Yumi’s Cells 1&2: Final Opinion

Spoilers ahead.

This was a great show. It really goes through the ups and downs of how people are thinking and feeling, especially when it comes to dating and romantic relationships. It had great acting, great soundtrack, and great CGI for the cell characters. Often it was laugh-out-loud hilarious. That being said, the ending wasn’t great.

Sadly many stories fall or rise depending on their endings. The majority probably fall, which is why we never hear about them. A bad ending, however, doesn’t mean people will not still enjoy and read or watch the story. I found the ending to Tess of the D’Urbervilles absurd yet it was a treat to read, sad story that it was, so I will read it again someday. Also the show Lost. I didn’t care for the ending, but would absolutely watch the show again. It was exciting and trippy. It is the same with Yumi’s Cells. I did not like the ending of season 2, but I would definitely watch the show again.

Simply said, the ending doesn’t match the rest of the show. Perhaps the comic it is based on focuses more on Yumi’s personal growth and her writing career, but largely the show did not. It focused on what most watching Kdramas want: romance. And because so much focus was on the romances that Yumi had, the personal growth ending just didn’t fit. It was a disappointment. We as the viewers wanted her to end up with Wung or Babi, and if neither, then be properly introduced to the real Mr. Right at the end. There was an introduction of him, but it was hardly him, just a haze, a shadow. I also really wanted to see Yumi actually loving someone. All through her time with both Wung and Babi, it’s like she never really loved them, but they loved her a great deal, especially Babi. How satisfying it would have been to have her realize she was in love with either one, but especially with Babi because he clearly fought for her the whole time.

In the end Yumi is run by her Writing cell. I’m not sure that’s an improvement over being run by her Love cell. Careers are fleeting things. People are what matters. The writing of the show did not leave me with the impression that Yumi will really learn to love this new guy on the horizon, even though she did have some character growth. It is a triumph to be content in one’s life and content just being single, too, if that’s the state you are in.

The show is still great and worth watching because at times it digs deep into both the feels and the humor and the opposite ways men and women often think. Both sexes are out of sync with each other, as Alison Armstrong of The Queen’s Code would say. A lot of the side characters are a hoot as are main ones like Wung. And the show does deliver romance, just not lasting romance and true love. If they were real people, I would hope that both Wung and Babi could quickly get over Yumi and move on to a woman who really loves them. And for Yumi that she would really fall in love with someone.

Yumi’s Cells 2: Hilarious!

Spoilers ahead.

This series is my current favorite. Not only is it hilarious, but it also has a lot of food for thought and fun, romantic suspense: Which guy will Yumi end up with? Based on the popular Webtoon, Yumi’s Cells was an instant hit, taking a lonely 30-something through one romantic possibility after another. In season one, we were introduced to Ku Woong (Ahn Bo Hyun – Kairos),got to watch as he and Yumi built a relationship, and subsequently got to watch it fall apart largely due to lack of communication.

Alternating between the real life scenes are cartoon scenes of the “cells” in each of their bodies, telling the audience what the character is thinking and feeling but as if each thought or desire was a separate cute, cartoon character interacting and arguing with the others. At first I didn’t like the back and forth, but more and more I enjoyed the very funny cells scenes that put a great X-factor on what is itself a rather humdrum story. It also makes one think, “hey, I sometimes do that!” or think that way, or feel that way. It makes one start to consider what “cell” is ruling at any given time. Am I ruled by logic primarily? Pride? Love? Hope? The depth of the show is often astounding.

It was sad to see Yumi and Ku Woong break up at the end of season one and I was pleasantly surprised there was a season 2, because with Kdramas there’s so often not. Yumi’s Cells 2 is even better. Kim Go Eun (Goblin) is Yumi. I can’t see the character being played by anyone else. And, although Yumi is frustratingly awkward in romance, she has good chemistry with this season’s love interest, Yoo BaBi, played by Jin Young of group GOT7. Jin is not only easy on the eyes, just like Ahn, but he has very expressive eyes himself, always a plus for an actor.

