The First of July

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July 1st should be a special day for me. But for the last 21 years, I’ve never really paid particular attention to this day. Today marks the 21st year since the death of my husband. And today, I had an urge to visit his grave.

When I mentioned it to my daughter, she insisted on coming with me. She also suggested for me to go to church with her at Fellowship Monrovia, where she’s been going for the past couple months. She told me that the pastor was an excellent speaker and that every time she went, she felt lifted up. She felt very confident and energetic after service. Afterward, we would go to my husband’s grave. Usually, I would have refused. I haven’t stepped into a church for about 20 years. It didn’t mean that I didn’t have faith, as I still had my fellowship with God because I continuously pray and have the conversations with him.

But this time, I was moved to go with her. I was so glad and thankful that I went. The speaker today was a visiting pastor, and he did such a good job. He put bible verses into a real-life context and made it easy to grasp the meanings. I was so moved, and before I left, I went to hug him and the head pastor.

We went to my husband’s grave afterward. While there, we usually try to clean the headstone. It wasn’t difficult, as I had cleaned it the last time I had been there with my son and granddaughter, but we still needed to trim the grass around the stone. As I sat there, I realized that I could count on my fingers how many times I’ve been at his grave over the past 20 years. I felt ashamed that I didn’t go more often. The things my husband has done for me is more than I can imagine. Even just before he passed away, he gave me a gift. He tried to tell me something. I mistook what he said until a year later when I realized he was trying to tell me that he loved me. A few years later, I decided to write an article about how I fought for him to keep getting a blood transfusion from the hospital for three days so that he would stay alive, but he passed away only several hours after they agreed to keep giving him blood.

Image result for image of I love you
Image is from I Love You Heart Of Feather Graphic.

All that time, I thought that I had tried so hard to keep him alive. I wanted him to live so much, but he passed away anyway. When I finished writing, I realized that he had wanted me to keeping living. By fighting, he knew that I would gain the strength and energy to live on and move on without him.

But there was one more surprise he had given me that I did not realize. About a week ago, when I was praying with my son, I realized something about his death.

My husband had had surgery on his lymph nodes because they were enlarged. The operation, coupled with the radiation he was receiving, made his body very weak and the wound from the surgery never healed and sealed, so the blood kept coming out from the opening of the wound.

One time, when our church members came to visit, I had to pull up the sheet to cover his neck so they wouldn’t see the blood on him. A week before his passing, he asked me suddenly if I had been standing next to him. I told him I hadn’t, and I had been sitting on the sofa resting. He told me that he had seen Jesus then. I asked him what He looked like. He said that he couldn’t see Him clearly, but he knew He had had a warm and smiling face. Also, a couple of days before he left, two doves kept walking back and forth on the window outside of his room.

After my husband passed, I couldn’t understand why he had to bleed to death too. Hadn’t Jesus’s blood brought salvation and saved the people already? Why my husband? This question has lingered and never answered until recently.

I realized that this coincides with the topic of the last chapter of the book I’m writing: Who Am I? God’s message was that “I am God.” We all also have the heavenly character of God. He is our father, and we are his children, so we are God too. Even though I’ve finished writing my book, I still can’t accurately display what God is through it. Who am I to become him? How can I become him? After the realization I had last week, I finally got it.

What my husband did wasn’t a coincidence. He gave me the last gift, a lesson on how to become godly. He reminded me that Jesus bled too. He was doing what Jesus did. He taught me how to follow God’s footsteps. It doesn’t mean that I have to bleed to death, but I have to follow God’s steps to have His love and His wisdom. To gain our rightful ownership and to manifest His power. This way, we can live in glory as He did. I’m still learning, but I’m so thankful, after 21 years, that I finally got my answer. What a gift.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 45

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大成若缺,其用不弊。
大盈若沖,其用不窮。
大直若屈,大巧若拙,大辯若訥。
躁勝寒靜勝熱。清靜為天下正。

The highest perfection is like imperfection,
And its use is never impaired.
The greatest abundance seems meager,
And its use will never fail.
What most straight appears devious,
The greatest skill appears clumsiness;
The greatest eloquence seems like stuttering.
Movement overcomes cold,
(But) keeping still overcomes the heat.
Who is calm and quiet becomes the guide for the universe.
( Translation by Lin Yutang )

Lao Tzu said, “something that is complete or perfect is like a defect, but its function is still there, and it will not disappear.”

