Posts tagged blessings
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Continue from The Last Straw (1)
As I finished “The Last Straw (1)” and typed the last sentence (“…tears of blessings that are to come”), I just posted it and closed my computer as though I was closing a chapter in my life. Little did I know that there was still much more to come. It was like a train stopping at a station, and then moving forward toward me to send me the blessings, one after another.
When I say there were many more blessings to come, I am not joking. A few days after writing “The Last Straw,” my agent called me to tell me I had booked an action-drama series. It was still new, but it was getting very popular. I was elated to find myself participating in this tv show because I wasn’t able to act much last year due to time conflicts. With this call at the beginning of the year, I was excited about what the rest of my year would hold for my acting career. It gave me so much hope for the future, and I saw it as a sign that I could do well this year in my acting career.
When I first went in to shoot the episode, the hairdresser accompanied me to pick up my costume. I had three selections, and he told me, “You look so high-spirited that I’m going to pick this one for you!” But as he started to reach for a brightly-colored costume, the woman in charge of wardrobe exclaimed, “No, no, no! Her wardrobe needs to be darker,” and handed me a brown costume. She also instructed him to tell the makeup department to make me look “dirtier and poorer.” By the time they had finished, I had seemed like an entirely different person. Gone were the bright clothes and high spirits, replaced by a depressing and dirty costume. Understandably, my character was a poor woman. However, it didn’t seem to be enough, and a girl painted my sleeves and blouse dark brown. It looked like I had been rolling in mud.
At that moment, I began to think about the words of the divinity. I had to know who I was, and what my position was. What was the purpose of writing a book? Who is the reason I am writing a book? “ Make sure you know what race you are running, who are your competitors and who is the reason you are running child,” I recall.
My character was the mother of a young man running an illegal operation. She was not a respectable person, as she had tried to survive by living a life of crime. I had to understand this position and put myself in the situation. Luckily, the director’s instructions to stay on set the whole day, even if we weren’t shooting, actually helped me get into character. I understood the mood of the show, and what the scene required from me. I noticed that the director never failed to start with “Thank you everyone” before the “3…2…1…action” countdown. As I was shooting this episode, I was reminded to be thankful for my environment, grateful for the opportunities, and appreciative for the challenges. This show was not just a chance for my acting career, but a rare opportunity that put me in a situation to make me think about who I am.
Life is like a play. At this time in my life, I play as a writer to fulfill my promise to the divinity, and it is a promise I intend to keep. However, I finally realized I was going about it in all the wrong ways. I was trying to finish it in a rush: it was like I was racing to finish a test and turn it into the teacher as soon as possible. It totally crushed my spirits when I found out that I did not win. It was not the money that came with winning but a book deal. Yes, a book contract to help me to publish next year is the key. I can have the book out by 2017. Then I am free because I fulfill my promise, and I will have freedom to go about my life.
After losing, I realized I was the actual winner, as the divinity put it. By losing, I learned what it means to be a writer. Shooting this TV episode was especially enlightening, giving insight about my position in this world. The Voice asked me who I was writing this book for. All this time I thought I was writing for him. It was for me. All this time, I figured I had written more than enough material for a book. I realized I had omitted many important parts. Healing was only part of it. The missing part was the growth. After healing, then we can continue to grow. I do not write for others, but for myself.
I finally see the blessings that are about to come are the continuous growing of the spirit in my life.
My heart and my prayers go out to the victims of the Taiwan earthquake. I wish that Heaven will protect the victims so that they may survive this ordeal and begin Chinese New Year anew.
2016 is the year of the Monkey! The monkey is the ninth animal of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 animals in total. The number “nine” in Chinese symbolizes luck.This year, Chinese New Year begins on February 8th, 2016. Also known in China as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese lunar calendar.
People born in the Year of the Monkey (a symbol of intelligence, wittiness, and a magnetic personality) are wise, intelligent, confident, charismatic, loyal, inventive, cheerful, clever and energetic.
This year, I happened to visit the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens during their Chinese New Year celebration. It was a beautiful sight, with red and gold (and monkeys, of course) everywhere. The colors of red and gold traditionally represent good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture. The hard work that the Bellagio and the Palazzo have put into their displays is evident: there are gold coins galore (signifying wealth), bamboo trees, and real fruit in the displays. I researched online to see exactly what the Bellagio Gardens had decorated the displays with. I read that 88 red and gold lanterns were hung from the Waterfall Atrium ceilings, with more than 1000 flowers used to decorate the displays. Many live plants were used, such as ivy, bamboo and ferns. A “Monkey Mountain” was created, which featured climbing monkeys, as well as a Waterfall Mountain.
You see a lot of peaches on the Monkey Mountain and the monkeys are all trying to grab a peach, which represents longevity.
Six happy children dance in the garden celebrating the Chinese New Year. Their colorful outfits are handmade from fresh flowers such as carnations and an assortment of chrysanthemums.
Chinese lantern trees are made from Manzanita tree and give us the wood element.
Bamboo-This plant plays a vital role in Chinese culture. The plant is known as Zhu in China and is used in almost every facet of daily life.
