Thursday, 19 January 2012

Choosing Happiness or Sadness

Viewing Pong in the hospital awaiting treatment stirred within me a mixture of emotions. Pity, awe, inspiration, and even a bit of shame. I too have my own problems that I am dealing with on a daily basis at the moment, but they cannot compare to the obstacles that Pong is overcoming. I look at Pong lying in her hospital bed and I can only wonder how she is able to draw such a meaningful smile upon her face. On top of all of the operations she must endure, she reveals that she has recently lost her mother and her brother had an accident of sorts. For me, it would be just too much to bear.

But then I hear her say: "I have to choose between Happiness and Sadness, and I choose Happiness". How wonderful, I think to myself as I hear this. She is able to just succinctly and efficiently tell herself to choose happiness and to persevere. I am sure it is not as easy as it sounds, and entails much more than just a simple mental choice. But I think it is so admirable that she can put herself within that mindset. It is something that I am striving to do at the moment as I integrate myself more into China.

It is definitely not easy and at times I don't even know if I can do it. As a Masters student in China, I find that I have practically every advantage in the world. I am financially secure, on my way to achieving a respected degree in a respected field, I have my family, friends, and so much more. But at times, some of the smallest negative things, like being faraway from family or even being unable to buy turkey for thanksgiving, can bring me to my knees with despair. Why is it at times that when individuals face the most devastating of situations they can be so full of courage and light, while others with every advantage int he world can find it so hard to even smile? Maybe it is because only at our worst we realize what we do have and how empowering it can be. Or maybe it is because when we are stripped of all our material items and connections that we are able to find our true spirit and strength. For me, it is through the love and support of others that I am able to find my own self. However, Pong is able to go through so much more, relying basically on her own strength and some charity from others. Her will is something that is truly remarkable.

To choose happiness, despite it being the obvious choice (like the choice between good and evil) can really be a challenge, especially when you do not feel strong enough to choose what one truly needs. However, Pong, in her state, not only has that ability, she seems to excel at it. There really aren't enough words to describe the intensity and the miraculousness of Pong's situation and fighting spirit. But it is a thrill to watch, and it is inspiring to know that someone in her state can still be so positive and move on with her life. See part 2 and part 3 of her hospital when you click on the embedded links.

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