Thursday, April 9, 2009

Choosing joy.

"In acceptance there is peace."
- Mountain Rain: Biography of James Fraser,
worker in China in the early 1900s

I have been consciouly choosing to put on joy this past week...and it had indeed, made all the difference.

The other morning, on my lone walk to school, I chose to put on joy as I left my 4th story apartment and headed down the street to school. I love my morning walks, usually by myself these days. Today, the sun was desperately trying to shine from amongst the April gloom of the soon approaching rainy season, and I was open to a new day, looking, listening, smelling, and eagerly watching the mysterious world around me that is China.

I walked through the alley type road that runs between the two towering churches behind my home and the police station. I passed the bustling bread sellers cart's, crowded with bicycles and scooters. Steam from fresh steamed bread rose from the large, round, dark woven baskets in which they are cooked rising into the air. I crossed the busy 2 way street, ever loving the "dodge the cars/moving objects" game that is walking Chinese roads, to the horribly cemented sidewalk across the street. I walked carefully, dodging pieces of broken granite, tile, trash, food, etc. I passed motorbike drivers who curiously look me up and down, grandparents with their little ones hand in hand, store owners opening their shop fronts for the day. I cross another street and passed half built buildings supported by bamboo, piles of brick and dirt high in the road, bikes, scooters, motorbikes rickshaws, and walkers all hurridly on their way to work.

I see the old man with the big fur cap sorting through recycling in his little tin shack, lined with bags of bottles. I see the old pool table just barely standing, years of wear and tear, sitting alongside the busy road. I see the newly built tiled buildings, standing next to the tin and wood shacks. I see the tree with a "band-aid" as I call it, the leaves chopped awkardly off and the stump then coverd with a plastic bag. I see mangy dogs nervously digging through piles of trash. I pass the local idol temple, incense already burning. I dodge more trash, dirty puddles, rocks and debris, all while barely escaping impact from oncoming traffic. I pass the little farm, right in the middle of it all, a splash of green life amidst the gray of the dirty city. The haze of the early morning air still clings tightly to the world below. Little restaurants have begun to chop and fry various breakfasts. I see the woman squatting beside the road vigorously washing her laundry on the cement. I see the lady on the bike, with the unforgetable shrill voice, peddling her wares loudly to the small shacks as she passes. I finally pass the ancient crumbling homes, the hill of trash and dirt, still somehow bringing forth life in small purple flowers, a half built wall, and arrive at Rong Chang Hope School. My world here in China is full of so many textures, colors, shapes, smells, sounds, light, and life. It's so much to take in everyday. It's truly beauty in brokenness.

I am choosing joy these days. I am choosing to see the world that is around me for all it is worth. I am choosing to see people, wonder about their hearts, and smile as I pass. Though I may forever feel filty after my walk to school (ah the joy of arriving at our neatly kept warehouse of a school!), I relish my morning walks, of being here, of being present, of being alive and a part of life in Shantou. I take pictures with my eyes daily, as I cannot with my camera, not safely by myself. There are so many beautiful things I have seen. How I wish I could share them.

Here's to another year in China, choosing joy, choosing freedom, and choosing to truly live.

Yes, I have decided.

SIDE NOTE** I should have my computer back this week! woo!

1 comment:

Emily said...

Hey we're blog buddies now! :)

Love you!