Looking Forward to Reuniting with My Father
(Minghui.org) September 13, 2019, was the Moon Festival in China, a time of family reunion. Below is the account of a young woman whose father was taken away by the police in China for practicing Falun Dafa, which is being persecuted by the Communist Party.
There is a painting called Homeless in the Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance International Art Exhibition. This painting depicts a little girl just coming home from school only to find her parents gone. The two pieces of white paper on the door are official notices stating the house has been condemned by the 610 Office (a Gestapo-like organization set up specifically to target Falun Dafa). The red paper on the door reads, “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.” The little girl has suddenly become homeless.
Tears kept running down my cheeks as I watched the exhibit’s introduction video. When I saw the Homeless painting, I couldn’t control my emotions anymore. I buried myself in a blanket and cried my heart out, because I went through a similar experience.
My father started practicing Falun Dafa when I was two years old. He taught me how to meditate. It was easy for me to cross my legs on top of each other.
My father studied Dafa books with me every day. I sat on his lap and read the book with him. Sometimes I was mischievous and deliberately held the book as far away as my arms could stretch. When the distance was too far, my father would say, “I can't see the words.” I would laugh because I could see them clearly.
At that time, I liked to read Hong Yin most. We could finish reading it quickly. However, I had to sit for a long time if we read Zhuan Falun, and I couldn't understand much of it. But I could understand the poems in Hong Yin. I memorized every poem in Hong Yin, and I felt the poems were very nice and related to me. I came to understand the world through Dafa and grew up happy.
When I was six years old, one day after school I looked for my father in the row of parents outside the classroom as usual, but I couldn't find him. It was strange to me because he always arrived early and waited for me. I anxiously watched people come and go. In the end, I was the only student left at school. I thought I probably did something wrong and my dad didn't like me anymore.
I had to find my own way home from memory. On the way, I still thought to myself, “I will tell my dad I have grown up and can go home by myself. Then he will be proud of me and praise me.”
When I arrived at the door of our apartment, I kept knocking, but no one answered or opened the door. I repeatedly called my father and thought I must have done something bad to make him so mad at me. I said at the door, “Dad, I know I made a mistake, I know I am wrong. Please forgive me. I beg you, please open the door.”
I don’t know how long I shouted and cried. I only remember bursting into tears and shouting desperately at the door. Then I said, “Dad, I need to go to the bathroom, I can't hold it! Please open the door.” An older lady from downstairs came up and said I could use her bathroom. I shook my head because I was afraid that if I left, my father would not see me when he opened the door.
When it was pitch dark, one of my relatives came and took me to my maternal grandparents' home. I heard my relatives blaming my father. I learned from their conversation that my father was taken to prison.
I was scared and didn’t know why my father had suddenly left me alone. I wondered if he still loved me and when he would come back. I couldn’t figure out why my relatives talked about my father like that and why they looked at me differently. I couldn't sleep that night, crying over and over again in the bed.
That day left a painful scar in my memory. I missed my father and couldn’t figure out what was going on. I felt no one understood me. From then on, I became quiet and timid. Some people are afraid of bugs, darkness, and ghosts, but I was afraid of people. I didn't dare to talk to strangers.
My grandfather’s home was busy, with people coming and going every day. They asked me questions or said a few words to me. However, in these situations I felt threatened and hurt, whether they looked at me with sympathy or contempt. I knew Dafa was good, Master Li Hongzhi was good, my father was a good person, and it was wrong to put him in jail. But fear kept me from expressing my thoughts.
My father eventually came home. I was overjoyed that he was finally back, but there were a lot of family members around, and I was afraid to approach him. I looked out the window and stood back. He came over, held me in his arms, and put me on his lap. That moment made my sullen and lonely feelings disappear instantly. But from then on, I was worried that my father would be in danger again.
I worried whenever he came late to pick me up. Usually it was because he had a meeting or something else to deal with. Every time he was late, my anxiety and worry turned into anger. I cried and asked why he was doing this to me. He always apologized to me and patiently explained why he was late.
My father wrote a letter to me when he was illegally imprisoned. He said that he missed me very much and asked me to be a good girl. He promised to take me to the swings near the river after he came home. I brought this letter with me every day and read it countless times.