Babi was literally a paper doll in season one. Hey, it’s true, often when you’re dating or really into a certain person, all the other guys or girls could just be paper dolls, no matter how cute they are. It was pretty funny seeing that shown on screen that way. In season two it is Babi’s turn to date Yumi, and although he’s refreshingly straightforward as a person, it still takes them what seems like ages to get together. In contrast with Woong, Babi is more of a grownup and thus Yumi becomes more grownup as well. Some may think of this as boring, but it’s character growth and the two characters really seem like they have a real relationship. Refreshing also, is that Babi isn’t run by pride. His heart throws a party in welcome for Yumi. It’s a great thing and I sometimes wish that more people were like this: more straightforward and more ready just to dive into love. So, so much time is wasted on hesitation. Diving in is likely the best way to get to know the person, to know if they really are the right one. Over time, Yumi also has the courage to be straightforward as well, and sadly, a bit of her hesitancy and awkwardness rubs off on Babi. But, hey, he’s too perfect and needs flaws.

Speaking of those, Babi is quite possibly too nice in some ways and too open to love. If you have a damsel, you shouldn’t be out there helping every other damsel in distress you see. While that should be obvious, it isn’t to Babi, and he finds himself quite shocked one day to find that he has allowed a cute intern to worm her way into his affections. Sometimes it can be dangerous to care about others too much. If you have a significant other, there must be boundaries in place to protect yourself, that person, and the relationship. It seems Babi didn’t have those boundaries set well. Yumi ends up so hurt by this–even though he didn’t really, physically cheat on her–that she breaks up with him.

Although I am very team Babi, I get that Yumi can’t trust him. Still, he chases after her, while Woong most certainly did not. It shows Babi is willing to fight for her, and is something that remains with the viewers even after Woong shows up again, with better clothes, better hair, and loads of money as his computer game has now become a success.

Despite Woong being back in the picture and still head over heels for Yumi and egged on by the awesome “Control Z” illustrator (P.O of Block B), the show clearly still has plans for Babi. Both men face off in a hilarious showdown in which their cartoon cells do all the actual fighting. Both get significant barbs in, but it’s Babi who walks away with the girl.

The scene where Yumi and Babi get back together was done so well. The acting was amazing and we could see both knocking down each other’s walls. Afterward they are awkward together and walking on eggshells and it’s only at the end of episode 12 that we really find out why: Each one is sure the other one feels they made a mistake in getting back together. But that they are finally able to tell each other that is a great thing.

Not a great thing: Like Woong, Babi has now for the second time kept very important information from Yumi. It’s a lie of omission, it’s not ideal, and throws Yumi for a very big loop, as normally he is very straightforward. This seems to be his great flaw, that he is unable or unwilling to share either something he doesn’t understand about himself, or something he thinks will burden Yumi. Hopefully he got the message loud and clear from her that he shouldn’t do that, that not communicating is worse than the hurt that could be caused by communicating. Communication is so key in every relationship, but especially in romantic ones. Our basic instincts have us constantly misunderstanding each other, so even if a couple communicates well, it can still be a bit of a battle.

Four more episodes remain in the season. Although the Webtoon adds another guy, purportedly the one and Mr. Right, I do not know if there are plans for a season three of the drama. I think the writers will have Yumi end up with either Woong or Babi. The feminism doesn’t seem strong enough in this show to have her end up alone, but who knows? I am waiting in suspense for the next episodes.

The funniest things this season: Ruby and Control Z! Wow, are they great. I loved Lee Yoo-Bi in Pinocchio and she’s hilarious here as well as a ridiculous, cute girl who always refers to herself in the third person. We get more of these two than is warranted, but I like it. Funniest cells scene, aside from the man face off, was when Yumi and Babi kiss for the first time. Their tongue cells meet! It was laugh-out-loud funny. Yumi’s editor, played by Jun Suk Ho (Kingdom Season 2) was also hysterical.

Other things I love about this season is the soundtrack–a lot of great, mellow love songs–and also the poster. It’s a great poster. See for yourself: https://asianwiki.com/images/e/e4/Yumis_Cells_S2-p2.jpg

Can’t wait to find out what happens!

Updates

Finally, I am making headway with my manuscript. Telling a complicated story only gets more complicated with each subsequent book, but it’s fun. Kinda like solving a puzzle. So Trolls for Dust, Season 3 is rolling again-yay! It’s satisfying to look out on the figurative horizon and see a point where I could have people read the tome and give their thoughts. And it is a tome, a doorstop that I hope and pray will be worthy of the trees killed in its name when printed.

Summer is good. I am changing jobs, which will hopefully be both fruitful and interesting. It’s a relief to change things up sometimes. That being said, I have thought a bit about blogging and this blog and do want to continue to do reviews every week. But it was nice to have a break.

Korean dramas I am watching and will soon have reviews of: Yumi’s Cells 2 (tearing my heart out), Chimera (who doesn’t love a good serial killer mystery series?), and Alice (time travel plot twisty goodness).

