J.S. Park

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Thank you, Planet Tumblr - Y’all saved my life

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Dear Planet Tumblr,

You guys have kept me alive.  Thank you.

Please forgive this rather self-centered introspective post. 

The last five months have been pretty rough: and while I totally know my issues are small amidst the world’s concerns, it was still not easy. 

I’ve been jobless since December.  I hate to admit that my identity was largely wrapped up in my youth ministry.  I loved those kids, and they were torn away from me. 

I was depressed enough to die.  I would drive around at night hoping to lose control and crash.  I binged for a few months.  I’d weep randomly.  I hated myself.  I hated my voice, my face, my everything.  I was angry: at my old church staff, the lying, the politics.  I was lonely, a sea of people against me.  I’d sit around for hours, staring at the floor, not knowing what to do.  I no longer enjoyed serving the homeless.  I had several personal disappointments and have let people down.  I’ve been crushed by searing soul-ripping words.  Only a couple friends from my last church kept in touch with me, and I was at that church for thirteen years. I had dreams about my old church, sometimes nightmares.

It is a hard feeling, thinking of all the ways you want to die.

 

But each day — I wrote. Out of brokenness, I kept writing. 

Mostly to answer questions.  I was not entirely empty: and it kept me going.  I was so privileged to administer grace and to hopefully encourage someone, even for a day.  I looked forward to writing because when I served this way: I could take the focus off myself and keep my eyes on Christ and his mission.

Your questions became my lifeline, and God blessed me with each of you. 

Some of you went out of your way to encourage me.  Even the hate-mail and disagreements and criticisms kept me alive.  You couldn’t know how much a few of you have saved my life.  I know it sounds morbid, but you kept me from the edge of despair and instilled hope: that there are still passionate believers who want to truly know Him and really do care.

 

I’m really just a nobody pastor.  I don’t have a megachurch or a published book (I’ve been rejected, a lot).  I’ve never spoken to a crowd of over a hundred people and my podcast hardly gets downloads.  I honestly don’t have that many followers.  I make zero dollars from writing.  For anyone to even click “like” or to reblog a post is a big deal for me.  I thank God every time.  It’s a thrill and an honor to be involved in your journey of faith.

I’m also aware I don’t always write agreeable things.  I know how it is to enjoy a blog when he or she writes something you totally disagree with, and then you skip the blog for a few months.  Or sometimes: life gets busy, and we just stop reading. 

That’s okay.  I just want to say thank you to those who have stuck around, sent nice messages, and took the time to engage.  And thank you to those who came back around and gave it another shot. 

Some of you are also amazing writers and I thank you for your insight, for helping me be more thoughtful, for being so gracious, for slowing me down, for holding fast to Christ.  I sometimes think, “Why can’t I write like that?”  I try to promote you when I can. 

And thank you to my wonderful lady, who I purposefully don’t talk about much, who has endured dating me for the last four years.  Amidst my sensitivity and moodiness, she has been rock-solid: and men, that’s the sort of lady you want by your side.

 

I’m not saying any of this to garner sympathy or pity, nor to get attention.  I hate to write this sort of thing, and I’ll probably delete this post.  But: thank you. 

Thank you so much.

I am slowly feeling hope again.  I can say, even amidst my hurt: I love Jesus even more today than ever, and I love you guys.  It’s within such deep community that I experienced Jesus in the lowest valley, and I’ll never forget it.

I wish I could meet each of you and shake your hand furiously and you could hear my weird laugh, and then you’d find out I’m not all that cool and my teeth are pretty crooked and I’m kind of short and awkward and annoyingly loud and I tend to be slow with things and I walk too quickly and I have odd particular habits that will probably frustrate you, and honestly, you’d be let down if you met me and we would only be friends if you still wanted to.

One day maybe.  We could hug it out.

If you remember: please pray for me, for the next opportunity moving forward.

Fight the good fight, and eyes on Christ.  We are in this together.

Love y’all, for real. 

— J.S.