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It's a wonderful life!
by F. A. Hutchison
2006-11-22 10:01:17
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I'm sad tonight, but why...? I think tired is a better description, as is emotionally drained!

Physical exertion is nothing compared to emotional 'exertion!' Thus, tonight I felt very tired. The moon is dark, I know, pulling 'feelings' down. The day was filled with emotion.

We had bought Xu Gang (Tom's brother) a bicycle, and all three of us rode into Xi'an, the City (22km from our hotel in neighboring 'Xianyang'). He and Tom wanted to visit their parents!

At lunch I explained that I shouldn't go with them the first time (Tom hadn't seen their parents for two years). My plan... they should go alone and set something up for the following day, Sunday. But, it didn't work out that way!

Xu Gang, didn't exactly know where he visited them five months ago, so I wasn't hopeful they'd find the place (his parents don't have a telephone). But, amazingly, we were there before we knew it!

I'll never forget Tom's mother's face, so alive, so happy to see her boys!

A Chinese face*;
So much grace,
I fell in love with yesterday!
*('In the faces of men and women, I see God!' Walt Whitman)

They wanted to give me money! They wanted to feed me! They wanted to thank me! They don't have enough themselves! I slipped 100RMB under the covers of the bed we sat on, knowing they'd never accept anything directly. The unmade bed taking up half the room. There was maybe a coal for the stove, maybe enough to eat, maybe enough clothes to wear, maybe! She sat on a low stool, hardly taking her eyes off Tom. Their prized 'possessions' their sons!

Mr. Xu had been reprimanded for lighting up a cigarette inside, as Tom knows I don't like smoking. Can you imagine being 'thrown out' of your own 'house'? He sat on his honches smoking his cigarette in the door jam, listening. This guy a farmer of sorts, grows, of all things, the Australian fruit, 'Kiwi!' I think maybe they're 'migrant workers' (150 million of these in China).

It was Tom's mother's face, however, that captured my attention, so charged with finding out about her eldest (Tom) boy's life. So appreciative she gave me their only orange, a big fat one!

My heart ached for the situation! Oh, mother's (parent's) love, what pain it must bear for having children!

Chinese families are close, but in a different way than western families. For example, Tom hadn't seen his mother in two years, but didn't hug her when they first met (a little one on parting).

I hugged her upon parting, but I felt her withdraw as slightly embarrassed. I couldn't help myself!

I 'captured an image of the family, and will have it printed and framed. A gift, I'm sure they will hang on the wall.

Tom's father started cleaning our bicycles, when we were about to 'push off!' 'Love has no pride, when it calls out your name,' goes the song! He didn't have to do that! I should have fallen on my knees and washed his feet, like Jesus did! I am no better than any living soul! And just because I have a little money, the least reason to love me (Americans)! Damn!

Riding home, Xu Gang said something that turned the 'sad' day (remembering my own mother), into bright sunshine! He said, 'I've had a wonderful day! I've learned so much from you!'

I told him, 'Every day is a wonderful day!'

If you have two eyes and can see, two ears and can hear, can enjoy food (have enough to eat), can pay the bills, go to the toilet alone, feel the warmth of the sun, can walk, or best, ride a bicycle! Trust me, every day is a wonderful day!

My mother was right, 'Count your blessings!'

'It's a wonderful life!'*

To read more of F.A. Hutchison's travels though China, visit: www.cyclingpeace.org

*Since the Christmas holidays are upon you in the West, I always recommend you watch this movie ('It's a Wonderful Life'), by Frank Capra. A movie produced in the 1940s, when they made such with uplifting themes (Capra famous for this), no sex, and no violence! I'm going to see about getting it here, with Chinese subtitles, for their 'Christmas,' 'Spring Festival,' this year (moves because of the full moon) in early February.

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