“Since very young age, Eunjung has been very independent. And she always delivered excellent results.”
In the word of my father on my wedding day, yes, I have always been very independent ever since I can remember. My move to the United States at 15 years of age, without my parents, no doubt propelled me to accelerate on my path to independence, and rather, adulthood, but I was a very independent child as well.
I was that child who was in charge, of her own life and lives of others. I loved to be the older sister to my friends and took on that role rather willingly. Now, whether that was a healthy childhood or not is a question for another day, but my long-standing independence has offered me many great joys and adventures that I would not trade for anything else, as well as struggles in the 34 years that I have lived.
I. want. to. figure. it. out. on. my. own. accord.
But really, how many things can you really figure out totally on your own accord, without relying on anyone else at all? Is there such a thing as making a decision based solely on my own intellect and desire? After all, we are all influenced one way or another.
It’s the second Shabbat after I married my Jewish husband Aaron, and he is away on a bachelor’s party- not his own, just to be clear. I walked into our apartment after 2 hours of blissful spa session with a bottle of wine for my cherished night alone. I looked for the beautiful candle holders that my sister-in-law gave me as a gift for my conversion, the ones that she picked out herself during her visit to Italy.
There was a time when I was very religious and was an active member of a Protestant church. A friend’s sudden death had driven me to seek questions for after this life, and as a 20-something who hadn’t put much thought into death, I fell quickly into the teachings of the Bible, the New Testament, and the community that offered comfort. And the community that offered comfort was what I desperately needed at the time, but soon enough my inclination to want to figure things out myself and maintain my independence struck back and I left that community and beliefs behind.
As I considered my union with Aaron and his desire to have a Jewish family, which came with a question of whether I would convert and join Jewish faith, I had to confront this question of spirituality and truth that I fought to keep dormant, ignore and avoid.
I. am. doing. fine. on. my. own.
I have grappled with my share of grief, anger, disappointments, and questions with no answer. I resented being told what to do.
I am not sure which greater being I believe in or pray to. But I lit the candles, said the blessings over the candles, wine, as well as food.
Life always has unexpected gift in store for me. trust the journey.