She came from an impoverished family in the countryside, and was thin from an early age. She was an ugly duckling in the eyes of others. She felt inferior because of this, but was also quite competitive. She believed as long as she worked hard, she could have a brilliant life. In the 1980’s, she fell for literature and writing like many of her contemporaries. By relying on her sharp wit and hard work, her articles were published in the local newspaper and thus she achieved a measure of fame there. She was proud of this, imagining that she would become a professional writer someday and marry a like-minded partner.
One day, she received a letter from Beijing. She was attracted by the gracious wording and the free and vigorous handwriting of the letter and could see this letter was written by a brilliant, ambitious and promising youth. She warmed. Later they began to correspond as pen pals. They communicated about literature, their ideals, their views on the society of that time and their prospects of future. They agreed that they would definitely meet national conference of the Federation of Literary and Art Circles in the future.
At that time, waiting for his letter every day was the main point of her life. Every time she saw his handwriting on the envelope, she was beside herself with joy. She tasted every letter received from him in the dead of night. But every time after she read them, she would calmly think: Whether qualifications or family background, I don’t deserve him who is brilliant and well off. I must redouble my efforts and accomplish something. Only then can I stand on the same level as him.
Several years passed, she still kept up a correspondence with him. They still encouraged each other, but neither of them suggested meeting. Finally, she failed to withstand the pressure from her parents and of public opinion, marring a man whom she didn’t love at all. She told this news to him who was in Beijing. After waiting for a long time, she received his letter, which said that he drank a lot that night when he knew the news, and that he was heartbroken for the fall of a rising star in literature.
That night she cried with a grievance for her weaknesses and lowly origin.
Afterward, he also got married. At her request, he sent her a wedding photograph. That day, she looked at the well-matched couple in the photo for a long time, and felt inexpressible sorrow. She knew this regrettable memory had been set at that moment and that her affection that had never begun ended in her unrealistic dreams. She wiped the cold tears from her face, and then locked the photo and all their correspondence in a box, trying to keep this beautiful and sorrowful memory locked in her heart in such a way.
The married life dulled her inspiration for writing. She struggled bitterly in life’s daily necessities and her child’s crying every day. Her husband didn’t know poetry and literature. Instead, he only knew to work, going out early and returning late every day. They had neither a common interest and hobby nor a common language. Therefore, she felt though they lived under the same roof, they were like two strangers, whose hearts were far from each other’s.
When the quiet of night came, she would thought of him whom she had had correspondence with for years but she had never seen. She imagined: If I had been together with him, my life wouldn’t be what it is now. I would serve him a nice hot cup of tea when he read books at night; he would put a cotton coat on me when I bent over my desk writing; we would walk on the avenue hand in hand; we would nestle together watching a meteor shower … She thought this beautiful life should have belonged to her, but it had eluded her. So she complained against her fate in her heart.
As time went on, her child grew up; her husband was no longer irritable as he was young, but began to be considerate of and take care of her; she became much calmer and neglected onetime things a lot. Nevertheless, she had never forgotten that man in the depth of her heart.
One day, with her daughter’s help, she found out his information on the internet. After she made contact with him with surprise after a long separation, there was a wordless pause. She had a lot she wanted to say, but she didn’t know where to start. After a long silence, she asked: “How is your wife doing?” He didn’t answer, but sent her a link to a Web site. She visited the website and saw his autobiographical novel. His style of writing was still easy, and he was still talented. What was different from the past was that there was debauchery and cynicism in his words. He, the hero of the novel mixed with several women. His wife indeed couldn’t take his betrayal, divorcing him. When she browsed the group of his fans, she was surprised to find that most of his fans were women and that he interacted with them by leaving messages and flirted with them. … At that moment, she could hardly believe that her former Prince Charming could do such things.
On that night, she cried sadly. She cried for the kind affection in her tender youth was destroyed; she grieved because her dreams were suddenly shattered. From then on, she never contacted him, and even regretted having found him, because it made the beautiful dreams in her heart go up in smoke.
Afterward, she accepted theof God, becoming a Christian. Once, she saw God’s words: “One encounters many people in one’s life, but no one knows who will become one’s partner in marriage. Though everyone has their own ideas and personal stances on the subject of marriage, no one can foresee who will finally become their true other half, and one’s own notions count for little. After meeting a person you like, you can pursue that person; but whether he or she is interested in you, whether he or she is able to become your partner, is not yours to decide. The object of your affections is not necessarily the person with whom you will be able to share your life; and meanwhile someone you never expected quietly enters your life and becomes your partner, becomes the most important element in your fate, your other half, to whom your fate is inextricably bound. … Whether marriage itself brings happiness or pain, everyone’s mission in marriage is predestined by the Creator and will not change; everyone must fulfill it. And the individual fate that lies behind every marriage is unchanging; it was determined long in advance by the Creator.” (“God Himself, the Unique III”).
After reading God’s words, she silently thought about the past: I’ve been too muddleheaded during the first half of my life, as if looking through the mist, unable to see through things. Because I didn’t know God’s sovereignty and arrangements, I did many absurd things relying on my own preferences and personality, with the result that I wasted precious time and added to myself much sadness. Now, I understand why I didn’t marry that man I liked but spend my life with this man whom I don’t like. Actually, all of this was arranged and predestined by God, and it contained His good will and love for me. If I had fulfilled my wishes and married him who was in Beijing, what would be my life like? His ex-wife, such a beautiful woman couldn’t even retain his heart, how could I do that? What kind of woman could tolerate her husband going out indulging in dissipation and betraying her? If I’d married him, facing such an unfaithful and debauched husband, I’m afraid it would be more than we had divorced. With my character, I don’t know what terrible consequences would have happened. My husband isn’t gentle and romantic, and he didn’t care much about me when he was young, but as he gets older, he becomes solid, and cares more about our daughter and me. Isn’t such a tranquil life much better than the so-called romantic life I’ve imagined?
She also thought: All along, I had never felt content with or treasured what I had, and I always complained about something. I complained that my parents didn’t provide me with superior living conditions and that the fate was unfair to me for not allowing me to marry my former beloved. Today I understand God didn’t arrange my life according to my will, and this just protected me from going astray and sliding into the abyss of pain. When I finally had some true realization of life, God’s salvation came upon me. Through reading His words, I’ve seen through many things, and knew the fact that human fate is in God’s hands, and I’ve understood that only by obeying God’s arrangements can I receive His blessings. Thinking of this, she felt how broad, profound and pure without blemish God’s love is!
On that quiet night, she was moved to tears with a book of God’s words held in her hands. She felt lucky to choose to marry her husband that year rather than her former beloved, otherwise the consequences would be really unthinkable. She couldn’t help but be grateful to God and was thankful to Him for His love and salvation. It was what God arranged that made her awake from dreams and know how to live so as to receive God’s approval. She set this determination: I’m willing to give God all the time I have left. I will expend for Him, preach the gospel and bear witness for Him to repay His love, living out a meaningful life with value.