/when I woke up this morning, I realized I had had an extremely strange dream that will never happen, but in my sleep, it made me very happy. When I was in school, I knew this girl who just drove me crazy. She wasn’t bad, and we never fought, but her attitude always bothered me. The way she thought was just too much for me, but I have always been accepting of others even if I didn’t particular like them, so we became friends, but not close friends. You see, she thought she was smarter than everyone in the room. She contradicted everyone all the time. She walked around with a smile and an air of superiority on her face all the time. She even thought she was pretty, but she was anything but. She cut her hair off in a strange way that looked like she just got out of bed in the morning. She chose big ugly glasses. She had eyes that slanted and reminded you of a cat, a pointy nose and a permanent smart Alec smile. Even back then when the rest of us were exercising and eating right and trying to control our weight, she didn’t. She wasn’t big and fat, just kind of overweight, and I have seen pictures of her as she has gotten older, and she hasn’t changed a bit. She still looks the same. Everything about her just seemed to bother me, and I don’t meet many people that I have that reaction to. Other than her superior attitude, though, she was a good person. She went to church, and she cared about trying to help others. In the past few years, she has contacted me again. She never got married. She is a school teacher, and she is still saying things that drive me crazy and contradicting things I say, and I am still having patience with her. I don’t write people off that easy.
When I was teaching at the university here in Korea, a Korean boy came into my office. He wanted to drop my class. I asked him why, and he said, “I’m going to fail.” I said, “It is just the beginning of the semester. How do you know you are going to fail?” He told me that a Korean teacher had told him that because I was a foreigner that I couldn’t communicate with him and that he would fail. I asked him if we were communicating right them, and he said “yes.” I asked him if he had understood everything in the class so far, and he said, “yes.” I then said, “If we are communicating now and if you have always understood everything I have said, does it make sense to you that you won’t understand the things I say in the future?” He said, “no,” and he changed his mind and decided not to drop my class. Often times, I thought, I shouldn’t have talked him out of dropping my class. I didn’t know who I was talking to. He had lied about a teacher telling him that. He was prejudiced against foreigners, and that was why he was wanting to drop my class, but I didn’t know it at the time.
As the semester went on, he did well. He ended up with a B in my class and was happy with the B. He kept coming back to visit me and kept taking all my classes, but he wasn’t an English major. He was a Theology major. I asked him once what he was going to do with his Theology major, and at first, he said he was going to preach, and later, he told me that his dad had suggested that he become a Theology major because his dad really believed in our university because we taught Bible, and the Theology major was his dad’s idea. Since he had decided I was a good teacher, he studied a lot of English, and he was a Theology major, he eventually figured out about our English Bible studies in my office and came. However, I discovered something about him in these studies. He never studied his Bible, and he didn’t plan on studying the Bible just then. He came thinking he was smarter than everyone else and smarter than what was written in the Bible, and he thought it was his job to come and teach us all at the English Bible study in my office. He wouldn’t let anyone read. He wanted to take over the group and sit there and tell us all his own personal philosophies. He thought he had a miraculous gift from God that entitled him to be everyone’s teacher. I didn’t let him take the Bible study over, I kept taking us back to studying the Bible. He didn’t agree with everything the Bible said but I didn’t let him just come in and take over like he wanted. I kept the group on task studying and reading the Bible. Eventually, he began saying that he could see that studying the Bible was a good idea because it had a lot of good things to say.
The next thing you know, he found out where I was going to church and showed up at church. He kept coming to my office to talk to me. As I always do, I had patience with him. I learned that he didn’t have any friends, and that he had decided that I was very smart, and he wanted to learn everything he could from me. His visits to my office became like counseling sessions. He came and would pour his heart out about all his problems, and I would try to help him find solutions using ideas from the Bible. He had a huge problem with his dad. They fought like cats and dogs, and at times, they even came to blows. He wanted to stop fighting, but he didn’t know how. I told him that he just needed no to respond, not to fight. He thought it was impossible, but I explained to him that it takes two to fight, and if he refused to participate, there would be no fight. If his dad said something he didn’t like, he needed to just ignore it, and then things wouldn’t get out of hand. If his dad came back at him not liking something he said, he should just ignore it. He finally agreed to try it my way, and it worked. They stopped fighting.
It worked so well that his mom and dad came looking for me and took me out to eat. They said, “We just had to meet the person who put a stop to the fighting in our house.” I learned that his parents were staunch Presbyterians. I also learned that they never had time for him because all their time was for the church, and that his mother seemed out in space. She thought she had a gift from God and that she knew better than everyone what God wanted through some sort of a miracle like her son had thought. His dad seemed more grounded.