I was withdrawn at the time and spent most of my time contemplating on my own, which drowned out the outside world. My classmates saw me lost in the letter all the time and became curious. Once, I couldn’t help but smile when I read the paragraph about the swing. Some of my classmates saw it and grabbed the letter.
When they asked about my father, I told them he was in prison. They asked if my father was a bad person, how he ended up in jail, and what had happened. I froze, took back the letter, and stopped talking to them. My childhood made me like a hedgehog, sensitive and afraid of being hurt.
In contrast, my father was optimistic, and his positivity affected me when he was home. I was lively, cheerful, carefree, optimistic, and happy with him around. When my father was absent, however, I felt isolated from the world. I became negative, melancholy, and extreme. I spent my childhood polarized in this way.
A Lost Child
My mother, who lived outside of China, took me to live with her when I was in 6th grade, and I didn’t see my father for five years. During those five years, my mother did not allow me to have any connection with Dafa. One day, she found out from her computer’s browsing history that I had used it to read Zhuan Falun. She scolded me for an entire afternoon. I was so scared when I saw her angry face that dared not try to read the book again.
By now, only the withdrawn side of my dual personality remained. I rarely spoke to anyone and went through my mother if I needed anything from anyone else. When someone talked to me, I would turn my head to the side and refuse to respond. Countless times, I stood on the road and looked at the vehicles, thinking about whether to end my depressing life. Countless times I wept in bed.
I was weird, selfish, self-centered, and full of self-pity. Depression and loneliness dominated me, and I didn't feel any happiness. Whenever I felt it was the end of the world, however, Master Li’s words would come to me: “… suicide is sinful.” (Fa-Teaching Given at the Conference in Sydney) Whenever I couldn't see any hope, the poems in Hong Yin would come to mind and connect me with Dafa.
During this period of time, my mother applied for immigration for our family, but my father could not get a passport because he was on a blacklist. Also, because my mother wrote on the immigration application form that my father was once incarcerated, the application was not approved for a long time.
So that we could immigrate, my mother pressured my father to divorce her, but my father did not agree. I realized my father wanted to give me a complete family even though my mother had always been hot-tempered, rude, and unreasonable.
My mother began to ask me the same question repeatedly, “Who will you choose? Will you choose your father or your mother?” I told her, “I don't know. There is no way to choose, and there is no answer to this question.” Every time she asked me, however, I had to think for a long time. Finally, I said to her, “I choose my dad.”
She ignored my father's and my objections and filed for divorce. The court gave my mother custody, and my immigration application was soon approved.
I told her, “You broke up our family and left me to only get half the love of other children. I want a complete family.” From then on, I envied all the children who had two parents.
I remembered all the bad things my mother did to my father. She became furious whenever she saw him practice Falun Dafa. One time, she slashed his hand with a knife, making him bleed a lot. She also poured the urine in a chamber pot over my father's head because he went out to a Fa-study group at night. Once, my father and I locked the door in a room to read the Dafa books and do the exercises. When my mother heard the music, she yelled, banged on the door, and finally broke in, scolding my father.
I left Dafa and was lost in everyday life during the time I stayed with my mother. One day, on my way to middle school, I suddenly saw several huge Buddha statues as tall as the sky. The sight was unmistakable. I was shocked. After walking a long way, the statues were still there.
I realized the miracle of Dafa and the compassion of Master. After school, I went to the library near my school and read Zhuan Falun on the computer. When I read the chapter “Genuinely Guiding People Toward High Levels” (Lecture One, Zhuan Falun), tears flowed from my eyes. When I started to read Zhuan Falun and assimilate myself to Dafa again, I changed, little by little, for the better.
Now I am an adult, and people tell me I am lively, cheerful, and talkative. They say they can hardly tell that I was so withdrawn and ill-tempered in the past. This is because Dafa changed me into a new person. I have been aligning my thoughts and behaviors with Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Back by My Father’s Side
I made up my mind to leave my mother because life with her was painful and dark. However, she forced me to live with her and did not let me visit my father. I had to resort to other means. Every day, I threw myself against the wall in frustration. I wailed every night to force her to buy a plane ticket for me to visit my father in China. At the time, I was not compassionate and didn’t understand that I should be kind to people who cause me grief.
In the five years I spent with my mother, I didn’t know how to relate to people and get along with them, even if they were close relatives. I was completely isolated from society. So, when I did go back to live with my father, I was arrogant and domineering and had a bad temper. When I was unhappy, I threw things, poured water on my classmates, and kicked them.
