Chinese Story of the Afterlife

bya Gabrielle at 12:21 AM

The other weekend, I went with the people I teach on Friday mornings for two hours to a city called Chang Xing, located in the Zhejiang province.  It is about three hours away from Shanghai by bus.  Before we went, I was only told that were staying at a farm and going to sleep in the owner’s home.  When they said we were staying at a farm, I pictured big hogs, clucking chickens, cows that needed milking, and maybe a field of corn or some other vegetable.  Of course, I was picturing an American farm or a farm you would see in an American movie.  You would think by now, after living nearly 3 years in China, that I would paint Chinese images in my brain.  I mean, I’ve seen enough of it to get an idea of what to expect.  I guess I am just too American for my own good sometimes.  I imagined a lot of things before we got to Chang Xing, but I did not think I would be sleeping in the middle of bamboo forest and fields of tea bushes.    The owner’s home turned out to be a 4 story home and had about 4 bedrooms on each floor.  It wasn’t luxury or anything, but it was better than sleeping in hay with the hogs that I had briefly thought I would be sharing a bunk with.  Thankfully, I was spared the hogs, but I did get to experience another extremely hard bed.  I’ll never get used to them.  Never.

After breakfast one morning, a group of us went out to sit in the shade.  We sang You are my Sunshine several times and then Mr. Yang decided to share a story with us.  He actually told the story twice.  As he started to say it the second time, I asked him to stop so I could catch it on video.  He stopped, but he didn’t start back at the beginning.  He just stopped and then started where he left off.  I guess he didn’t fully understand me.  So, I missed the first sentence.  I remember what he said, though.

His story starts off like this – “There was an old man, and he told his son, ‘I think I am going to die son”.  The rest of it, if you turn your volume up, you should be able to hear.

I wanted very badly to say, “Jesus came back from the dead, what does that tell us about the afterlife?”, but I remind quiet.  I knew they wouldn’t understand my little joke.

I guess the morale of the story is that you shouldn’t fear death and that the afterlife isn’t that bad of a place after all.  I hope you enjoy Mr. Yang, and his little story.

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