I was born in the countryside. During my teenage years, I always hoped that one day I could walk out of my poor village to a better and big place to live and make my career. In my twenties, a relative came to my home from the city, and I left my native land for the city with him after saying goodbye to my families and childhood friends, singing, “Oh, mother in the candlelight, your daughter has grown up, and she won’t pull your skirt through the four seasons. …” However, life in the city was not so perfect as I had imagined. I had to work hard for the sake of survival. Every day, I went to work in a hurry, moving through the busy streets and bustling crowd. After a day’s work, I was dead tired. I often thought to myself, “Is my hard labor just repaid with such a humble place? What is the value and significance of that?” Besides, the fickleness of the world and indifference of people made me feel more and more depressed and lonely in this world.
I thought: That might be because I alone was too weak and fragile to bear the heavy burden of life, and so I should find someone to rely on to share my burden. Then I came across him, my present husband. I said, “I like writing poems.” He said, “I like singing.” I often read my poems to him, and he often played the guitar and sang for me. He said, “I’ve been searching for over thirty years and finally found you. In the future, when we retire, we can travel through every city together, and then settle down in a place with sea and mountains, leaving the clamor of city far behind. You can compose poems to your heart’s content, and I will keep you company and sing to you. …” Waves of joy were filling the emptiness in my heart. From then on, I had hope and expectation in my heart. I thought I was fortunate to have someone who could bear the heavy burden of life for me and enrich my life as well. But it was not long before the reality and flatness of life lessened the sweetness and joy. I got to feel his singing to guitar was a kind of noise, which disturbed me. I preferred to close myself in the room alone. And when I excitedly read my poems to him, his snores started before I had finished my reading. In disappointment, we had to keep each other at arm’s length and reluctantly maintained the relationship. Again, my heart went back to square one, returning to the former state of emptiness and loneliness.
One day, my husband said to me, “I’m taking off these days. How about going out traveling?” Hearing his words, I thought maybe my emptiness and loneliness was resulted from this unchanging environment and this lonely city. So, we took our backpacks and set out. The first stop of our trip was my longed-for coastal city, which is renowned for seafood that I loved. My husband and I sat by the seaside, looking at the fishermen casting nets into the sea. After a while, the leaping lobsters became the delicious meal on our dinner table. At that time, I thought: If only we could enjoy such lobsters every day! But several days passed, and I could not taste the lobsters’ fresh and pleasant flavor anymore. It turned out that this legendary city was just this and nothing more. Next, we shipped for another beautiful city, which is small yet with mountains and sea. When we climbed to the mountainside, we saw some fruit hanging down from trees. I picked one and took a bite, “Wow! How sweet!” Later, we reached the summit and looked down. Layers and layers of clouds below our feet looked mysterious. I sat there and could not help thinking to myself: Is this the arcadia that I have been expecting and yearning for? Can it dispel the emptiness and loneliness in my heart? Why have I not yet been relieved from the emptiness in my heart at all? … After coming down from the mountain, I was worn out. We walked into a farmyard, where the lilac near a well was giving out a faint fragrance. However, I was in no mood to admire it, not merely because I was exhausted but because it did not seem to be what I had been expecting and yearning for. My heart was still wandering and seeking. But I had no idea what I was looking for. At that time, from the house came a sad melody of “The Moon Over a Fountain.” The householder (whom I called Uncle) was playing the Chinese fiddle. He had formerly lived in a big city and been an officer of a certain military region. Because he was weary of the life of fight and luxury, he retired early and bought this house in this small city, hoping to find peace and enrichment for the rest of his life. During our several days’ stay in his house, I saw him always sitting in his rocking chair by the window, rocking back and forth for hours. The chair crunched as he rocked, and I could feel his loneliness, like the solitariness of the ivy climbing up the walls outside the window. It seemed like the beauty of the small city did not bring him peace and enrichment. Did he still have any illusions about and expectation for his life? Soon, I felt tired of this city and there was nothing in it attractive to me anymore. So I said goodbye to the sad “The Moon Over a Fountain” and the crunching rocking chair, leaving this small city.
I felt directionless and lost, unaware of what my next stop was and what my destination was until I accepted God’s work. I saw His words say, “A world in man’s heart with no place for God is dark, empty without hope. And so arose many social scientists, historians, and politicians to express theories of social science, the theory of human evolution, and other theories that contravene the truth that God created man, to fill the heart and mind of man. … Few people take it upon themselves to seek out where God does His work today, or to look for how He presides over and arranges the destination of man. And in this way, human civilization unconsciously becomes ever more incapable of meeting the wishes of man, and there are even many people who feel that, living in such a world, they are less happy than people who have gone. Even people of countries that used to be highly civilized air such grievances. For without the guidance of God, no matter how much rulers and sociologists wrack their brains to preserve human civilization, it is to no avail. No one can fill the emptiness in man’s heart, for no one can be the life of man, and no social theory can free man from the emptiness with which he is afflicted. … Because man was made by God and the senseless sacrifices and explorations of man can only lead to more distress. Man will exist in a constant state of fear, will not know how to face the future of mankind, or how to face the path that lies ahead. Man will even come to fear science and knowledge, and fear even more the feeling of emptiness within him. In this world, regardless of whether you live in a free country or one without human rights, you are utterly incapable of escaping the fate of mankind. Whether you are the ruler or the ruled, you are utterly incapable of escaping the desire to explore the fate, mysteries, and destination of mankind. Much less are you capable of escaping the bewildering sense of emptiness. Such phenomena, which are common to all of mankind, are called social phenomena by sociologists, yet no great man can come forth to solve such problems. Man, after all, is man. The position and life of God cannot be replaced by any man. Mankind does not just require a fair society in which everyone is well-fed and is equal and free, but the salvation of God and His provision of life to them. Only when man receives the salvation of God and His provision of life to them can the needs, yearning to explore, and spiritual emptiness of man be resolved” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”). s gave me the answer. I knew why I had been feeling so empty in my heart, which compelled me to search constantly. I searched for my life partner, my own family … and I searched from city to city. But no matter where I went, what I received was only a bit of temporary respite, and my inner emptiness and loneliness still kept dogging me. It turned out that I was on the wrong track, and thus my effort was in vain. I learned from God’s words that man was made by God and that man’s heart and spirit are held in God’s hand. Only God knows man’s lack and needs and can fill the emptiness of man’s heart and spirit. At that time, I began to realize that it was God who had been invisibly orchestrating everything for me. I had once thought that as long as I found my loved one and had my own family, I would find the destination of my heart. However, after I possessed them, I still felt endless emptiness and disappointment, so that I continued to seek. It was not until I returned before God that my heart finally came home, like a drifting boat sailing into the harbor. It was God who had been guiding me through this long course. Now, I read God’s words every day and accept the provision and watering of living water of life from Him. My sense of emptiness has long disappeared, and I do not feel lonely anymore, because God’s words are companying me and can resolve all the confusion and perplexity in my life. I felt fortunate to have found the destination of my heart and my life: the Watcher of life—the Almighty. Only He can make me stop my footsteps and seek no more, and only He can make my wandering heart have its destination.