Books I am reading and will soon have reviews of: Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (since I saw the movie once upon a time and already know the twist, it’s a bit meh), The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien (so wholesome compared to more modern fare. Even Sauron seems wholesome!), A Grand Deception by Elizabeth Mansfield (those Regency romances keep following me), and The Knight by Steven James (book 3 of the Patrick Bowers series. Reading one of these a summer. Maybe should speed it up?).

My heart is up and down these days and sometimes the Psalmist says it all:

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37: 3&4

Happy Summer!

Hello, All! Well, June is here and in May I did some writing and since my book is calling to me, will be working more on that the rest of the summer. So I won’t be posting very regularly.

God answers prayers and I am happy to report that He seems to be answering my prayer for a great summer for me, my friends, and family with a resounding YES! What winter will bring, we have yet to see, but summer is to be fun and glorious and for that I am very, very happy. We need to be filled up with joy for the sorrows and hardships we may face ahead.

Speaking of sorrows, I’m hearing of more and more people diagnosed with various ailments and illnesses they have “had for years and just didn’t know it.” I am hearing of more people going on disability and more people suddenly dying. The main cause, however, is still elusive to the general public. Most want to pretend the authoritarian two years of COVID did not happen and that many, many people took a harmful vaccine under coercion and threat. To us who have long been awake about vaccines, it seems obvious that the vaccines have been hastening death and ill health in many as their immune systems have been, possibly, irrepairably harmed. Socially, there is still the pressure to not mention vaccines, or the vaccine, to not bring it up. To so many friends I want to ask, did they (whoever is having the health issue) get the vaccine? But I’m just not sure how they’ll react. So, so many still have a huge blindspot about vaccines, thinking that a vaccine is always something good and could never harm anyone. It fills me with sorrow to see so many under this delusion and under this spell. And it is a kind of spell, because if people weren’t under it, they would question vaccines or list them as possible causes for health difficulties. Sorrow hovers over me, too, knowing there may be many, many more yet to come who will die or have serious health problems due to these vaccines, probably at these some that I know personally. And yet I also live in the JOY that God is in control and that he has and may still spare some from their bad decision.

True Beauty: I realized I completely forgot to write a review for this funny and excellent Korean drama! Suffice to say, I really liked it, even though some of the initial episodes dragged. The show reminded me a bit of Boys over Flowers, perhaps being a high school show, and also of Extraordinary You, as it is the same director. In fact, if one pays attention there are a few nods to Extraordinary You in the show. The acting was great and the topic timely, as so many especially young women are obsessed with their own looks. Moral of the story: Ladies, don’t stress! If he likes your looks, he likes your looks, wearing makeup may enhance your attributes, but it’s really just down to does the guy dig you or not. If he does dig you, jackpot! If not, changing your looks isn’t really going to do anything, and isn’t it a rather hollow victory to only win someone after having to change so much for them?

In this story the main character uses makeup to stop being bullied for being “ugly,” but really she finds all she needs is self-confidence. Makeup isn’t directly vilified in the show; in fact, it’s a bit of a springboard for the heroine who finds a passion for it, wanting to be a professional makeup artist. What is highlighted in the show is the bad behavior of people who constant criticize others looks and call them ugly. From what I have heard of South Korean society, they have a problem with this. How true this is, I don’t know firsthand, but find most Koreans very good looking. Perhaps these are problems that plague good looking peoples? Shrug. Who knows? Americans often seem to revel in looking fat and sloppy–different side of the spectrum. Anyway, True Beauty was a great show, laugh out loud funny at times and having much food for thought.

It’s a Distraction

Hi, All,

Just popping on to say this whole Supreme Court thing right now is a distraction. Pfizer has been forced to reveal 80 more pages of damning data on their so-called vaccine. This is due to the wonderful lawyer Aaron Siri of I Can Decide and The Highwire. I can’t tell you enough how much he and this organization have done. He has won law suit after lawsuit for the American people, and, well, the world. The safety and efficacy of this vaccine, but really any vaccine is one of the biggest lies ever told–ever! And I am so thankful that more and more people are waking up to that. There is not one answer to health, one fix. God has provided many ways to heal, the biggest one, of course, being turning to Him in prayer. Vaccines generally harm a person’s immune system and spread disease. The little “efficacy” they have is to be spit upon.

