Chapter 2: The Downhearted and The Cheerful
In a jiffy, two and a half years fled by.
On a brisk afternoon, cold wind swept through The Peak, a mountain in the Hong Kong Island where wealthy people resided in upscale multi-million-dollar condominiums. In one of these 3,000-square-feet units on the 20th floor, Hang Lee, with his hands in his pant pockets, peered out a wide window in his bedroom, staring into the open, as far as his eyesight could reach. He spotted a seagull and was in awe of its strength of flying so high in the sky. He wanted to be free like the bird soaring up high in the air. Free from his bitterness and anger toward his parents; free from his emotional pain that had been stinging his heart since childhood. Who could set me free, he wondered.
A moment later, he darted his large, dark eyes at the wall calendar affixed above his desk. Christmas Day, huh? he thought to himself, What difference does it make? Nevertheless, he went to the altar in the great room, stood in front of a man-sized Buddha statue and burned incense to offer his prayer to his god. He wished the idol would give him peace. After he finished, he walked toward his room and heard his old maidservant preparing supper in the kitchen.
Back in his solitude, Hang glanced at his desk clock and realized that it was 4:30. Scratching his prominent chin, he muttered to himself, “I should’ve gone to the cinema with Cheung.” Just then, a slam of the entrance door made him jump, and he released a gasp. Screaming of so familiar voices pierced his heart. Without a bit of hesitation, Hang instantly strode to his bedroom door and locked it as if to keep some wild beasts from breaking into his room. Tremblingly, he took a few steps back until his body bumped into the window, which he had looked out of a moment ago. His pulse raced.
Within a split second, all he could hear was the shouting of his parents. He blindly gazed at the doorway and could not gather his senses to think, to think what he could do as he knew he was totally helpless. He then slipped into his chair behind his desk. All of a sudden, the corner of his left eye caught a flash of light on one side of the table. He turned and looked with his eyebrows creased. A glossy pamphlet read ‘Jesus loves you.’ He recalled the moment when he had passed by a mid-aged lady distributing pamphlets on the street two days earlier. He had received this one and tossed it onto his desk. Now he picked it up and flipped it open as his curiosity compelled him. A hush came over his room as if he were quietly and attentively listening to someone’s speech.
“…Yes, He died on the Cross to save you from your sins. He is the Way to Salvation. He loves you. Are you weary? Are you lonely? Are you in despair? No matter what your problem is, Jesus will take away all your burdens because He loves you. Why don’t you welcome Him as your personal Savior into your heart today? He is your Friend…”
Hang swallowed hard, then whispered to himself, “Is this Jesus speaking to me? How come it’s so real?” As he continued to ponder the message, the wails of misery from his mother jolted him out of his thoughts, and he swung his head toward his door. Her painful cries chilled him to the bone. Fear once again imprisoned him, and this time it was severer that he even felt ache in his heart. Looking back at the pamphlet, he seemed to lose hope in what he had just learned about this Jesus. To him, there was and would be no bright future; to him, the whole world just collapsed and tumbled down. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he crumpled the papers in his hand. He buried his face in his elbow, sobbing his eyes out. His tall, strong figure was a contrast to his vulnerable spirit so easy to break.
Night fell, the same day. In a tiny apartment of Tin Shui Wai, a low-income district in the New Territories, Hong Kong, joy and laughter filled this 600-square-feet unit with the spirits of Christmas. Pui sat straight up in the middle seat of a sofa in the living room. On her lap was a present. Her smile sweet, she unwrapped the gift and removed the lid of the box. With her small eyes widened and her jaw dropped, she fastened her gaze on a dark blue coat. “It’s so gorgeous!” She gave her parents, who sat on either side of her, a smack on their cheeks. “Thank you Mama; thank you Papa.”
“You’re very welcome,” Mr. and Mrs. Chan said, their expressions kind and warm.
The thin, medium-height girl removed the coat from the box, stood and took two steps forward, then put on her new coat and whirled around twice as if she modeled her beautiful coat on a catwalk. “It fits me well! I’ve been hoping to get something like this for a long time.” She tossed her long silky hair out of her face.
“Its full length will keep you warm.” Her Mama eyed her up and down.
Pui folded her small hands in front of her and looked at her parents in a grateful manner, her voice very tender. “But it must be very expensive.”
Mr. Chan shook his head. “It is far less valuable than you are, my dear, lovely daughter. Happy 14th Birthday and Merry Christmas.”
A drop of tear, full of thankfulness and warm-heartedness, coursed down her creamy white face as the teenage girl settled in her seat. Pui linked her arms with her parents’. “Merry Christmas to both of you too.” She pursed her thick lips, throwing a glance at them. “But I don’t have gifts for you.”
Mrs. Chan leaned her head close to her daughter. “You bought food and cooked the Christmas supper for all of us. That’s a wonderful gift.” She dried the girl’s face with her right thumb.
Her Papa let go of her daughter’s arm and gently clasped her left hand and patted it. “You are a gift and a blessing from our Lord Jesus Christ. And we love you.”
“I love you too,” the girl said affectionately. “I thank God for both of you as my parents.”
The mid-aged lady released Pui’s arm and told her in a jubilant tone. “Let’s have the birthday cake.”
Pui had seen the mouth-watering cake in the morning. Now she clapped her hands together as a grin spread across her face. “Chocolate, my favorite!” She paused, then folded her hands in her lap. “By the way, 1980 is coming to an end. I hope the Lord may help us spread the Gospel to more people next year.” She spoke to her Mama eagerly, “Grace Missions needs help, right? You’re the treasurer there. Please tell them that I would like to join the organization; I can work part-time after school. Please.”
“You’ve already been lending a hand in our work. Distributing brochures, right?”
“Yes, but I want to do more.”
“Let me ask the director after the Christmas break, okay?” Mr. Chan cut in, removing his bifocal glasses and putting them in his shirt pocket.
The girl turned to him cheerfully. “That’s right; you’re his assistant. I count on you, Papa.”
He closed his eyes as he nodded in agreement.
“By the way,” Mrs. Chan asked the other two. “did you see a teenage boy walk by when we were passing out pamphlets two days ago?”
“There were many teenage boys. Which one?” Her husband angled his head to gaze at his wife, his brows creased.
Pui answered as if she could read her Mama’s mind, “He was tall and entered a dark blue Rolls-Royce. And I still remember the license plate ‘888’.”
“Mmhmm.” Her Mama bobbed her head. “I gave him a pamphlet, and when I was about to talk to him, another boy that looked like him stuck his head out of the car’s window and told him to get into the car. The tall boy looked very sad.”
Mr. Chan rubbed his chin. “Hmm, I didn’t see them. Well, anyway, we can always pray for those who are in need of our Savior. Wealthy or poor need salvation.”
Smiling as sweet as honey, Pui tilted her head to her right, looking at her Papa. “We’re not wealthy but rich in the Love of Jesus. And I have two godly parents who love me.” She tucked a loose strand of her hair behind her right ear. “May we eat the cake now?”
“Sure,” her parents replied simultaneously.
A bit later, the cake was set on the dining table. Before she blew out the candles, Pui closed her eyes with her head bowed and her hands clasped over her chest. Within her heart, she prayed that more and more people would give their lives to the Lord and that the tall young man would come to know Jesus if he had not.
Copyright by Dicky To. All rights reserved.