I wasn't really planning to do a V-day post, cos cliched much? Plus I've already written an ultra-sweet post some time ago on the topic of love. But while I was cooking lunch and boiling soup stock for dinner, inspiration hit me and so here goes…
First of all, hands up if you're #teamjipyeong or a fan of Kim Seon-Ho - cos I am! Along with millions of others around the globe, we noticed his charming dimpled smile in Start-Up and couldn't help but be drawn in by his superb acting skills (probably due to his stage experience). Many of us have also gone on a trek through k-drama archives to watch his previous works, like Catch the Ghost.
So while ruminating on what love meant for the KSH characters in these two series, I realised that to both Ji-Pyeong in Start-Up and Ji-Seok in Catch the Ghost, love meant laying down one's life for the one you love.
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
In Ji-Pyeong's case, it's at the point when he realises that he hadn't been willing to give up his status and successful track record for Dal-Mi (Bae Suzy) where he concedes defeat to his rival Do-San (Nam Joo-Hyuk) who quit his well-paid Silicon Valley job to help Dal-Mi fulfil her dream.
On the other hand, Ji-Seok, who was initially reluctant to risk his own well-being for his new partner, Ryeong (Moon Geon-Young) reaches an epiphany when he confides to his mother that he would do anything to protect Ryeong as she is precious to him.
Love bears all things, ... endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:7
However, it's not only in the life-threatening cops and robbers chase scenes that Ji-Seok displays his selfless love. We already found out early on in the series that he had foregone brilliant prospects in the police force for a mundane job as a subway police chief, in order to not only pay for his mother's nursing home bills but more importantly to ensure that he would stay unharmed and alive as he was the sole family member left to care for his mother.
He even has to disguise himself as his late father when visiting her because she is suffering from dementia and thinks of herself as her 17yo self who's being courted by her husband-to-be. He does all this without complaint despite the fact that she doesn't remember him at all and addresses him as ahjussi (uncle) whenever he appears before her without his usual get-up.
Which brings me back to making lunch and boiling soup stock... for I put in the effort to prepare my children's favourite dishes regardless of how much I dislike cooking because of my love for them. This same motivation is true for mothers who sacrifice promising careers to be stay-home moms as well as those who work full-time jobs to provide for the family while also playing the role of homemaker after work. It is in the willingness to lay down your life, by putting the needs of your loved ones before your own, that true love is shown.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
1 Corinthians 13:5b
Although Ji-Seok is willing to put his life on the line for Ryeong, it is hard for her to accept his affections. The turning point comes when he defends her before her colleagues. They blame her for her sister's abduction by the serial murderer as she had abandoned her autistic twin on the train. Ji-Seok understands that it was a momentary slip as she had reached breaking point after having been the lone caregiver for her sister since they were 10yo. It is this act of grace that finally convinces Ryeong of his love for her.
Their love is not an inward-focused lovey dovey thing though, as they continue to fight the baddies and save the world together after they start dating. In fact, Ji-Seok becomes braver and more dynamic as a leader by drawing on the strength that Ryeong gives him. In addition, even those colleagues who had previously bullied her are so inspired by her sacrificial love for her sister that they also spring into action readily when called upon to help her find her missing twin.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
So let us also take our inspiration from Christ who first loved us and gave His life for us, and go love our neighbours as ourselves. And may His love that flows through us not only lead others to know Him but also be willing to lay down their own lives to love others. After all, that is the real meaning of Valentine's Day!