I was in the same city, country, hemisphere that he was and not halfway around the world in RK. In my journal I wrote: He knows what I want, and I know he’s scared.
On the evening of September 6th, this is what went down. We logged onto the video chat and connected a call. His webcam had frozen on a picture of him smiling, and I let him know. This is what he replied. “Well on that note, I guess you could say that my frozen picture is a great representation of my feelings for you. I want to be able to smile at your face every day and see your amazing face smile back at me. Is this lame? Maybe it’s just lame to me because after all this time, I wish I could be there in person to say this to you. But I would be blessed and honored if you would be my girlfriend.” After smiling stupidly at him, I accepted his request. The rest of our evening proceeded as usual.
Chapter 39 (Hope)
I am so happy for Faith. It has been a long, difficult, torturing wait. Her love for Desire never stopped, even when she tried her hardest to ignore her heart, it was still there. I am glad it has finally worked out for the both of them.
I’m approaching my second month here in OC. Classes are challenging and I start an important practicum today for my major. Integrity has been on leave from work and hasn’t had to go for whole two weeks. That means that for the past two weeks, things have been great for us. We talked a lot through Skype and I felt as if we aren’t oceans apart.
Now that Integrity is done with leave, he realized that it’s going to be harder for us to talk to each other. He even brought it up with me, but I just smiled at the thought. I already know this, I thought. As arrogant as that sounds, I already know the pains and impatience of long distance. I am a little concerned for him and how he will handle it but I have hope too, of course.
How do I feel? I want us to work out. Every part of me wants this to work. It has to. It must. But sometimes I am afraid it won’t. We are so different. Can it still be a good thing to be so different from your significant other? The things I want aren’t always what he wants. We sort of had a breakdown. Well, I sort of had a breakdown. We were talking one night and he was going on about how he didn’t feel worth or significance in the world because he wasn’t some “magnificent being” or because he didn’t have a significant enough job or duty to the world. I remember when I used to think like this. Sometimes I slip into this kind of thinking when I’m distraught, but it hurt me to hear it from Integrity.
When you are truly in love with someone, does anything else matter?
Nothing else seems to matter to me. Of course, let me not get carried away, “God first, bro.” I know that making Him anything but first will result in my failure. I also felt hopeless because no matter what I said or what I tried to do to make him happy, it was not enough and I didn’t succeed.
I wrote Integrity a six-page letter that same day. He hasn’t gotten it yet, but I felt like most of it wasn’t me who was writing. I usually cannot write with such confidence the way I did in that letter. I wish I had taken a picture of it so you could see what I had written but from what I can remember, it was all about when I used to think that way and why it’s wrong to.
First, I wrote an excerpt from Rick Warren’s bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life. “You are not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He wanted you alive and created you for a purpose. Focusing on yourself will never reveal your purpose. You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. Only in God do we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny.”
I wanted a distinct purpose when I was younger. I wanted to be important.
Matthew 20:16 says, “So the last will be first, and the first last.” I remembered this verse and so many others. Am I here to live for myself? Did I not choose to live for Him? I did. To live for Him is to die. I get this from Philippians 1:21 that say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Maybe, hopefully, he will comprehend what I mean. I hope so. I want to be somebody too, but after thinking about it, all I want to be is whatever God has for me. And lastly, I want to be what Integrity wants. I want to be wanted by him as much as he is wanted by me.
It’s autumn. I haven’t seen Integrity in about three months and I miss him deeply. I can only hope that this all works out. I can only hope that I work hard enough to make it work. I don’t want to give up. I never want to give up. I hate and despise the feeling and disappointment of giving up on someone. I don’t ever want to make someone feel like I gave up on them. It hurts and it pains.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”- Hebrews 10:24-25
I miss Faith. I miss her faith. God told me that He was proud of me for seeking and searching for Him, but now he wants me to have real faith in Him.
I suppose all I do nowadays is hope. My name is C. Guzman, and I am hope.
“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”
I’m pretty sure Desire and I are just in this together from now on. The rest of our lives will probably be spent together, at least, I hope that’s the case. It hasn’t been easy, not even close. But I know that it’ll all be worth it. A few months more away from him is not as important as the endless years ahead of us. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Within the last three months, I’ve realized that faith isn’t true, powerful faith without hope. Without Hope next to me, my faith is shaking. I guess that just goes to show that sisters at heart truly can’t be far apart for too long. I miss Hope, I miss her hope.
Vida Nueva has been a big part in both Hope’s and my life. Two weeks from now, the 54th Vida Nueva comes around. I have been selected to be ‘rectora,’ or a main leader, for the weekend. It hasn’t been easy preparing for the retreat, but because of God sticking by my side, sharing his love and peace with me, I have been successful this far. “Reaching Out” is a crucial part of the weekend, and faith has become a huge part of me. Because of all this, I chose Romans 10:17 to be the retreat’s main focus and theme: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
My name is R. Snow, and I am faith.