The last couple of months for me have been rather life-changing. As you know, I had an amazing whirlwind of a trip with my family and husband to South Korea in May where I got to share with him the roots of my family and culture. I feel like it was such a God-blessed trip that it could happen at all, but also that I got to share laughter and tears with relatives I hadn't been able to see in 8 years and also hold my own meetup in Seoul which I anticipated maybe 20 people to show up. I never expected that in a foreign, non-English speaking country that 5 times that number would arrive instead. I was utterly speechless with appreciation and overwhelmed to tears at the thought of each person taking time out of their day to meet me, someone who does nothing more than type on a computer and talk to a lonely camera in her living room. Although embarrassing, my tears were because I felt very loved and unworthy in that moment.
In juxtaposition to all of the new experiences of Korea, it was then that I also found out that my sister, only 2.5 years older than me, was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma (glandular cancer) which was in its early stages but had an aggressive onset in a very short period of time in my sister's case. Since we've been back to the US, she has faced 2 major surgeries. Obviously for being so young and beautiful, this came as such a shock with great emotional turmoil for my entire family.
The mental and emotional burden of everything we experienced must have been too much for me because a couple days after both had surgery, I came down with fevers, body aches, and a cough which I am only now recovering from. Most days I was weak and delirious in bed, I would check Facebook Angels For Talia to see how Talia Castillano, also known as Taliajoy18 on youtube, has been doing. If you haven't heard of Talia, she is an amazingly brave and vivacious 13-year old makeup enthusiast, artist, and Youtube beauty guru who battled multiple types of cancers for 6 years. I had the honor of meeting her earlier this year and I was blown away by her vibrancy and humbled to find we were mutual fans of each other. We talked about fashion, being petite and how that makes people see you, and how she reminds me of myself not only when I was younger but also the person I am now. Such a lifetime had already been bottled into that little girl, it really leaves you impacted on so many levels.
I've found out that Talia has joined the angels in Heaven today (Tuesday July 16th as I'm writing this blog entry) after fulfilling her purpose here on Earth and touching and inspiring countless numbers of people. In lieu of all that has happened in my own life, I can't help but feel great depths of emotions ranging from a deep sadness that we've lost a beautiful human, to relief that she's no longer in the pain and suffering that she'd fought especially hard in the last 6 months, to an intense determination to spread the message to love harder.
There are always horrible things happening everyday. Things that are unfair and wrong and have no answers. The only conclusion that we can come to is not that we can fix those things or to justify them, but instead we have to focus on loving those who need it to make up for all the unfairness out there. To love deeply, desperately, generously, and selflessly.
It's easy to see snippets of other people's lives and think that they live such an enchanted existence, but the reality of the matter is that we are all faced with truths in life that slap us in the face and remind us what is really important: to love those we encounter and touch each other's lives one by one. Lets all actively love out loud, for Talia, for my sister, my father in law, for everyone who has had sickness, heartache, or loss.
Be humble, give grace, love deeply - my purpose and yours.