compulsion


I never used to write, you know.

It started with a little adventure I went on a few years ago – so adventurous it had to be documented.  But since I can’t write just to indulge my own ego, I wrote it with my daughter as an audience, so she could share the journey with me.   And record I did.  So much so that she was shocked in places.  I had to apologize to her – I just couldn’t stop, once that damn was open.

Blogging has been like that.  I never in a million years thought I’d be sharing my thoughts with people I’ve never met for over three years.

Reform and activism is like that as well.  I’m spending my vacation and the remainder of my stay in Korea putting my back to fixing things.

These things are like compulsions.  Once they start, they become a way of being.  I CAN’T not write now.  I CAN’T not try to meddle with the machine.  Well, I’ve always been that way, actually, but that energy hasn’t been harnessed well.  I think it’s getting more focused and finer-tuned all the time.  I think we do get better as we age.

What’s interesting to me is some people are so intentional about this stuff. They think,  “I will blog and I will become famous.”  Or ” I will be an activist and try to get my photo in every newspaper.”  They are like career narcissists, these publicity hogs.  And then there are those that get all proud of a limited engagement of self disclosure or charitable act and want to think of themselves as heroes.  Pfft!   As if aggrandized self-esteem could ever make that meaningful.  And though I love David Bowie, I always hated, “We can be heroes, just for one day.”  No.  Hero comes from afar, not from oneself.  And it’s a way of being that you can’t shut off.

And I know this because I have met people like this man:

This is Sgt. Lee, Keon Su, the man who has single-handedly reunited over 2,500 families in Korea.

Sgt. Lee is also compelled.  He just . can’t . stop.  Many days he puts in 16 hours.   He works every day.  Even his studies are all in support of reuniting families.  Last night I told him he was a hero to many adoptees, but of course heroes don’t think of themselves that way:  they just do what they have to do:  what humanity compels them to.

And I am compelled to do more than just sing his praises, but to give him some relief from the relentless tidal wave of separated people that press him into service every day of the week.  To garner support for him, resources, and assistance.   Because it is a compulsion, I too don’t feel like I’m doing anything heroic in advocating for this man.   I just can’t forget about what he does for us.  I can’t just push that idea, that he does this all by himself and suffers, out of my head.  It’s just a calling and something I have to do.

And it’s such a no-brainer.  Do you put your resources into a bitter argument that is political suicide, or do you put your resources into something that has proven success, that is a worthwhile investment, that is immediately actionable, that builds a stronger society?  Things like that are beyond politics.   More and more these actionable items regarding healing Korea and cleaning up this mess pop out at me with increasingly glaring clarity.  I’m sick of talk about adoption.  Sick sick sick of adopters and adoptees and this ethics or that morality or cries of corruption or cries for justice or  rectifying history or demanding restitution or any and all of anything debatable surrounding this topic that everyone has to weigh in on but nobody can get beyond.

We need to listen to our hearts more, and learn to tend our compulsions into productive gardens.   It’s so rewarding, and makes me so happy.

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3 thoughts on “compulsion

  1. Have we met?

    Yeah, vacation at home with Momo kind of kills writing! But right now the advocacy work for the next two months will keep me pretty occupied as well.

  2. Hi,
    How can I come in contact with mr Lee Keon Su?
    You write that he helps adoptes to try to find their families or relatives. I would like to speak to him and see if we can find out something about me.
    Thank you

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