Ding-These vessels, commonly made of bronze and widely used for cooking, could only be possessed by an official or a king. This is also used for worshiping in a Chinese temple.
Curved Bridge-The bridge seen here is common-place in Chinese culture.These types of bridges are referred to as rainbow bridge, so called because of the distinctive arch, resembling a rainbow.
Koi Fish are a common feature in Chinese garden.
‘Shui’-The water element in Chinese is called ‘shui’. An essential part of life, water symbolizes emotion and can be quiet or turbulent.
Floral Chinese Symbol- In this garden, you will see a lot of chrysanthemums with different colors and gold color plants which stand for good luck and prosperity.
I-Ching Coins represent the element metal, symbolize wealth and are used in correlation with ancient I-Ching text.
The character is “blessing” in Chinese.
I hope you will have a truly blessed year!
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I have undergone so many trials. Whenever something happened to me, it reminded
me of Job in the Bible. Job was a righteous, devout, faithful man. God allowed Satan
to afflict Job to test his faithfulness. As a result, many tragedies were visited upon
Job. In the end, however, God blessed Job with twice as much as he had had before
his trials began. One thing that sticks in my mind was that even though God put Job
in the hands of Satan, He stipulated one condition: that Satan must spare Job’s life.
Yes, Job’s life had to be spared. Then, after his trials were over, he could bear
witness for God and receive His double blessing. It was wonderful that it never
occurred to me to kill myself even when these trials came upon me, one after
another, nonstop. I knew clearly, as a mother, that I had no choice but to live. Yes,
sometimes it might have felt like a bomb exploding in my heart, breaking my heart
into pieces, but I had to live. So I went on with my life. Remaining alive, I was able to
experience results I had not anticipated and thus learn whether it had really been a
“bomb” or, rather, a “blessing” in disguise.
Let me tell you why I use the shocking word “bomb.” After my husband passed
away, I went to his office to clean out his things. I found a box in his bottom drawer.
It contained a ring and a picture of a girl. I was stunned by my discovery.
Sitting there, I felt as though the earth had stopped turning. I felt numb. How I wished I were non-existent! How I wished I had not been born! “I wish… Oh, my goodness, I wish …” I did not know what to wish. My whole being was frozen. My thoughts were frozen. “Oh God, please help me….”
What I soon realized I wished for was that my late husband could come back to life, if only for five minutes, so I could ask him what was going on. Of course, it was impossible for him to come back, and then suddenly, awakening from my paralysis, I had an idea –the best way to get to the bottom of the mystery would be to ask my husband’s best friend for details.
I went all the way to Canada to see him, only to receive this reply: The girl was their high school classmate. He added that whoever came to the United States first would suffer. He implied that I came to the States first and married his friend, so I suffered. What a cruel thing to say! He was unkind, and he did not want to give me any details. No matter how desperately I wanted the truth, I could not get it. He had no empathy; my hope to get to the bottom of the issue vanished.
Returning to Boston, I knew I had no one but myself to rely on. I thought through the whole incident. Apparently, my husband had intended to propose to that girl, but I got here before her, so he married me instead. He never gave me any sign of having another girlfriend. He apparently knew I would have left him if I ever found out.
Why did it happen? After analyzing our interaction, I calmed down, and I could not blame him for what he had done. A month before he departed for the U.S. to begin graduate studies, we had been quarreling all the time. It was because my parents did not approve of our relationship. I felt pressure from my parents and passed it on to him. Maybe he could not take it anymore and tried to find a way out by finding a new girlfriend.
The past is past, and I told myself that I had to let go of this agony. I needed to deal with it so my children and I could get on with our lives. One Sunday I locked myself in my room and for the last time read his diary, which detailed our activities when we were together at the university. I read and read … I cried and cried. And then I burned it. I said good-bye to my husband, good-bye to my past. And I felt relieved.
But still this bomb had exploded and broken my heart in pieces. If I had not had this marriage, I might have spared myself all these hardships. I felt sad and tried to escape my torments. At this time, we were looking to buy a house. I started to notice a change in my daughter following her father’s death. She told me I did not need a house with a family room. I asked her why. She told me it was because we were not a family. I suddenly realized that her schoolmates were teasing her because she did not have a father. I needed to come up with a solution.
At about this time, some friends from New York came to Boston and wanted to get together with me at a Taiwanese Association meeting. I had not been going to any social activities since my husband’s death. But to see my friends, I ended up joining their dinner party. There I met a man, Ming, who later became my husband. He was two years older than me. We had met earlier at the university in Taiwan. He then got his Ph.D. in Canada and was doing a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University at the time we met again in Boston. He was kind, considerate and had a big heart. He loved me very much and accepted my children as his own. I thank him for giving my children a loving, trusting and reliable father.
So is it a bomb? Or is it a blessing in disguise? I am grateful that I did not surrender to all my trials and give up my life. I gave myself a chance to see whether it was a bomb or a blessing. Just like Job, who lived to receive a double blessing from God. I thank my late husband who gave me a present – a box with a ring and a girl’s picture. He helped me to get out of my own box and let go of him so I could have a life of my own for my children and myself.