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The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

Leap of faith: Finding purpose in the unseen

Family, faith and feelings fills a young girl with renewed purpose. Her transformation reshapes her view of the world and defines living life to the fullest.
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THE MIRROR | ABIGAIL KIM
“You don’t understand the sensation of being ‘hollow’ until you experience it for yourself.”

The universe is unfathomable and enchanting. There are an infinite number of things I will never understand about the quirks of life. How much does outer space weigh? What’s at the bottom of the ocean floor? Why do humans have two kidneys when we really only need one? And, most pressing of all, why do all of my peers hate Justin Bieber? He embodies perfection. I am a staunch Bieber fan, and I have absolutely no shame in declaring that. His Purpose album sings to my soul, which is ironic considering I have felt bereft of purpose lately.

Put simply, I feel starved of significance. Does my existence have any importance? You don’t understand the sensation of being “hollow” until you experience it for yourself. There’s a craving in your soul for something, but you don’t know what that something is, and your uncertainty only intensifies the hunger. I consulted Google to diagnose my condition, and my digital doctor believes I suffer from depression. I have yet to determine how to feel about this, but I have a sinking feeling some truth may be lurking in Google’s diagnosis. 

These cheerful thoughts race through my mind as I sit at the dinner table with my family: Mom, Dad, and Oppa (his name is actually Isaiah, but Korean girls address their older brothers as “Oppa”). My Bible stares up at me, a fading, weathered edition that formerly belonged to my aunt.

“Let’s continue reading the Book of Esther,” Dad says, flipping through a large black Bible with an embossed title in gold. He’s the pastor at our small church, so he has, like, a million different Bibles. “Go to chapter four.”

I sigh, registering the crinkling of paper as I locate the page. This is our weekly tradition; every Monday night, our family gathers at the dinner table to read one chapter of the Bible. Admittedly, my faith in God is in an R&D stage right now. I know I love Him, but I have a hunch that my studies and maybe depression have inhibited me from fully trusting in Him. Then again, maybe I’m just being selfish. 

“We’ll alternate reading two verses each,” Dad explains, gesturing at Oppa. “Son, why don’t you start?”

And so it began. I’ve always thought the story of Esther was fascinating–a young Jewish girl is crowned the queen of Persia and saves her people from the genocide of an evil noble. That’s the juicy plot fantasy novels are made of. 

“‘Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in this palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed,” reads Dad. “If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”’”

I pause. Mom begins to read, but I barely hear the soft tone of her voice over my thoughts. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this?  There is something special in that question, something that fills my soul with an indescribable peace. I exhale slowly, feeling the tightness in my shoulders melt away like snow under the sun. 

Dad hums as I read the last verse. He scratches his chin, a signature habit of his before he mic-drops something thought-provoking. 

“Go to verse fourteen,” he says in his I’m-a-pastor voice. My light eyebrows raise slightly. That’s that verse, the one with Mordecai’s question. Kind of strange we both noticed the same verse. . . . 

“In this verse, Mordecai suggests what Esther’s purpose may be as queen,” Dad begins. A sparkle winks in his gaze as he turns to my brother. “What question does he ask at the end of the verse, Isaiah?”

“Um, ‘Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for such a time as this?’” replies Oppa in his low pubescent voice. 

“Yes,” Dad nods in approval. He suddenly turns to me, his eyes meeting mine. “I want both you and Isaiah to remember that your life matters on Earth. Although we know our true home is in heaven, our lives in this world do have significance. You have a purpose in life, and I know both of you are going to accomplish great things.” He turns to Mom with a quirk of his lips. “Your mom and I both understand how blessed and talented you guys are. Use your gifts for the glory of God. Just as God raised Queen Esther to achieve amazing things, perhaps God has raised you too for such a time as this.”

I do not cry easily, but I can’t help but feel a lump in my throat as I swallow back my emotions. The timing of that message is impeccable. My heart soars as thoughts of depression, uselessness, and hopelessness abruptly fly out of my mind. I suddenly feel free, no longer shackled by my own internal struggles. What a powerful passage, I think to myself. 

I look up, and though my eyes only behold the ugly yellow ceiling paint, my soul perceives something beyond, and I smile. Thanks, God.

“Okay, you look way too happy today, and it’s freaking me out.”

My best friend Maegen bores her eyes into me as we walk to English class. She narrows her gaze, pursing her lips. “Seriously, why are you so cheerful?”

I snort. “Is that a bad thing?” 

“Well, no, but it’s uncharacteristic.”

Was my unhappiness that obvious? I wonder, but the thought is quickly dismissed as I flash a smile.

“I just had a really good time last night,” I reply cryptically.

Maegen sighs, shaking her head as she holds the door open for me. “I won’t ask. I’m just glad you don’t look dead today.”

I roll my eyes and locate my seat, waiting for Ms. Shapiro to begin her lesson. Today, we’re discussing symbolism in the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, the world’s greatest novel (and you can’t change my mind about that). 

As the bell signals the end of the period, Ms. Shapiro stops me before I step out. 

“You seem so joyful today, Abigail,” she remarks kindly with her ever-present smile. “Can I ask if something good happened recently?”

I feel my eyes twinkle and give a small shrug. “I just feel like I have a purpose for such a time as this.”

I look up and smile to myself. 

And I imagine, somewhere in the great heavens, He’s smiling back.

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About the Contributor
Abigail Kim, Staff
The most magical thing to do in this world is to escape it. This is the power of reading, and it is a force I readily succumb to. A delectable story fills me with the greatest joy, and inventing extravagant tales offers a luscious meal to my hungry brain. My greatest wish as a beginning journalist is to communicate the wonderful quirks of the world through my perspective and to share the divine opinions of every viewpoint. In the eccentric witch’s brew of my mind, I weave characters, conflict, and emotions in fictional writing and dancing, or, as I like to call it, storytelling with the body. On a separate note, if I’m not hunched over my computer, you may find me chomping away on dark chocolate or shrieking at the top of my lungs at a KPOP concert. 
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  • E

    Elise KimSep 24, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    Wow! That’s an incredible narrative! I’m so touched by your words and I can see that God is truly working through you.

    Reply
  • K

    KatieSep 19, 2023 at 1:48 pm

    Wow! This is such a great narrative!

    Reply
  • L

    lindsay hanSep 19, 2023 at 8:50 am

    wonderful article!!!

    Reply