Lu Daoming welcomes you on a journey of friendship and hope. Together, let's learn new ideas: how to live with real meaning and joy.
Seeing My Life in a Different Way …
August 23, 2012Posted by on
Friends – what a beautiful summer we’re having here. My wife and I recently travelled to another country nearby to visit some relatives and friends, and I had an interesting experience there … it might be interesting to you, too. A little bit of background, so you’ll understand …
My father was a very ordinary man – he died about 10 years ago, at age 66 – quite young. He was a good man, and he did ordinary work: he was a fisherman. He owned a large boat and would travel out to the sea for several days at a time to catch all different kinds of fish, crabs, shrimp, tuna. He worked very hard, for very long hours, as many of you do – and he never made a lot of money, as many of us do not 😉 My brothers and I learned many things from him, including some things about his work as a fisherman. But when I went off to university in the southern USA, I left behind that way of life, long ago. I left my school and friends and my town, my father’s coastal town, and I never came back to live there again. My father’s work and his world of water, boats, fish were a way of life that I never saw again – until recently.
Guo XinLan and I drove down the highway of the coast that I knew as a child, and stopped in a beautiful harbor area for a day’s relaxation – shopping, eating in restaurants, and looking at the interesting sights there. My father would have parked his boat in this harbor sometimes, when he was fishing on the coast. I was so surprised as I walked along the street near the harbor, because I suddenly remembered many things – the sights, the sounds, the smells of my father’s work, and of my own childhood when I lived with him 40 years ago. I saw boats that looked very much like his old boat. I heard the sound of the big Diesel boat engines, and I smelled the sharp sweet smell of fish being brought from the boats to the cannery.
XinLan wanted use her new camera to take some pictures of me near the boats, in the old-style black and white – so that the picture would look as if it were taken many years ago. Here’s one: in it, I look very much like my father! What a strange feeling to be back in the old town, with the old sights and sounds and smells, but to be such a different person from the time when I left long ago!
Later I happened to see a couple of men taking crabs from their boat, cooking and cleaning them and selling them on the dock. I watched them out in the sun – it was a beautiful day – working hard and fast. They will sleep well at night! I realized: their work is honourable, even though it’s nothing like my work. Their lives are bound to the coast, to the water, to the boats and seasons and catches of fish – nothing like my work! They come from the same place I come from, and yet my life is so different from theirs.
And I realized: I am no different from them. If my life long ago had had just a very few changes – a very few decisions done differently – I could have been one of the men out on the dock that day washing crabs, going home at night, getting up the next day to go out in the boats again. Every day I would see mostly the same people – folks who lived much like I do.
Instead, I live in an important city in my country, full of people who live very differently from me. I’ve been blessed to know people from many parts of the world, and to travel to many places. My children are better educated than I am, and they have traveled even more than I have. My work is intellectual, spiritual, motivational – very different from my father, and very different from the other path I could have taken long ago. Why? What has made my life so different?
Please don’t misunderstand me: to be a fisherman is a very respectable occupation. It’s hard work requiring a lot of skill in many areas, and I place a high value on people who have skills that I don’t have! My question is not to “compare” my father’s life and mine. It’s to say, “How did I start from there and end up here, with a life so different from his?”
The paths of our lives are very mysterious. I’m not sure that I have an easy answer. I do know of one factor, though, that changed everything: the hand of 神. Here’s what I mean: long ago I told 神 that I would go wherever He wanted, do whatever He wanted, even if I didn’t understand why. There is something about trusting 神 that gets His attention, and He will work with people who are willing to work with Him.
In The Library, an ancient proverb says, “The mind of a man plans his way – but 神 guides his steps.” The Teacher once said, “If you look for 神’s desires first, over everything else, He will guide your way and take care of you for today. You will have everything you need.”
神 does more than guide, more than care. Our lives are like seeds, small plants, cared for by Him. What will the fruit be? Let’s decide to get to know Him, and let’s find out!
I have a lot more I’d like to write about this, but I’ll post this one for now. More later.