The Words of the Inoue Family
I went to the Won Jon yesterday.
I think the reference in Peter Kim's talk to the special hotel room that Young Jin nim was trying to get in Reno was a room with a Hot Tub/Jacuzzi. These have suddenly become very popular in the hotels in the US. This summer when I took, a trip with my family we stayed in a few of them, since we were late making our reservations, and in budget hotels these are the last rooms to go out, since they are more expensive.
Peter Kim also spent some time describing some trouble they had getting the casket into a concrete vault, but I couldn't quite understand the story, so I wonder if you can clarify it?
[I waited for a response and edited it in here:]
The story about the casket in America had slipped my mind, but when you brought it up, I think the story is actually a little different. The concrete vault he was referring to was the vault built in the ground to protect caskets from the damp in the public cemetery where Young Jin nim rested for 11 days before coming to Korea. At first he was to be buried in plot number 111, but as the casket (500 pounds of it!) was being lowered into the concrete vault by crane, the feet end of it would go down, but the head end of it would not, as though something were blocking it. So they pulled it up again and checked to see if anything was blocking it.
Nothing was. So they tried again. Once again the feet end went down into the vault but the head end would not. Then they took off the carpet or cloth which was to protect the casket and tried to lower it again, but still the same problem, and then the head end of the vault collapsed. Mr. Kim felt that Young Jin nim, who was always very proper and accurate about things, had been resisting going into a vault which he knew was ready to collapse. After they saw the wall collapse, they moved the casket over to number 54 or 56 (sorry, can't remember) and it went in immediately. I found the story very interesting and Mr. Kim seemed to feel it was indicative of the fact that Young Jin nim was still trying to do things right.
I spent some of the time during the ceremony comparing it to the non Unification Movement funerals I have attended in Korea. One thing I noticed was that the flowers were of many colors, of course, mostly fall colors because those are the flowers that are available in this season. However, in usual funerals I have been to, the flowers are all white, or maybe white and yellow. One time when I bought flowers to take to the Wonjon, also the shop tried to sell me only white and yellow because that is the custom for grave site flowers. However, for SeungHwa, we use bright colored flowers.
The choice of attire, with the men in black and the women in white (mostly chima chogoris, but many ladies in white western clothing) is the same as it is for regular funerals here, except that for some funerals some of the men wear traditional Korean clothes in a natural ivory-colored jute/linen fabric, or an armband of the same fabric symbolizing that traditional clothing. Our gentlemen were all dressed in Black/dark western suits. A few were wearing athletic shoes, in anticipation of the trip up the mountain to the wonjon (a few of the ladies, too). (Some of them, including Dr. Pak, changed to athletic shoes in the car on the way to the Wonjon).
The casket was resting on top of a platform, kind of like a huge rectangular layer cake, with each layer smaller. The first layer, at table height, was draped in white satin, and had the candles and incense burners that were mentioned. The next layer, a few feet up, was covered with greenery, beautifully arranged, with small flowers in it. Then there were two more layers covered with red, yellow and white flowers, wall to wall flowers like the floats in the Tournament of Roses Parade. The casket was on the top layer, surrounded by flowers.
There were tables at the sides holding colorful flower arrangements with placards attributing each one to a different mission country. The upper layers and the tables at the sides were draped in yellow satin. The whole stage area was hung in sky-blue chiffon. Standing along the back of the stage area were national flags of the mission countries.
After the morning ceremony had finished, and announcements had been made about who should ride which buses and everyone was on the way out, the MC got back on the microphone and said "Everyone who has not left yet please stay to pray and attend while we carry out the casket." There were a few hundred people left. The front part of the platforms were quickly moved out of the way, revealing a rather steep set of about 10 stairs that had to be descended to get the casket to stage level. Then it had to go down some more steps to get to the floor of the auditorium, and more steps to get from the front of the theater to where the car was parked. Every inch of the car (actually a mini-van) was covered with flowers, forming the unification symbol on the back. (I didn't get a good look at the sides and front.) So the 14 young men who were carrying it really had their work cut out for them. Rev. Kwak walked in front of the casket, carrying Young Jin nim's picture.
When I came in the door to Little Angels in the morning, I was greeted with the most amazing feeling of grace and love from God. I don't know if I can really explain it, but it centers on the subtle difference between "I have to pay indemnity" because of guilt and fear and "I have to pay indemnity" because... someone has to do it. Because it has to get done, or the world will not progress toward the ideal. God is taking every opportunity to claim indemnity offerings and Father is doing his best to tell us how to make them (by completing the projects at hand, by prayer, by loving the people around us, etc.). And then, when we don't do as much as we might or should have been able to do, God and Father take the opportunity to take a tragic event like the death of Young Jin nim and use it to make our back payment for us without accusation or condemnation.
