My Landlords Treat Me as Family
(Minghui.org) I have lived in different areas in the U.S. for over nine years. For the past four years, I have rented a room in an apartment. My landlords are an elderly Chinese couple who also live in the apartment. When I first moved in, there was also another girl renting a room. All four of us share the bathrooms and the kitchen.
At first, I was very careful about everything. I was afraid that any mistake I make might cause them to have a negative impression of Falun Dafa. But, the more I was afraid, the more accidents I had. I either forgot to turn off the light or close the faucet tightly. Every time that happened, the landlords were upset and reminded me sternly. I realized that while my carefulness appeared to be out of concern about the reputation of Dafa, deep down it was because I was afraid of other people's criticism.
In the beginning, whenever I walked into the living room, I felt my landlord's eyes following me. I was told not to do this and not to do that. It was a big challenge for me. I knew this was happening because I had an attachment of not wanting to be criticized and I needed to get rid of it. The process of getting rid of that attachment was long and painful. But, as I worked on getting rid of this attachment, it appeared that the eyes behind me stopped following me.
One time I didn't close the faucet tightly enough, so water dripped for almost eight hours. The landlord was very angry and said she had to pay an extra $50 in her water bill that month as a result. I felt guilty, took out $50, and handed it to her. She refused and said, “If I take your money, I cannot criticize you anymore.”
Then, I found out that the water utility for the apartment never exceeded $50 a month. I felt upset about being wrongly accused. Then I thought that, as a practitioner, I should not blame people. Instead, I should thank them for giving me an opportunity to improve my character. Besides, it was my mistake and I deserved to be criticized. I could understand her exaggerating, too.
When I no longer forgot to turn off the light or water, there were new challenges. Whenever the other girl or their visitors did anything wrong, the landlords always knocked on my door, accusing me at the first opportunity. At first, I felt upset too, but I knew I needed to improve. When I could face such accusations calmly, they stopped accusing me of others' wrongdoings.
After all these experiences, I became very grateful to my landlords for the opportunities they created for me to improve myself. I try to treat them like I treat my parents. I would buy gifts for them on holidays. I clean up after myself after I use the kitchen and bathroom. When something breaks in our shared space, I would pay for the replacement. When the other tenant complains about the landlords, I simply smile and am not moved.
The landlord lady finally withdrew from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its organizations, while her husband had never joined a CCP organization. She watched a Shen Yun show on Chinese New Year's Eve. She tells the neighbors that Falun Dafa is good.
I overheard her telling her relatives that having a Falun Dafa practitioner as a tenant is good. When the other girl moved out, she asked me to help her find a practitioner to live here. When their other apartment became vacant, she said again that she only wanted a Falun Dafa practitioner to live there. Later, seven practitioners moved into that apartment, and another one moved into the apartment that we shared.
Early this year, my landlords went back to China for three months. They asked me to collect rents and other fees for them while they were away. When their daughter who lives in another state contacted me regarding some issues with the apartments, she said over the phone, “My mom says you are like a family to them, so you are my family too.” Afterward, she sent me a drawing of four children with the caption “we are a family” since she has two other siblings. This time, I was truly touched.
I was a sensitive, selfish and narrow-minded person in my youth. I worried about what others thought of me. Falun Dafa has helped me to become open-minded and willing to think of others' needs before mine.