Sadly, I belong to some groups where I can’t share this, where even my fellow Christians and friends would likely label it as speech that is the opposite of love–which is ridiculous–but that’s where we are these days. If you want real stories and hard data on all things vaccine, I encourage you to start watching Del Bigtree on The Highwire. The journalism is solid, the desire for the truth sincere. The show airs for a couple of hours on Thursdays at 1pm CT, but you can watch anytime on their site after that as well. Thank you, Del and Thank you Aaron! Again, due to these people Pfizer cannot hide their documents until our grandchildren are old. That’s how evil these pharmaceutical companies are, how much they have our “best” health and interest in mind.

thehighwire.com

Updates

Happy Wednesday! Later this week I will have a review of the charming, funny show True Beauty. After that, due to limited time and energy and the need to focus on my own stories, I will be taking a break from blogging, at least until June. Thank you so much for reading. –Pixie

Jirisan: Too Much?

Spoilers ahead.

First off, I loved the 2021 Kdrama Jirisan. It was epic, exciting, awesome, and somewhat exhausting to watch. The direction was great from Lee Eung Bok, who has directed many popular dramas like Sweet Home, Mr. Sunshine, Goblin, and Descendants of the Sun. The shots were amazing, using lots of natural mountain/forest footage incorporated with CGI, green screen, and drone footage. The rescue scenes are harrowing and thrilling.

That brings me to the plot. Starring Gianna Jun (The Legend of the Blue Sea) and Ju Ji Hoon (Kingdom series), the story follows mountains rangers and rescuers who work in the Jirisan mountain range and mostly help rescue illegal hikers. But it doesn’t stop there, no. Rookie ranger Kang Hyun Jo (Ju Ji Hoon) has inexplicable visions of death on the mountain. There’s a hunt for a serial killer who has been killing on the mountain for a long time. There’s a mountain ghost. There’s a head spinning amount of flashbacks and back and forth time jumps along with a very large cast. Writer Kim Sun Hee is used to plots like this, having written the awesome Signal and also the Kingdom series which I have heard many good things about. However, at times, and by the end of the show it felt like perhaps it was all too much.

Many wonderful TV shows have lame endings, and Jirisan is no exception. While giving us a nice, emotional ending for a minor character that went on far too long, it spent almost no time with our leads and their story. I have to wonder if another episode was planned or asked for and denied. Who knows? In any case, the ending was fitting, but didn’t totally make sense. For example: The bad guy gets his comeuppance in the end, but it’s the easiest way possible, as the “mountain” kills him in a landslide. It’s fitting because he believed the mountain was telling him to kill people. But contrast that with all of the supernatural stuff going on, visions, ghosts, weird lights, it was very, very odd to have the main character keep asserting in the last episode that “it’s only a mountain.” None of the supernatural things were explained. As the rescue scenes and the mountain life of the rangers was very engaging, it may have been better just to stick with that. Maybe the serial killer hunt, ok, but beyond that? The supernatural stuff really had no point and it wasn’t written as a debate between belief vs. science or something like that. The flashbacks really weren’t too bad, but often were egregious attempts to fill the time.

Gianna Jun did well here with a very cold character contrasted with Ju Ji Hoon’s character’s warmth. All of the actors in the show did outstanding jobs with all of the physical activities involved in the ranger job and working with special effects, etc. They all seemed very believable as rangers. The ranger team was headed up by a captain played by Sung Dong Il (Reply 1997) who is my favorite “dad” character in Kdramas. The outstanding actor in the show was easily Oh Jung Se (Touch Your Heart). His character is a ranger who finally gets the love of his life. It’s cute. Then we find in a flashback he has a tragic loss. Oh, the heartbreak of this man! I just wanted to give him a hug. It was the most emotionally impactful scene I’ve seen in a while. His grief seemed so, so real.

As far as the soundtrack, I found it adequate to the story, but the cinematic atmosphere was what really carried the show.

On the whole I loved the show, but I wouldn’t call it a must watch. The complicated plot is interesting for writers. It’s also great to get a slice of mountain life and the lives of rescuers and rangers. The acting is great throughout and the mystery is intriguing. It’s just that the plot and writing got away from itself a bit and justice was served, but in perhaps the easiest way possible for the killer. And also for the other characters. Maybe as they had all gone through so much, that was better than a long, drawn out court proceeding. With all that, Jirisan is worth watching and levels above many other shows out there.

Lies are Exhausting

In watching this segment of the Stew Peters show last night, I agree very much with reporter Laura Logan. I, too, have less and less time and patience for people invested in the lies of our current news media, administration, and society. It’s become so refreshing to find someone, anyone, who wants to talk about the truth. Even those who at least can talk about both sides give me hope, even though they are still entertaining lies to consider themselves “fair” or something.