Things that are full are like they are empty, but their function is not exhausted.

In the same way: the big straight thing seems bent; great coordination seems to be clumsy; and great eloquence seems to be dull.

So he says clearly: peace is better than agitation, cold is better than heat, and quiet and calm can be used as a model for the world.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 44

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名與身孰親?身與貨孰多?得與亡孰病?
是故甚愛必大費;多藏必厚亡。知足不辱,知止不殆,可以長久。

Fame or one’s own self, which does one love more?
One’s own self or material goods, which has more worth?
Loss (of self) or possession (of goods), which is the greater evil?

Therefore: he who loves most spends most,
He who hoards much loses much.
The contented man meets no disgrace;
Who knows when to stop, runs into no danger –
He can long endure.
( Translation by Lin Yutang )

The image is from 简书.

This chapter emphasizes the importance of self. Lao Tzu began by asking:

Self and fame, which one is closer to you?
Self and the goods, which is more important to you?
If you gain fame and good but cause harm to yourself, which one makes you lose more?
He added: If you love fame too much, you need to spend a great deal and if you try to store too much, you will end up suffering a severe loss.

So Lao Tzu said: If people can be content enough, they will not be subject to humiliation. If they know when they should stop, they will not be in danger.

Look Up At the Stars

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In an age when most people are rushing to their next destination, be a person who occasionally looks up at the stars.

In “The Moon and Sixpence” by W. Somerset Maugham, the main character says that he has tried his best to live an ordinary life, which was probably the fate of the majority.

Some people look down at the ground for sixpence, while some people look up to see the moon in the sky.

As for a boring life, some people choose to accept fate and muddle along. But the inwardly rich man has drawn a flower in dull life and painted suffering into a poem.

More important than life is attitude and lifestyle, and the man who loves life, regardless of what fate has sent him, always tries to play it well.

There is no such thing as a truly rich life, but you can still try to take a good afternoon nap. You can’t sit and make footprints under a wave of maple trees, but you can make time for playing chess to enjoy a brief break.

Take life seriously, and you will find that a meal and vegetables, a day and night are perfect, and you won’t be complain anymore. You will only be in awe of life.

Whatever the world does to you, may you be as brave and hopeful as ever.

Maugham retouched.jpg

Author W. Somerset Maugham (picture from Wikipedia)

The original Chinese text is from https://www.weibo.com/3611356753/FhPiBipga?type=comment#_rnd1530516812435.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 43

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天下之至柔,馳騁天下之至堅。
無有入無間,吾是以知無為之有益。
不言之教,無為之益,天下希及之。
The gentlest thing in the world
overcomes the hardest thing in the world.
That which has no substance
enters where there is no space.
This shows the value of non-action.
(From a translation by S. Mitchell)

Teaching without words and work without doing
Are understood by very few.
(Translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)

Lao Tzu told us why he knows the benefits of “inaction” because he watched “nothing go into the gaps of the things.”

Lao Tzu said: the softest thing in the world can destroy the hardest thing. The things that have no fixed shape or fixed form (such as wind and water), can enter the gaps of all things.

And “nothing” is instead a soft thing without a fixed shape and fixed form, which can enter hard things and things without gaps.

Therefore, inaction is not for the sake of purpose but with no purpose. It is what the Buddhists say: “without the heart’s desire.”

On the contrary, a lot of people do things with purpose and want compensation. There are seldom people who can apply inaction and ask for nothing in return.

Lao Tzu also realized that only a few would be able to teach without words or work without actions, which he reminds us of again and again in his book.

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