LA: Later (is) Allowed

By Cindy Won '20



Numbers and I were not always friends. My rebellious second-grade self always hid my “0/4” math papers at the back of the cubby in my desk, desperately afraid of being scolded harshly by my mom and receiving comments from my teachers. This continued until I stumbled across Thank You, Mr. Falkner, a picture book written by Patricia Polacco, now a childhood favorite author, documenting her heartwarming account and journey in learning. While other children saw words and numbers, Trisha saw wiggling shapes and circles. I drew close to Trisha’s journey in becoming an author, and slowly, yet surely, began to recognize my own intense desire to learn both inside and outside of the classroom.One thing was certain, at least during elementary school: later was indeed allowed.


Twelve years after my (actual) academic journey began, I found myself in Los Angeles with the hopes of conducting research at a Children’s Hospital and studying for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). I knew that God had sent me to Los Angeles for a purpose; what that purpose was, I wasn’t sure. I initially attributed this place as space to study and to work, and I had expected God to abide by my plans. However, as each of the work days passed in the month of June, I could barely muster up the energy to pick up a book. I continuously questioned the decision inside my head, adamantly denying the fact that my strength and health were waning. By the time July rolled around, I had reached burnout and decided to postpone my exam.


Coming to terms with this decision, however, was not easy, particularly after I had forced myself to work non-stop for an entire month. I began to witness how I coveted my potential career in medicine, accolades, glory, and success. Moreover, I recognized my intrinsic desire to seek God in everything and everyone but God Himself. Inherently, I demanded for confirmation of the path that I set out for myself from God, disregarding the sheer possibility that He knows things that I do not!


In light of these questions and wrestlings, God used the city of Los Angeles to show me two major perspectives: first, that there is a “time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecc. 3:1-2). God specifically created the Sabbath, a distinct day within the work week, in order to allow us to rejuvenate and to rest for a day before continuing on with the week’s work (Gen 2:2-3). Whether that looks like one day set apart as opposed to one evening of rest, God has called us to rejuvenate in order to pursue our work with excellence, towards the glory of God. Though far from perfect, I continued to rest day by day. I started to go to the gym, eat a vegetable here and there, meditate on a podcast on my commute to work. I attended the worship sessions on Wednesday night at the local church, and I would take naps. Both my body and my mind slowly began to recover in ways that I did not even realize was refreshing to my soul until I came back to Brown. We can hold off one day, one moment, to rest and rejuvenate before continuing to work again. Work was created for man, but man was not created for work.


We can also acknowledge that timing is based on God’s righteous judgment and individual plan for us. During one particular sermon, I was struck by the emphasis of the kingdom of God in the Parable of the Pearl (Matt 13: 45-46). God is the ruler of the Kingdom, and the world is under His dominion. The Parable of the Pearl shows us that in order to pursue this Pearl (which symbolizes the Kingdom of God), we must give up everything and take up our cross to follow Jesus and to submit to the will of God (Luke 9:23). This includes the timing of our lives, our desires, our families, and even our lives themselves. He continues to remind us that heaven is now, and the world is a place in which His kingdom is already at work.


Ultimately, the timing of our lives are governed by the God of the universe. Whatever actions we take, either “good or bad” in our eyes, God will ultimately use these for His glory. Our careers, work, relationships, and everything else are under His good plan. We can enjoy our rest and moving at a pace which is necessary for our wellbeing. As we enter this next year, let us remember that all that we see around us, all that we are in this world belongs to God the Father. Later is allowed for our work; let us rest on the days that the Lord has set out for us and to work towards His glory and His kingdom on these campuses.

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