Candle in the Dark

Last weekend, I attended Liên Đoàn Thánh Gia’s 1st Tĩnh Huấn Huynh Trưởng. I carpooled with two other Huynh Trưởngs in my Đoàn and we survived a minor car accident. When we arrived, they were just finishing the “Liên Đoàn vision & plan” presentation. 

I really needed to use the restroom and the other female Huynh Trưởngs pointed me to the female dorms and restrooms through another door. I quickly finished my business and as I was walking towards the door back to the dorms, the lights suddenly turned off and I could not see a thing. It was pitched black and although I remembered how far I was from the doorknob before the lights went out, I still felt scared. It was cold and I knew everyone else was in the Chapel for the next activity. I tried to remain calm, but I still let out a scream as I opened the door to the dorms and nearly ran into the room. (Yes, I am afraid of the dark for no reason) As soon I screamed and entered the dorms, I heard a startled male voice, “Oh! I’m sorry!” I looked around, confused, and saw my friend hunched over, attempting to light two candles on the floor. We exchanged a few words, but he didn’t get up until one of the candles were lit. When he got up, he walked over to turn off the lights.

That single candle shined brightly in the room. 

After a few seconds, he turned the lights back on and tried lighting up the second candle. Then, he reminded me that everyone else was in the Chapel for the next activity and so I hurried over. 

For the few seconds that the single candle lit up the room, my thoughts and worries calmed down. I finally heard silence for the first time in a long time. 

For some reason, I felt as if that single candle represented hope in the darkness inside my heart. That single candle was a friend. And when he tried to light up the other candle, I felt as if he was trying to give me hope, so that I can also shine brightly in the dark. It was as if he was trying to help me. 

The funny thing was that the Huynh Trưởng lighting up the candles is my friend. And he was the one who has helped me unknowingly, multiple times.

Clean window

It’s so funny how things do not make sense to us until years later…

In college, my professor once told me that going to confession is like cleaning a window. The more often you clean it, the easier you see the small speck of dust on the window. For the past year, I was having confession more frequently than I ever have in my life. As a result, when the splatter of mud appeared on my window, I felt so disgusted. I felt panicked. My hands wouldn’t stop shaking and it was difficult to calm down. I made a phone call to someone I deeply trust that night. The next day, I immediately had confession amidst the crowd, crazy lights, and loud music. But the moment the priest absolved me from my sins, I felt my window cleaned again.

Goodbye 2019

Looking back at 2019, I see how everything that has happened to me and everything that I have done directed me back towards God. Despite how difficult, painful, or frightening each event was, I got through it with prayer. Along the way, I met individuals that have kept me on the path and guided me to Jesus. I let go of friendships, but I have gained back so much more meaningful friendships. 

2020. Honestly, I am scared, but I am excited for what lies next on the path.

A different dream

A few weeks ago, I dreamt that I visited you and we finally got to talk. In fact, it almost seemed as if you were waiting for me and knew I wanted to talk to you. I felt… at peace just finally being able to talk to you.

I woke up that morning, relaxed, almost forgetting the stressful events that occurred the night before and the fact the dance showcase was that day.

Knowing me through faith is knowing me

I met my current Spiritual Director earlier this year in January. For some reason, I feel as though my Spiritual Director knows me very well despite knowing me for only just about a year. I think it might be because our faith makes us who we are.

From just learning about the few deepest parts of my faith, my Spiritual Director truly knows me. He knows what I need most. One statement from my mouth and he can pinpoint where exactly I am in my spiritual journey. He spots the parts that are doing well and the parts that are lacking. And he does so in the most gentle way possible.

I’m so thankful for him.

Lễ Bổn Mạng 38 Đoàn TNTT Vinh Sơn Liêm

Lễ Bổn Mạng 38 Đoàn TNTT Vinh Sơn Liêm

Although I was not part of Ban Linh Tinh, my brother was and he asked me to quickly put a flyer together for our Đoàn’s 38th Lễ Bổn Mạng. His only requirements were “Just make one and don’t spend too much time on it.” 

Since I was the person who designed the flyer last year, I was easily able to quickly design the flyer with this year’s Lễ Bổn Mạng’s theme, “Tình Yêu Nguyên Thủy / Original Love.” Like last year, I created the flyer using Canva and used a template. 

Without having any other members of Ban Thường Vụ explain what the main theme was, I automatically knew that the theme was referring to God’s love for us. 

When we think of “love,” we tend to imagine a red heart. I obviously picked out a picture of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as the background. I chose yellow to be the main color of the flyer this time because it went well with the redness of the Most Sacred Heart. 

Original image I used for the background (Found via Google Images)

The only change I made to the text was combining the Vietnamese and English together instead of repeating them separately. I felt this condensed the message we wanted to convey. 

Compared to last year’s flyer, I definitely spent less time on this design.