I'm an American Caucasian woman who married into a Cantonese family. My husband's relatives are from Hong Kong and some of them reside here in the states. The first time I went to the family home I was asked to go to the ancestral shrine and give incense. I was very confused and didn't understand the customs, the symbol of my action, or if it was even proper to do so without an understanding of my gift. But, I did as was offered... and all of my husband's family hugged and encouraged me after having done so.
This has been the catalyst for my deep desire to embrace and integrate with the customs of my new chosen family. Seeing the light in their eyes as they listen to me attempt Cantonese at the dinner table, spending time in the kitchen learning to cook traditional Buddhist vegetarian festival dishes with my mother-in-law... and best of all, practicing my Cantonese with my new grandma, A-Ma.
A-Ma lost her husband last Christmas to Alzheimer's. Grandpa was an amazing individual and a kind father/grandparent. He had spent countless hours with the grandchildren on his knee teaching them important proverbs and Buddhist doctrine through parables. My husband speaks of A-Yue (grandpa) almost daily.
We have pledged to be there for grandma as much as possible (even though she lives several hundred miles away)... we travel at least once a month to go with her to A-Yue's grave and give incense there... and all three of us hold each other and talk lovingly of Grandpa... I can barely understand Grandma... she doesn't speak very much English. She can understand me, but I can't have personal conversations with her without the aid of an interpreter.
Recently, she came to visit us at our home! Probably the only time this will happen. She was delighted to see that we had put up some of A-Yue's calligraphy in our own ancestral altar... and we keep pictures of them on our walls.
Later in the visit, I had some personal time with A-Ma... but we were at a loss because we couldn't communicate well. I had an "a-ha!" moment and went to my bookshelf for some Chinese flashcards. A-Ma's eyes lit up... and we happily practiced my Cantonese together for about a half hour. I would show the card, she would say the words... and I would repeat. It is the longest time we've spent in conversation since we've met each other 3 years ago.
I don't know if this is any act of kindness on my part... I simply want to know and be loved by the people who raised such a fine person (my hubby)... and if I can bring his grandmother any comforts, I will do anything in my power to do so.
I respect and love his parents and grandparents as my own... and I will continue to learn the language and customs of the family. I have benefited so much from their generosity... being able to have a conversation at the dinner table with them is the least I could possibly do.
submited on 2007-08-08 11:34:24 by Lisa Maus from Seattle, United States
talked to a person whom I got angree for long long time.
I was connected to a group and some misunderstanding ame along and I stoped facing them any more. Always I try to hide and flight but not any more. I know only soultion is free from this samsara. love
submited on 2007-08-08 10:46:42 by upanidra from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Teaching the next generation
As a stay-at-home father for many years, I learned selflessness by necessity...so many little people with endless needs for care, love, and compassion. If I hadn't learned to care more about the needs of my children than my own, I would have probably remained confined within my own self, frustrated and unhappy. But they were truly my teachers, drawing me out of myself through their total dependence on me. Now as they reach young adulthood, I find to my utter joy that I was successful as their teacher too. They show through their words and their actions that they too have learned how to find happiness through kindness and by caring for others first.
may the suffering of all completely cease...
submited on 2007-08-08 09:21:35 by gratefuldad from Minneapolis, USA
a moment in time
i live in new york city, many years ago when i was quite young i remember watching a blind person waiting patiently at a street corner for soemone to help him cross. i new he needed help because every few seconds he would tap his cane on the ground hoping to get someones attention. i was in a rush and going in the opposite direction i figured someone else would help..well i passed him by but kept looking over my shoulder to see if someone would stop to help...as i kept going further and further it became apparent that no one was stopping until i was so far i lost sight...Well talk about feeling terrible expecially since before this incident i had helped quite a few elderly individuals across busy streets.
