Monday, December 20, 2010

An Imaginative Old Man

Daniel always has windblown hair. It’s black, kind of stringy and receding in the front and thinning everywhere else.
I remember the first time I saw him. I thought he looked a lot like my Tata. I always saw Tata in my head as a handsome old man. Then when he visited after we found out that he had cancer, I was shocked. He had aged so much and it was like his eyes had sunk in and his hair had been bleached white.
This is the Tata that Daniel reminded me of. I don’t know how old he is. I guess it’s rude of me to even compare him to that Tata.
At first I couldn’t understand anything he said. He has a very strong Korean accent and he often adds extra vowels, like “u” or “o” to the end of words. One time when Karolina and I ate dinner at the All Nations Community Church on Sunday night, he joked about how Japanese and Koreans have the worst American accents. However, the more I talk to him, the more I understand. Before I used to strain my ears and fiercely read his lips in order to understand.
Daniel is inspiring to me in a way. He never grew up, but he's really intelligent.
Whenever I see him, he is reading a new book. Sometimes it’s a history book and other times it’s something on theology. He reads a lot. He is also in the process of learning Russian and Japanese. (He often asks speaks to me in Japanese, since he learned about my heritage. 
The other night I ate dinner with him though and he closed his World Atlas and we started talking about the food. Our conversation evolved into one about animal rights. He is horrified by the way people treat animals, even chickens before they are slaughtered. (We were eating chicken as we spoke)
He loves animals and believes in something called “Theology of Life”. I googled this and found a book on the topic by  Jay B. McDaniels called Of God and Pelicans: A Theology of Reverence for Life. He probably read this.
He doesn’t even kill the ants that raid his room in the summertime! Then he told me about these cockroaches that were living in his house. He didn’t want to kill them, but they started attacking him, so he chased them out. He said to me, wide-eyed, “They never went to school! But they are so wise!” He also said, “Dogs are my friends, and they know that we are friends!” The convicted way in which he said it made me believe him.
When Providence performed A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, Daniel was the drama association’s biggest fan. For weeks afterward he searched out every person whose name was in the pamphlet. He went to both showings and took pictures. He recently gave me a picture that he had taken of Libby and I after opening night.
Some people think he's a nut, but he inspires me because he lives every day with a child-like fascination. He is always seeking to learn, whether it be from reading or having conversations with people. He is zealously excited about the world. His heart and mind are so connected! His imagination seems to be so incredibly alive; his mind soaks in everything and his heart is passionate for it all. Daniel is really cool.

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