The US is an “empire of lies” just as Putin said. That’s the truth. The truth is Russia isn’t the bad guy in the war in Ukraine. Yes, they are invaders, but if you listen to Ms. Logan, she explains some very good reasons why Russia would invade that country. The propaganda against Russia these days is off the charts. The lying never stops and the ride never ends. Like she says, it’s basically avoidance theatre: Ooh! Look at Ukraine! Don’t look at the mountains of information now coming out about the many COVID and vaccine lies, don’t look at the mountains of information that not only was our 2020 election stolen, but many, many others as well. Don’t look at anything that actually may be relevant to your everyday life.

Happily, as I’ve said before, more and more people are waking up to the lies, sometimes I just wish more of the people in, say, my church community were. Maybe they do see the lies but are just afraid to talk about them. It is difficult to know who is a “friendly” these days, people safe to talk to about all of these so-called conspiracy theories that are really the truth. I fervently pray that the people living in the US can get back to living in the truth. Maybe then we can get better sleep, because keeping up with all the lies is exhausting.

https://www.redvoicemedia.com/2022/03/lies-of-war-empire-of-lies-crumbling-news-outlets-deceive-to-spark-ww3/

Up hopefully in the next few days: Review of Kdrama Jirisan.

Doctor Prisoner: The Best Villains

Spoilers ahead.

How glad I am that I didn’t give up on this show! Ok, let me back up a second, Doctor Prisoner, starring Namkoong Min is an excellent, over-the-top drama, but the plot quickly becomes repetitive. It is almost–almost–a fatal flaw. Thankfully the characters and incredible acting save it.

In South Korea they apparently have a law where a prisoner can get released for compassionate care. The prisoner has to have some awful disease that they are nearly dying of that the prison can’t treat, so they have to be moved to a hospital. In Doctor Prisoner this is the de facto way that rich and powerful people get out of prison. And doctor Na Yi Je (Namkoong Min) is the best at inventing diseases and helping the criminals get the compassionate release.

As I am still on a Namkoong Min binge, he is definitely why I wanted to watch this, but he is not why I stayed. Although this is a story about rooting out corruption, really it is about villains one upping each other. All of the “good” guys are villains in their own way. The few truly straight and narrow characters in the show are presented well, but blandly: This is not their show, not really. Sometimes it is just fun to watch villains be villains. We don’t have to try to understand why they are evil and give them sympathy. In fact, in this show they actually gain sympathy by their deviousness. Because they are outright evil, it is a joy to see them taken down. Not only that, but there’s an even greater joy as some are reformed.

The opening scene is hilarious as we watch Dr. Na Yi Je in action, meeting with a client in prison, and convincing her to practically kill herself to manifest evidence of an obscure, or even made up disease, to get released. Oh Jung Hee is a rich lady who has been imprisoned for hiring a contract killer on her husband’s mistress. Played by Kim Jung Nan (Tale of the Nine-Tailed), this character is the only woman on the show who’s a main player. She’s spicy, feisty, and awesome, and if one has to be an a woman of a certain age, hey, what a way to be! I absolutely love this actress and so want to be her. She also gets the best costumes here and in Tale of the Nine-Tailed–and her performance in that was great as well. A comparable American actress would probably be Meryl Streep. I can easily see Kim playing the “devil” in The Devil Wears Prada.

Oh Jung Hee also carries the romcom part of the story as she and prosecutor Jung Ui Sik fall for each other in hilarious fashion. Their story is way better than a serious romance with the lead character would have been. Jung Ui Sik is played by veteran drama actor Jang Hyun Sung (Leaves of the Red Sky), who plays a good villain.

But, back to Na Yi Je. Yes, he has a heartbreaking back story about how he turned out this way. By the end of the show, we don’t really care about that, we just want to see him take down more people and bend them to his will. In this cat and mouse game, this guy is always ten steps ahead, and boy, is it fun to watch. He enters into battle with the chief doctor of a famous prison (I can’t remember the name now), Sun Min Sik, played by Kim Byung Chul, who had a super creepy performance as the Wormtongue villain in Goblin.

Kim has so, so much fun here with this ladder climbing turd of a doctor, who wouldn’t recognize the Hippocratic Oath if it bashed him on the head. He uses “evil grin face” to full effect and is so ridiculous that after awhile one almost forgets he’s a villain. He’s an awful man who also has a great marriage: His wife is super supportive and it’s just great, great writing. Kim must have had so much fun playing this role. It’s just too bad he didn’t have a mustache to twirl.