The boy kept coming to talk to me, and he eventually told me why he thought he knew better than everyone. He said when he was a little boy, he had been told he wasn’t a Christian because he had not had a vision from God. He was about five years old, and he wanted to be a Christian like everyone else. They sent him in a room alone and told him he needed to have a vision. He went in there, and when he came out, he told everyone that an angel from Heaven visited him, and they were all overjoyed and began calling him a Christian. However, he admitted to me that he had lied because he wanted to be accepted so badly. I had finally gotten to the bottom of his attitude. His parents had developed his attitude of him thinking he was spiritually superior to everyone else, but he was finally coming to grips with the fact that he had lied to gain acceptance.
If you remember, he had begun following me to church. A missionary pulled him aside and began studying the Bible with him and pumping scriptures into him. I thought that perhaps he was finally ready to listen when I heard what was happening because until that time, he thought he was smarter than everyone around. He let the missionary baptize him. The missionary let him stand up in front of the church and read scriptures and lead prayers.
He continued coming to my office. He graduated, but he continued coming to pour his heart out to me about all his problems, and I had patience. The only job he had been able to get was at McDonald’s, and his boss had taken him out and gotten him drunk, and he knew as a Christian, he shouldn’t be getting drunk, so he ended up quitting his job. He needed another job and was looking for another job. He told me he was going to apply to an advertising firm and wondered if I could tell him anything I knew about advertising. I had a business minor, so I showed him some things I had learned in school about advertising. When he went for the job interview, he told them the things I had told him, and he got the job, but I wish he had never gotten the job.
Korean bosses love to get you drunk. He let his boss get him drunk, but he hung in there this time thinking he could do better. Everyone in his office went out together all the time. Eventually, they were not only getting him drunk, but they were setting him up with hookers, and he slept with one of them. He was so mad at himself afterward that he quit his job again.
There was a guy his age at church that he had begun hanging out with, and the two of them together were a disaster. Every time girls walked in the front door, the two of them were like vultures. They stalked the girls until the girls stopped coming to church. If they met girls at church, they didn’t just talk to them at church, but they followed them around and figured out all the places the girls would be and were always showing up, and they drove a lot of girls away from the church.
Finally, the other guy told me that he had decided this guy was bad, and that he didn’t want to hang out with him anymore, and I am glad because I agreed with him. I didn’t want him having a bad influence on an innocent thinking guy who had never slept with a girl, never been drunk, and didn’t get into fist fights.
Eventually, I learned that he and his dad were fighting again, and he had decided to go and see a psychologist. The psychologist gave him what my daughter calls “chill pills.” He was taking medicine to keep himself calm so he wouldn’t fight. He was actually driving me crazy, and I wished he would just go away. He was trying to chase my daughter too, and she wanted nothing to do with him.
He decided he wanted to go to America to study, and he was working on the missionary to try to get himself a scholarship to America. The missionary couldn’t get him a scholarship. Finally, his mother took all her savings and gave it to him so he could go to America to study, but he didn’t have enough to do everything he wanted to do. He first had to pass an English test to get into an American university, and his English just wasn’t good enough. An American military guy from church decided to help him and send him to stay with his family in the States near a university that had a language school where he could study English and get eventually get into the university.
He went to America. He stayed at this friend’s house, and he studied English. He fought with the people he was staying with and had to eventually rent himself a room and move out. He didn’t study and never passed the test to get into the university. He was wasting his mother’s life savings. He got on a plane to come back to Korea, but didn’t come right back. He decided to go and spend some time in Germany before he came back. He was already 30 years old before I met him, and he was acting like a 15 year old kid. He was completely irresponsible.
He finally made it back to Korea and began coming to church again. The missionary began putting him up in front of the church again. He had no job. He had no money. He went to a government training school to become a Christian counselor, but he never finished it. One Sunday, he came into church and sat down in front of me, and he turned around out of the blue and screamed his head off at me! I was in shock because I hadn’t done anything. I hadn’t even said anything. Come to find out, he had been following me around because he though if he followed me around, it would get him a good job, and he was blaming it on me that he didn’t have a good job.
He eventually told everyone he was moving to Busan with his parents, but he lied. He quit church. He went back to the Presbyterian church. He kept calling the missionary asking for advice. He kept calling me, but I was done giving him advice, but I still had patience and listened. He doesn’t come to visit anymore, but ever so often, I get a phone call or a text message. I have stopped answering because he drives me crazy. Everyone tried to help him, and he just threw it all away! I am not ready for more of his drama and craziness.
However, I dreamed last night that he fell in love with the girl I described above that I went to school with, and they were going to get married. She is a good twenty or thirty years older than he is, and they will never meet, but perhaps their attitudes toward life is what made me dream they fell in love with one another. It is too bad it will never happen because both of them need someone. They both thought they were smarter than everyone around them. Even though they both drive me crazy, I still wish them happiness.