This feeling that I had was reinforced by my experience during the morning service. Rev. Kwak spoke of the shortage of indemnity conditions -- he said TangGamYangEe BuChok HaeSo or something like that: the amount of indemnity we have offered has not been enough. ChoiSong HamNiDa Young Jin Nim. I/we are sorry, Young Jin nim -- and True Parents, who have worked so hard throughout the whole universe for the sake of True Love. When he spoke I really did not feel accused for my failures. It was a statement of the state of things, and of course, a plea to do our best in the future. Accusation was not in his tone of voice, or his manner, his face or his choice of words. However when I read statements like this from him or from father in black ink on white paper it is easy for me to read it with layers of accusation, and I lose hope and give up because I feel utterly inadequate to do what is being asked.
At the WonJon, Father had asked them to prepare a site close to Heung-Jin's area, but there is no extra land right there (actually in a bad rain a few years ago a landslide took away part of the flat area in front of Heung-Jin nim's wonjon, and it had to be repaired. In any case, there is not a big enough chunk of land right next to Heung Jin nim. So the area they prepared was above and to the right of Heung-Jin's wonjon, to the right of Hee-Jin nim, if I am not mistaken. It might actually be a little higher than Hee-Jin nim's wonjon. I didn't get a chance to check.
From where I was standing, I could not see well, but it seemed there was some difficulty in getting the casket into the hole. The hole was a little too small. They had to move the casket over to the side and do a little more digging. Somehow this kind of small logistical difficulties is always endearing to me when it happens in a church/family event. Logistics is my specialty, and I spend much of my time making sure this won't happen in public events. So when there are small logistical difficulties (like how the incense kept sticking on everybody's gloves yesterday and they had to stand there and brush it off before going back to their seats) it could make me think, "Oh, I can't believe these guys didn't think this through and solve this problem in advance." However, when there are small logistical difficulties in a church event like this, for me it makes it more personal. If everything went smoothly and like clockwork, it would feel too cold and impersonal.
But I feel the need to point out that American caskets are much larger and more elaborate than the simple wooden ones used in Korea -- so I'm sure the grave had been dug for a normal Korean one and would have to have been widened quite a bit.
The casket was opened briefly at the wonjon and Rev. Kwak held it open while True Parents and other members of the True Family offered flowers and also some holy books to Young Jin nim. Then it was closed and covered with a church flag.
(True confessions: When I saw the books I thought we were going to do some Hoon Dok Hae, and the thought did not excite me because the place I was standing was on a steep incline, and muddy, and I could not imagine how I was going to manage standing there another hour listening to Father's Words in Korean.)
When it came time for the HunToSik (the part of the ceremony where they shovel earth onto the casket which is already in the ground) a few church elders were called to take the places of the True Children who were not able to make it. Father told us that some of them were on a plane that got delayed in Anchorage because of weather or something and couldn't get to Korea on time. So some of the elder church leaders stood in their places.
For me, it was a very happy moment to see SunJin nim and InSup nim together, however briefly, to put earth on the casket together. Shin Il nim, the eldest grandson of True Father (Sung Jin nim's first child) was also present.
Another moving moment for me was watching HoonSook nim during the morning ceremony as she went up to the alter with Shin Chul nim and Shin Ah nim (Young Jin nim's daughter). She helped Shin Ah nim to do a full bow, and Shin Chul nim did too, and Hoon-Sook nim herself moved with such grace and respect which really showed the depth of her heart of attendance to True Parents and True Family.
The same for Rev. Kwak and Dr. Pak. As they bowed to Young Jin nim's picture, I really felt that their minds were 100% on that bow, on offering their attendance to Young Jin nim. It really made me think. When I bow, there are often a number of thoughts running through my mind, so while my body is bowing, I am not really offering my whole being into that bow.
I am sorry this is not very logically laid out. I wanted to get it written down while it was still fresh, and I can't really take the time to organize it further today, because all of yesterday's work is still staring at me from my desk, since we did not get back from the Wonjon until 7:00 PM.
One small point of correction; the grave to which Young Jin Nim's casket was moved in Reno was not 54 or 56; it was number 115 (from number 111). The nice thing about that site, to me, was that there were two trees of equal size symmetrically placed near the foot of the grave site. There are no other trees in the cemetery, as far as I remember.
ITN, Tyler Hendricks