After a few episodes with Na Yi Je and Sun Min Sik taking turns one upping each other, here’s where it gets repetitive, but if one can stick it out, it’s revealed that a different villain, an even worse one, is Na Yi Je’s real goal. It’s someone we’ve already met, the heir to a conglomerate, a chaebol character that frequently populates Kdramas: Lee Jae Joon played by Choi Won Young of Hello Monster (I Remember You) fame. Choi is awesome at playing a psycho, and although his character is necessarily scenery chomping, his physical acting is incredible to watch. An outstanding performance. By the end of the show, his character takes over almost everything. We, the viewers, are almost drawn in to his narcissism.

The best character, though, the best–and really this is a compliment to the writing–is Lee Jae Joon’s younger half-brother Lee Jae Huan, played by Park Sun Seok (Penthouse series). This is the first thing I’ve seen Park in and I hated his character. What an awful person! Jae Huan is essentially the first villain in the show, and for the first few episodes he seems like one of those characters that will get punished quickly and then the show will move on to someone else. It’s true that the show does move on, but Jae Huan stays, at first as a kind of comic relief as we get to see that prison life is hard for him. He’s so funny that we start to hate him less. Spoilers, spoilers! By the end of the show everyone is rooting for this guy! The writers do an amazing job of reforming this character and making him almost a good person. It’s awesome to watch and really makes the pay off with his brother at the end. It’s great writing because it was so unexpected.

Doctor Prisoner is Shakespearean in its scope and theatricality. The epic music almost never slows down, nor the pace. And yet fast pace continued can get dull. If you watch this and find yourself at that point, take a break and come back. The second half is worth it. Actor Namkoong Min holds the show being the solid, main character who is almost as villainous as the rest, but he’s just the ringmaster. Doctor Prisoner is a circus, a showcase of interlinked character pieces that I call: “The Best Villains!!”

A warning, if you ever want to go to the doctor again, this may not be the show for you, for the doctors in this are completely untrustworthy, especially and importantly our hero doctor Na Yi Je. They inject people with dangerous substances at an alarming rate and have an almost superhuman ability to manipulate the human body with drugs. Maybe the show is really just a commentary on our current medical industry? Literally the only tools they have are manmade drugs and surgery and in this show these things are the swords and spears of battle. It gives a patient real pause and concern.

Only One Story Matters

The season of Lent is a time of reflection for the Christian, a chance to soberly analyze the cost of our redemption in Christ. God does not take sin lightly, and because of that, the only way to save us, the ones He loves, was to become our substitute and suffer the punishment in our place. God became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, His Son, lived a perfect life for us, and died on the cross for all of our sins–for the sins of the entire world since time began and until it will end. It is a marvelous mystery, a wonderful miracle that has a divine logic that humans can really only understand through faith. The substitute had to be both human and Divine to truly take our place and then to conquer sin, death, and the devil.

These days I find myself in the middle of so many stories, my own, of course, but also too many TV shows, too many books, and even too many writing projects. Reflecting on God’s Grace, and on Jesus’s death and sacrifice helps me to slow down, to remember what’s really important. Even current events, alarming as they may be sometimes, necessarily fade in comparison. In the end, only one story matters, and that is the history of this world, the story God put into motion when He created it and then implemented a plan to save it and also to eventually end it. Someday this, world, this universe, will not exist, but we still will, for we have eternal souls. The believers will be with God in heaven and the unbelievers will live in torment, abandoned by a just God who cannot tolerate sin, although in His loving patience it may sometimes seem like He does. How happy and how awful at the same time, but that is the story. More than that, it is the reality we face. Where one is going to spend eternity is the only thing that matters, for there is no going back, no changing things, no exceptions if you belong to a certain group.

Lent is a chance to ponder the weight of evil. Sin, death, and the devil, cannot and could not be defeated without the shedding of blood. Our Savior paid a dear, dear price. But in looking to Jesus, we can see love and hope; we can see our redemption. Yes, it came at a great cost, but it is ours to have, forever. And it was sealed with Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, signally our own rise from the dead someday. And so Lent is also a time of great joy, almost a painful joy, in a way. The story, the true story of our redemption is the greatest story ever told, and the world itself testifies to that story every single day. May your Lenten season be filled with serious reflection and also joy in your Savior Jesus Christ.