I stayed out late at night, and my schoolmates were afraid of my temper. At home, my relatives thought I was a bad kid and that some of the things I did were unforgivable.
But my father was different. No matter how badly I behaved, he did not criticize or accuse me in any way. He just took me to study Zhuan Falun with him. Every night I stayed up late to study with him after I got home from school. After we finished reading, he read experience-sharing articles from Minghui.org at my bedside, and I listened until I fell asleep.
My father guided me with goodness and compassion, and, gradually, I changed.
He also had me watch Shen Yun (the show’s DVDs were available in China at the time). He said he was purified every time he watched it. I didn't believe it. I used to listen to pop songs, and it was hard for me to watch the classical program. After watching for a while, I switched the television to a variety show. I couldn’t feel the magic that my father talked about.
But as I practiced Dafa more diligently, I liked to watch Shen Yun more and more. One time, I watched all the previous Shen Yun shows. I couldn’t say why, but I just liked it. The music, dancing, bel canto singing, and traditional stories made me feel peaceful, calm, and safe.
Because of my shadowy childhood, I always feared the door would suddenly swing open and bad people would rush in and take my father away while he studied Dafa at home. I also worried about his safety when he was not at home. I always had nightmares, dreaming about the police coming to arrest us. I still had this fear even after I woke up. I never told my father about my fear and only said I wanted to move back overseas.
The Nightmare Returns
After I moved back overseas, one day before midterm exams in my junior year in college, my mother called me and said, “Your father was arrested.”
I couldn't help but cry. I didn't know where he was detained or what kind of torture he was going through. I wondered if I would see him again.
I called my paternal grandmother in China and wanted to comfort her, but I couldn’t say a word and just cried on the phone. Grandma sighed repeatedly and kept saying to me, “Don't cry, don't cry.” I felt it was the end of the world. I couldn’t control my trembling.
It was midnight, and I lived alone in a rented apartment near my college. I ran to the living room, sat on the floor, and burst into tears.
As a child, I never spoke out for my father when he was arrested. This time, I had to stand up for him. I called the 610 Office that was responsible for his arrest. The reply was threatening. They told me not to have any connection with people who practice Falun Dafa or it could affect my entry and exit visa. I tried to reason with them, but they did not listen. They were brainwashed and kept slandering Dafa. Their way of thinking was irrational, and it was difficult to communicate with them.
When my father was detained, he was told that I would be arrested if I returned to China. He warned me not to come back.
Later, I learned that he was held in a brainwashing center and deprived of sleep for many days. I tried to see how long I could manage without sleep in order to find out what his suffering was like. I felt terrible after just one day. The sadness and pain in my heart were beyond words.
I became cheerful and positive again through studying Dafa because I came to understand that the ultimate conclusion of self-cultivation is a happy one and that the persecution is only a part of that process. At the end of each Shen Yun performance, the cultivators become divine beings. The persecution is short-lived, and I can’t regard it as a sad story.
While I understood that the end goal of cultivation is to become divine, I did not understand why my father was so cruelly persecuted. Every time I talked to people about the persecution, if I talked about his experience, my hatred of the perpetrators would show itself.
There was a Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance International Art Exhibition in my city this year. As a volunteer, I explained the artworks to visitors. One of the paintings was called Firmness in Persecution. The girl in the painting was hung on the metal bars of a prison cell, and five bricks were hung from the chain around her neck.
I said to the visitors, “This young girl is almost as old as I am. She has been hanging there for a long time. The bloody handprint on the top bar shows she was holding onto it before, but the position she is in now shows that she cannot hold it anymore. Notice that her hands are swollen.
"The footprints on her clothing that show she was kicked. Even though she has been treated so brutally, she has no hatred in her eyes as her gaze falls on the men who persecuted her.
“Her expression shows purity, firmness, and pity for her persecutors, but no regrets.”
After I had said this, for the first time I felt the firmness and compassion of the girl in the painting. I realized that the next step in my self-cultivation was to hold no hatred for those who had persecuted us.
I had read such stories of compassion before on Minghui.org, but I had never connected them with myself. I felt beautiful at that moment and experienced the power of compassion.
The Moon Festival has arrived. I look forward to a happy reunion with my father in the future.