I vowed if i see someone in need at a crosswalk i would offer assistance without a moments thought. I have been very fortunate to have helped numerous blind and elderly on there way since that long ago incident.
submited on 2007-08-08 08:05:08 by rj from New York, USA
Mr. Nice Guy Strikes Again
So I work for a non-profit agency in NYC and I'm on a city bus with some of my clients. We pull up at a bus stop where a woman with a stroller waits. When the bus doors open and it's time for her to get on she isn't able to properly fold up the stroller. She has in one hand her baby child, and with the free hand she struggles to fold the stroller. I get up, exit the bus and offer to help, but I can't even operate the thing with two hands. I work with it for about five minutes and am still unable to be of any help. The bus passengers are getting impatient (this is New York after all) and my group is already late for their volunteer assignment. I tell her that I can't figure it out and get back on the bus. The bus driver is about to pull out when I realize "I can do this!". I calmly go out to her once again and pull up on a handle that had previously gone unnoticed. The stroller folds up, the lady gets on the bus with her baby, and she takes the empty seat that I once occupied.
submited on 2007-08-05 18:47:55 by Mr. Nice Guy from Jamaica Queens, United States
the little rodent
A while back I took in two gerbils who had no home. They smelled and ran on their wheel at all hours, often keeping me awake. But I grew to love the little guys. Sadly, after they reached the age of about 3 they both passed away, hopefully to a good rebirth.
submited on 2007-08-04 19:02:37 by ahamkara108 from New York, USA
My experience is about God and Christ's forgiveness. Christ's true forgiveness taught me that there isn't an effect for every cause. He helped me to travel outside of Karma.
Christ had the time to talk. And He walked the walk. He touched me with his very hand and I cried when His mercy blessed my life. His love found beauty in the ugly things in my life.
His love is both personal and universal.
I don't know why I'm telling you about this.
submited on 2007-08-03 21:54:55 by Anonymous from Scottsdale, usa
A day trek
I am from Malaysia, but I came over to Sydney to further my studies for 2 and half years. That day, I decided to trek to the nearest supermarket instead of using the bus, because I enjoy walking, while enjoying the scenery. On the way, I stop at a traffic light, waiting to cross the road. A lady with 2 plastic bags, and one hand carry bag stop at the same traffic light. She is about 60 years old. The bags were full of groceries and really seemed heavy to me. She looked very tired carrying the bags. I offered my help to carry for her to cross the road. After crossing the road, I decided to walk her back to her home, since her home is just few meters away. On the way, we chat a lot. She is Elizabeth. She has 2 sons and a daughter. She is very kind and sweet. I felt so warmth to meet her, because I am alone here without my family. on the way, she plucked two lavenders and gave to me. I felt so touched. Although is just a small deed to help her to carry the bags, but I really felt happy, really happy. That is the experience that I will never forget.
submited on 2007-08-03 06:32:44 by -lavender- from Muar, Malaysia
The Value of A Slug
Many are the negative stories where I live of the humble little slug. Icky, slimy, and nasty are just a few of the words used to describe them.
I have never felt that way about the little creatures. I have not lived here very long, so maybe I did not have an opportunity to absorb this culture of slug discrimination.
Anyway, I go out of my way to avoid these slow moving inhabitants of our earth and alway hope that other people will do the same. The other day, however, I noticed that a slug had ventured onto the path that surrounds our house, which is under construction. I worried that some of the workers might not see him and he would be stepped on, so I scooped him up on a board and brought him down the street to a nearby pond.
Slugs are just as important to the earth as we are...maybe more so. I believe that all creatures, large and small, are worth making all reasonable efforts to extend our kindness to. As we are taught, all creatures may have been our mother in a previous life....
submited on 2007-08-02 23:06:49 by Expatriated Soul from Somewhere, USA
While in China this past May, our group had the opportunity to live and work at a small childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s orphanage outside of Beijing. The orphanage was American-founded, but the property was poorly maintained. While some of the group went to clean the playground equipment or care for the lawn, a friend and I went to the I.C.U. This Intensive Care Unit was where they kept the extremely sick children, and since they were so fragile they had to be kept in a very clean environment all the time. So, my friend and I tided up the whole building went up stairs to the attic to make sure everything was in order. When we got up there, we were taken back by the horrific mess that had overtaken the space. All of the ducts from the bathrooms vented into this small area and the entire room was covered, floor to ceiling, with fecal dust. The dust caused severe odors and many more problems were to come if it wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t taken care of. We finally found a way to clean the mess without making a huge cloud, which could harm the children, and remove all of the dust and odor. It took us over 4 hours of back-bending work in the attic plus the additional 2 Ã‚Â½ hours we spent cleaning the rest of the house to get it all done, but to know that the kids werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t at danger was the best thing and it made every aching moment worth it.
submited on 2007-08-02 01:03:47 by Shifu from Davie, FL, USA