Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Gratitude: Han -- 7/4/07

Earlier today, I watched an episode of The West Wing in which a North Korean pianist wishes to defect. He mentions "han" as his sense of feeling when told that to do so would compromise nuclear negotiations between North Korea and the US. This is one of the citations at

The Television show The West Wing also referenced the trait in Episode 5.4 (entitled "Han"). The episode concludes with the President of the United States realizing his own personal understanding of the esoteric concept: "There is no literal English translation. It's a state of mind. Of soul, really. A sadness. A sadness so deep no tears will come. And yet still there's hope." [emphasis added]

This has been my state of soul for the last two months. It's nice to have a word for it. In Korean, the word has much deeper cultural connotations about suffering and despair, but I like the way President Bartlett phrased it.

Anyway, I like learning new words -- and this one is so fitting to my life.

I'm grateful for the hope that lies hidden in sadness and despair. I still feel the sadness, and maybe I always will if things don't work out in my favor, but I have also rediscovered the hope. What better gift is there?

What are you grateful for?

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