13 Sep 2011 Tue
Contributed by: Joshua (Pastoral in Hong Kong)
WHEN THE SKY WANTS TO RAIN
This is a story told to me recently by a friend of mine, a Japanese native who lives in South Africa for the part 20 years. His name Hiro Watanabe. We met a couple of days before, when he was in town for a short conference.
When we met at the hotel cafe for a chat to catch up, Watanabe told me this, “when the sky wants to rain & the mother wants to wed; it’s best to let it go.” Initially I could not understand the meaning of the analogy. Then Watanabe explained to me that it is a classic Chinese statement by the late great leader of communist China, Mao Tze Dong. Apparently Watanabe had learned Chinese language and its culture way back when he was studying the language in Beijing the 80s. He especially likes to study history of civil war in China and the cultural revolution.
Watanabe explained, in the 70s when Mao was informed of his long time comrade general Lin Piao staged a mutiny and defecting to the Soviet Union, Mao just made the above remark calmly. What he meant was, if an event was inevitable and beyond human control, you have to just let it go. It’s no point holding on to it yet hope against hope.
My friend was using the statement of Mao (above) to relate his sentiment about what happens to his son. Apparently this son of him has over time, developed into a personality of “Blame”. Regardless of what happens, this young man would ultimately adopt a blame culture towards others, including his own parents. My friend worked to save up quite a sum of money to send this son overseas for post-graduate studies at one of the top universities in Europe. Watanabe and his wife have maintained a simple lifestyle these days because he retired a few years ago. But soon he noticed that his son got into this blame culture even onto them. The young man on one occasion blamed his mother for “making him a mother’s boy” and therefore it might caused him to lose his girlfriend; also blamed my friend for insensitive to his thinking etc. This young man also mentions about how good the others who “treat” him to expensive meals, how lucky the other’s parent are rich people, etc.
Apparently this young man has become rather materialistic in his thinking in that he develops self-consciousness in comparing everything. The worse part comes from his mentality that his parents owe him a living and lack of material cares. The young man has lost quite a few personal friends over a short period of time. A few were not considered to be good material but some were rather good & proper. Apparently all the broke-off were the result of highly emotional outburst…
I could understand such a character, I told my friend, that his son is probably being “trapped” in a straight & deep silo that projects the world only as the size of its opening. Things appear to him within a still and set condition. Such personality development tends to end up what is commonly known as the “Blame Culture”. In that, the others must be wrong and he’s among a few who’s most right. In behavioural terms, such personality tends to show emotional aggression outwardly towards people he deals with. Such personality only looks for praises and remembers in short time, good treatment From others. But one simple neglect could easily trigger an emotional aggression outburst from him. Put it simply, taking things for granted and put blames onto others easily…
My friend appears to be in the situation like what Mao had expressed, “When the sky wants to rain…”, nobody could change the outcome. But on the other hand, he remains sober, acknowledging the fact that we are all human and make mistakes. And finally Watanabe says, “At a particular moment, I just knew that the element of heart to heart talk with this guy is gone… It will never come back again. I won’t share my deep sentiment and hard truth of life experience with him anymore…for he doesn’t value but scorn at that. That’s a sad thing.” He continues, “But life goes on, it’s still early to close the episode. Let’s be patient and see how this young man fairs when he’s at the age of 40.” I asked my friend, “Why 40?” And he gave me a smile, “That’s an average age in society when the moment of truth (of ones true calibre & success) is shown. It’s universal.”
Watanabe added with some relief, “At the same time, i have thought of this issue that most parents feel so attached. They try very hard to wholly own a big piece of their children’s success or failure, making it an integral part of their life…” He carried on, “But now I realize that we can’t. It is only good that after we parents provide our kids the necessary food and education, we learn to let go. Most of them won’t appreciate too much about what we provide them, they take it as normal, just parents duty. With this son, I have let go like what Mao had said. Whether it is success or failure for him it remains 100% his life, not ours. We mustn’t enforce or try to own some pieces of their life and make it ours to feel happy or sad. We have our life and let’s stick to that. That’s what i called, Unloading.”
I agreed with Watanabe, in that it’s not wise for parents to try living their life plus their children’s too. There’s a time to let go. The children never appreciate that anyway. Watanabe declares, “From now on I won’t take my son’s success or failure in life that seriously. I have done my part. I have unloaded any meaning whatsoever from his success or failure. It’s his life, rewards and pains; and we need to respect that. Each one of us should live our own life properly. Allow your kids own their life fully and live it to the fullest.”
Closeness breeds contempt, I remember this phrase. Maybe my friend Watanabe is right. We all need patience to wait for God’s plan for each of us… there isn’t any clear revelation in this era… one has to be thankful of even little blessing in life to remain calm and collected. And my final word for my friend, is to let his son live his OWN life and then he could learn from the pain of failures and great joy of even little successes. Then, hopefully he will not blame others along the way but be wholly responsible to himself for a life he lives. I watched Watanabe walking away towards the hotel lift lobby, after we finished the conversation and said goodbye to each other. I noticed in him a sense of loss – something he knew he would never regain in the future. I knew what is that element. But I also saw that he walked with lightness… he has unloaded something too.
So, when the sky wants to rain; let it be… as Mao said.